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How do we handle fornication in the church?

Submitted: 5/31/2006
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Question: What is the Biblical way for a church to handle a situation where two young people commit fornication and a pregnancy results? Is it best for the couple to get married? Would it be appropriate for the local assembly to host a baby shower for the unmarried couple?

Answer: There is no pat answer to your question. Much depends on the maturity of the young people. Marriage may be a possibility, but not if they are totally unprepared to be married and the man cannot support the family. Adoption may be the best alternative. We are inclined to think that a baby shower would not be appropriate. Instead, if the couple is getting married and keeping the baby, the people in the church could be encouraged to help them out with necessary items. But not in the context of a party, which usually suggests celebration. That would be inappropriate. The key is to provide whatever practical assistance is needed without suggesting to other young people that this is an acceptable way to have a baby.