Immoral Behavior

Q. A married male church member makes sexual advances towards a 17-year old female, also a member of the same church. Later, a deacon and pastor confront the man and he admits it’s true. He apologizes but not to the girl personally.

In such a circumstance, what do you think the Biblical response should be and what kind of discipline should be taken if any? Is is unbiblical to ask the man to refrain from attending church to allow the situation to “heal?”

A. In God’s view discipline is always for the purpose of restoration. When Paul commanded the Corinthians to expel an immoral believer it was to prompt a spirit of repentance from both the man for sinning and the church for allowing it to go on. (1 Cor. 5:1-5) When the man repented Paul told them to welcome him back.(2 Cor. 1:5-11)

In my opinion, this man should apologize directly to the girl and ask her forgiveness in the company of elders. He should also ask the leadership to help him make sure that he’s never in a position to repeat the sin again, either with that girl or another, until all are assured that it was a one time problem.

If the leadership determines that a true spirit of repentance exists, the man should be forgiven and allowed to stay in the fellowship. If not, he should be asked to worship elsewhere.

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