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Courts and Churches—Interfering in Some Ways But Not Others

Not everything a church does to a pastor is outside the reach of the court. That is a recent lesson church officials learned in a case out of Ohio federal court dealing with the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine. Also known as the church autonomy doctrine, this is the principle that civil courts will stay out of the doctrinal and important decisions a church makes, such as the decision to fire a pastor or remove a parishioner from membership. This case, Barrow v. Living Word Church, et al.,1 is an interesting twist on the doctrine, and serves as a word of caution for churches.

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Part 1: Is it Even Possible?

Little Ones to Him BelongTheresa, you and I regularly consult with organizations that are dealing with abuse and trauma. In this thread I would like to focus on the accused – the perpetrator, or alleged perpetrator. What should our stance be for restoration? 

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Practical Ways for Your Church to Respond to an Allegation of Child Abuse

church buildingOne of the hardest things your church may ever deal with is an allegation of child sexual abuse. These allegations create responsibilities for reporting to law enforcement, for ministering to people who are hurt, evaluating child safety procedures that are in place, interacting with media, dealing with offenders, considering legal issues, and other tough challenges.

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