Church Discipline and the Courts

Lynn R. Buzzard and Thomas S. Brandon, Jr., Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois , 1987, 271 pages, $6.95, paper.

Reviewed by Wayne Willey, pastor, Amesbury, Massachusetts.

In the past few years several churches have become targets of lawsuits. This book focuses upon the implications of one such lawsuit in Oklahoma, in which the plaintiff was awarded $390,000 for being "defamed" when her church published its decision taking disciplinary action against her for adultery.

While it sometimes seems as ponderous as a legal brief, this book is thoroughly documented and will be a most useful resource. The chapters on discipline--"Constitutional Defenses"--and "Staying Out of Court" and the appendices are worth its price. The appendices on the "Biblical Church Discipline Process" and "Sample Forms for Use in Church Discipline" provide instruction on minimizing the church's exposure to lawsuits, while maintaining church discipline.

Every pastor would do well to consider the principles and suggestions in this book. It could be a matter of survival for the church!

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Reviewed by Wayne Willey, pastor, Amesbury, Massachusetts.

September 1988

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