@ErinBlue: I’m sure that what your former church did by excommunicating you and your SO was very upsetting to you both and probably also very confusing to you. Did anyone take the time to sit down with you and explain WHY they did this? I certainly hope someone lovingly did this.
I obviously am unable to speak for that particular church leadership. However, my presumption is that the church leadership did what they did on the basis of I Corinthians 5:11 — a strongly worded scripture verse that gives Christians very specific direction as to how they should handle a situation in which a person claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ but whose actions are not consistent with his or her Christian testimony.
This is an important Biblical principle, because the church — and by this I do not mean a particular individual church but, rather, THE church of Jesus Christ, in general — all believers in Him who claim to love, serve, and follow Him, has been clearly instructed not to tolerate sin in the lives of believers.
I should note that this does NOT mean that every time someone struggles with sin, or actually sins, that he or she should be excommunicated. No, not at all. If it did, there would — or SHOULD in that case — be empty pews in every Christian church, because every Christian has struggled with and does struggle with temptation and sin, and just about everyone I know, including myself, sins, even if that sin is a sin of the heart instead of the body. However, those who love God and desire to follow, serve, and obey Him will not choose to continually live in a state of willfull, purposeful, rebellion and disobedience against God and His Word. Instead, they may, in moments of weakness, fall into temptation and sin, but they will acknowledge to themselves (and, if appropriate, to others) that they have sinned, and they will be sorry that they have sinned, and they will ask God forgiveness. God’s Word says in I John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV) This attitude of the heart, and these actions would not merit excommunication or disfellowship according to scripture. However, if someone refuses to acknowledge that pre-marital sex (or any other sin mentioned in Scripture) is a sin, and that person willfully chooses to live and remain in a state where he or she is continually rebelling against God and His Word, Scripture provides very direct guidance that Christians should not even eat with such a person.
What may seem to be loving and caring is not always truly loving and caring, and what seems to be unloving or uncaring is not always unloving or uncaring. In the case of Christian leaders — on the basis of I Corinthians 5:11 — doing the very difficult thing of excommunicating someone whose walk with God does not align with his or her Christian testimony, that actually IS the most loving thing that the church leaders could do. Even though it may seem cruel and heartless, it is loving because such action may result in the person who is sinning choosing to turn from his or her sin and repent and be restored to fellowship with other believers and, most important, restored to fellowship with Christ. For Christians, the most important thing in life is not to be happy in our earthly lives or to have or our way while we’re here. The most important thing is that we surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, be willing to die to our own selfish, ungodly desires and wants, and to be willing to submit to, follow, obey, and live for Him so that we can be with Him for eternity.
I will conclude this by saying that if a person is NOT yet a Christian (according to God’s definition), then a church should not take this type of action against him or her. A person who does not claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ and who does not yet have a relationship with Him, cannot be expected to walk with Him, to want to obey His commands, or to be willing to live for Him, because he or she is not yet a believer and does not yet have the power of the Holy Spirit living and working in him or her to enable him or her to obey God and to stand strong for Him.