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The Tightrope: A Case Study in Church Discipline

A true account of confronting adultery.

The following account of a church's experience with disciplinary action is based on Lee and Bev Hotchkiss's memory of events. Names and other identifications have been changed because of the sensitive nature of what happened.

Lee Hotchkiss, pastor of the Evangelical Free Church in Pineview, Colorado, knew Georgina's sobbing voice immediately, even though it was 2:00 A.M. and her call had awakened him from a sound sleep. She sounded hysterical. "Jack just told me he's having an affair," she cried.

She was a member of the church, her husband one of its five board members. Her voice shook as she poured out her story. She had never suspected before tonight. She still did not know who Jack was sleeping with. Lee listened, then offered what encouragement and hope he could. Trained as a marriage counselor, he was a hard man to ruffle. Georgina's wild voice seemed to calm somewhat, perhaps as she realized that even her pastor could not do much to help her at two in the morning. Lee promised to pray. ...

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