Question:

Regarding your expose' as to your opinion of the couple who engaged in pre-marital sex, I couldn't disagree more with your summation that there was no need to publicly confess. One of your errors is suggest that the act(s) occurred so closely to vows being exchanged that it would be inconclusive in as much that the child would be born within time element of nine (9) months following. Brother, the couple has confessed that they did indeed sin in having premarital sex so you suggest an equally egregious sin by supposing that the fact be hidden? GOD cannot be fooled and neither can a GODLY eldership ! If this was a private sin, the advice of the eldership is deemed acceptable. However, when the natural progression of an expectant mother begins to show, it follows that an unconfessed sin has been committed. The reputation and influence of this couple is at stake. So is the unity of the congregation. From the original question posed by the husband/father, it appears abundantly clear that they both knew and felt remorse and regret. If a single member of that congregation was offended, this occurrence was mishandled. It most assuredly would then become common knowledge outside the Church and consequently, the Church of our LORD soiled. Brother, we would then cease to be a peculiar people. Do one thing for me; for argument's sake, what if the premarital act occurred three (3) months prior to vows being exchanged. Consider how your response may be altered and you will find if you look at it differently, then your initial response was in error, sincere, but flawed. As to the gossip, I would expect the couple be held to at least the same standard of violation.


Answer:

You are writing in regards to Does sin require a public confession before a congregation? and the follow on answer Doesn't a publicly known sin need to be confessed?

The facts are that a couple committed fornication shortly before their marriage. Though a child resulted from their sin, what they did was not publicly known. They repented of their sin and talked to the eldership about what needed to be done.

So in regards to their sin, they had come to God to ask for forgiveness, thus fulfilling "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). They also discussed their problems with brethren, as stated in "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16) when they talked to the elders.

Now, upon what passage are you basing your belief that a confession of sin has to be made to anyone aware of the sin? To my knowledge there is none, and since you did not supply any passages to back up your contentions, I must assume that you don't know of any either.

God gave no requirement for sins public or private to be publicly confessed. It is sometimes done to reassure others that the sins have been dealt with when other people are aware that sin took place. But this wasn't the case here until a woman took it upon herself to tell others about this couple's sins after they were dealt with and forgiven! Nor did she bother to tell others that they had repented of their sins. The woman was involved in malicious gossip.

Now, as a result of this woman's attempt at destroying this couple's reputation, the young man did make it publicly known that they had sin and that they had repented. It wasn't done because it was required on their part to gain forgiveness, that was already done between them and God. It was done to stop the gossip that should never had taken place. It was to this congregation's shame that this young couple was forced to dredge up their sins once again. "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). Instead of being covered, sin was uncovered.

The facts are that you place unwarranted emphasis on the span of time (…shortly before their marriage."). Remember brother,"Time per se does not transform infidelity into fidelity." WJ. Also, I strongly suggest to give attendance to the following; "There are three possible venues of confession: to God alone; to God and to other persons – who may have been victims of the sin, or privy to it; a general public acknowledgment when the sin is widely known.WJ" Also, "Third, there is the matter of public confession. Sometimes one's sin is so widely identified that nothing but a public confession will suffice to satisfy the matter". WJ.

I took the liberty to send both the topics "Does sin require a public confession before a congregation" and "Doesn't a publicly known sin need to be confessed" to three great friends with great minds whose knowledge of the scriptures is unimpeachable [I removed the names so as to not cause them embarrassment - JWH]. You brother, are in the minority but we will however pray for you.

You neglected to provide any scriptural backing to a required public confession in order to obtain forgiveness. You also neglected to prove that a sin that was not publicly known requires public confession. Name dropping is not evidence; it doesn't even prove that these gentlemen support your position.