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Page 229

The sin was committed privately, but its results became public knowledge.

2. A sin can become public due to the public nature of the sin itself. A man swearing at a congregational meeting or arriving at church in a drunken state would be examples of this type of public sin. The very commission of the sin is witnessed by many or all of the church members.

3. A sin can become public due to stubborn refusal to repent of a private sin. A man stubbornly continuing to perform unnecessary work on Sunday or attending a pornographic bookstore, despite the steps of the Matthew 18 Principle being applied, would be examples of this type of public sin. The sin is committed privately, but through the sinner's stubborn persistence it becomes public after the three steps of the Matthew 18 Principle have been fruitlessly utilized.

The consistory must deal with all public sins in the lives of its members. Public sin requires public censure or public confession. Certain sins, however, gradually become public in the third manner described above. In some cases there is a transitional time in which the sin is not yet known by many or all of the church members. After experiencing that its serious and loving warnings are ignored and its calls to repentance are stubbornly resisted, the consistory may decide to apply silent censure. This may be done during the transitional period, before proceeding to steps of public censure.

Silent censure (also known as quiet censure or minor excommunication) consists of:

    1. Repeated warning visits from the consistory

    2. Being notified by the consistory that he is forbidden to use the sacraments or attend congregational meetings until such time as he repents and turns from his sin

This form of censure is termed silent or quiet censure because no public mention of this discipline is made to the congregation; it remains strictly a matter between the person and the consistory.

  • Transitional - In a process of change; changing from one condition to another

  • Why is silent censure known as a transitional step of church censure?


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