The second step is an announcement to the congregation so that the congregation may become involved. Again we have to say that this is not a matter of a couple of weeks after the suspension from the holy supper. Some time will have elapsed from that moment and in the meantime the admonitions will have continued. If the consistory has to come to the conclusion that in spite of many admonitions by the office-bearers no improvement can be noticed but, on the contrary, a hardening in sin is evident, a decision will have to be taken to make an announcement to the congregation in order that the congregation may become involved.
At this stage this involves prayer only. When everything has been conducted properly, the announcement will be the first occasion the congregation hears of the case, unless it concerns a public sin. But even then the congregation should not be aware that it concerns brother A. or sister B., since repentance from that sin may have been noticed and accepted long ago and the present announcement may refer to another member.
In the first public announcement no name is mentioned. For the time being only the prayers of the congregation are solicited, not an actual participation in the process of admonishing. What is mentioned is the character, or the nature of the sin. "The consistory informs you with sorrow that a brother (sister) of the congregation has become guilty of sin against the... commandment."
Holy Scripture teaches us that if one transgresses one commandment, he is guilty of all, James 2:10. It will happen very seldom, if ever, that a consistory can say with certainty: "This is the only commandment we can mention which the brother has transgressed." Since all the words of the covenant are intertwined and all are covered by the one declaration: "I am the Lord your God who has freed you from the house of bondage," it is impossible not to violate them all when transgressing one, although the sin against one or two of them may be the clearest and most prominent. They have to be mentioned concretely, for a consistory would not be allowed to say only: "that a brother has become guilty of sin." The admonitions will have been directed