When a pastor, elder, or other Christian mentor/counselor in a church is dealing with a another person’s sin issue, is 100% confidentiality biblical? Jay Adams argues that it is not. He makes a good case for this in The Handbook of Church Discipline. Here’s an edited summary of his argument which specifically has to do with church discipline:
The biblical requirement (Mt. 18:15-17) to seek additional help in the ongoing process of discipline means that Christians must never promise absolute confidentiality to any person. Frequently it is the practice of Bible-believing Christians to give assurances of absolute confidentiality, never realizing that they are following a policy that originated in the Middle Ages and that is unbiblical and contrary to Scripture (there is not a scrap of evidence in the Bible for the practice).
Both individuals and counselors must be aware of the all-important fact that absolute confidentiality prohibits the…
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