Strict confidentiality is not possible for Christians who practice counseling in a local church. If someone is not ready to regret his sin, the counselor must finally expose this sinner to the Church. If we want to follow the ethics of the Bible, it is not an option for us to hide repentance. Certainly, many of us (as counselors) will last a long time – urge, convince, ask the sinner to turn around. But if he or she doesn`t, we have two options: bring a second witness (v. 16); and bring it to the church (v. 17). One of the assumptions I taught (Deepak Reju) when I first entered the world of consulting was strict confidentiality. They (as advisors) promise never to talk to anyone else about the counsellor`s problems. The advisor takes the very risky step to reveal his sin to you, and he finds safety knowing that no one else will ever know his garbage. Like all other pastors, I can`t promise strict confidentiality.
But you should assume that I will always use discretion with the information that has been passed on to me. Most of the time, I`ll be able to keep your information secret. But there will be times when I will have to talk to others to see how to keep you as best as a member of CHBC. Examples of privacy exceptions are cases where the counsellor 1) indicates an intention to harm himself or someone else; 2) has recently committed sexual or physical abuse; 3) undertakes several times, severely immoral (z.B adultery) which may require the participation of the Church; 4) is a minor, and I think it is in the best interests of the child to pass on information to the parents; (5) has done something that is against the law, and I am obliged to point that out; (6) finds himself in a situation that could justify ecclesiastical discipline and requires the supervision of other elders, collaborators or the participation of the Church as a whole; or (7) If a court has asked me to share your data, I must comply with the law. This is not an exhaustive list of examples. BCC Staff Note: You can read Part 6 of a multi-part BCC Grace-Truth blog series about biblical counseling in the local church. Read the first part, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. We have asked a number of experienced Biblical counselors, who take charge of biblical counsel and endow them in local churches, to write about “a subject that you consider important for biblical deliberation in the Church.” We are convinced that their different perspectives and themes will greatly strengthen your understanding of Biblical consultation in the local Church.