Wall Case



October 10, 2017
ARPA lawyer John Sikkema has delivered the final paperwork to the Supreme Court of Canada in the “Wall Case”. That’s the case involving a Jehovah’s Witness congregant who wants the courts to overturn his dis-fellowshipping – essentially his excommunication – from a JW congregation near Edmonton. Sikkema says the complainant is arguing that being a member in a church is essentially “contractual”, and that courts are empowered to enforce contracts. Mr. Wall, Sikkema says, “expected (that) in return for participating in church (he would be) treated a certain way, (and that the congregation) broke their side of the bargain by not treating him fairly.”

Sikkema filed a 12-page factum; a summary of the legal arguments that ARPA is presenting in opposition to the idea that judges have any right to rule on cases of church discipline. “You can’t reduce a church, in its essence, to just a contract. Churches claim authority over people not based on a kind of voluntary agreement, but based on the authority that Christ gives to the Church, which is a spiritual authority. Churches have a claim to authority just like the State does. The Church respects the State’s sphere of authority, just as the State – including judges – should respect the Church’s sphere or authority.”

The case will be heard at the end of November. ARPA will have 5 minutes to present oral arguments.

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