In a public confession and apology, you will have your onstage exposure for a few minutes, only in a negative light. After mentioning your name, your face will be on stage for all the present members to see while you are stating your confessions and apologies. Even new members will witness that, even if they were not yet church members when those things happened. Some members will attend the church suddenly because they finally will see the “prodigal son”, but some will attend to witness it (another news on their books). Besides, some people, especially when given the privilege to handle certain levels of authority will make you remember, especially who have axes to grind on you. Chances are, when not geared properly, there is a retroaction, and I don’t want to put the details of that. YES, IT MAY BE PART OF CONSEQUENCES, BUT THOSE THINGS INDICATE THAT THERE ARE NO EASY EXITS HERE! Why am I saying this? From what I heard, prospective and current leaderships don’t want to do public confession quickly even if there is an indication of repentance because they thought it will be a LIGHT THING if public confessions became a common thing. Wait a second there. If public confessions and apologies are becoming a common thing, it is no longer an individual problem, but it becomes a church problem. On the other hand, hypothetically speaking, if public confession and apology becomes a common and light thing, it indicates that something is wrong, NOT with allowing the confessions and apologies, BUT with how the members were taught or oriented every time this disciplinary action is taking place. Again, doing public apologies and confessions is NEVER an easy exit.
Am I against public confession and apology? Despite my experience, I am not against it. In fact, it should be enforced consistently, provided that the act became public or will inevitably become public (in my case, the other side has the tendency to tell it to other people anyway, creating a possible division of opinions). I will not come to the point of one Bible graduate who mentioned that it is not Biblical, instead of saying that it is a debatable thing. However, in my personal position (I respect the church’s position by the way) public confession and apology are for those who truly repented of their sins that were publicly known. Basically, it goes like this: public sin, public apology. Private sin, private apology. Now, what if the case was not yet known? Some churches STILL do public apology and confession even if the act was only known to the pastor or both pastors (if BOTH who did the act don’t share same membership). What is the point of having a disciple without things to make him or her disciplined? Contrary to the popular belief, a disciplinary action means you put a disciple into order, not punish them. However, in my opinion, we must stick to the Biblical formula. I can recommend Dr. Kevin Bauder’s lecture on Biblical Separation to have knowledge of how a church discipline should. You can even ask your own Pastor, but honestly, in my opinion, the topic of church discipline is a topic that must be discussed by Pastors among their specific circle.
The usual question a typical Filipino, in case of fornication without marriage, is this: what will be the other forms or proofs of repentance? Now, that is hard to answer without bringing up feelings here. However, we must know that being a Christian is no easy road in the first place. There is no shortcut for administering church discipline (this is the reason why I never had a rebellious attitude towards Pastors ad leaders). Besides, marriage doesn’t equate repentance. In fact, there are times that it is the other way around. In addition, we should not even use the church as our “shotgun” to the shotgun marriage that we are coercing. In my case, going out of that relationship is painful to me, but I have to do it in order not to destroy me and her.