Did Christ Give The Ability To Forgive Sins To The Apostles?


#1

A Pastor Relative insists only Christ can forgive sins, that Jesus did not give this ability to the Apostles, nor to Priests, etc., etc. Is this correct? Which verse shows this? binding and loosing???is this it? What does this verse actually mean? I thought the priesthood was first instituted when Jesus gave this commandment to the Apostles, therefore carried down thru the centuries to Priests.


#2

Mt 18:18 is the text where Christ gave all the Apostles as a group the power to bind and to loose.

There’s a start anyway… as far as how to interpret that further, I’ll wait to read what others say.


#3

John 20:22-23. In one forum where we discussed this, one Protestant admitted that the verse is so explicit about Jesus’ commissioning of the Apostles on this that he cannot rebutt that fact.


#4

A Pastor Relative insists only Christ can forgive sins, that Jesus did not give this ability to the Apostles, nor to Priests, etc., etc.

Yes and no. It is only Christ who forgives our sins, but Christ works through a validly ordained priest. 1548 of the Catechism says

In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:

It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).

Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ. 

Is this correct? Which verse shows this? binding and loosing???is this it? What does this verse actually mean? I thought the priesthood was first instituted when Jesus gave this commandment to the Apostles, therefore carried down thru the centuries to Priests.

And as for this look at Isaiah 22:

20 “In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

Then look at Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

If you read before and after the passage of Isaiah you will see that these two people he refers to are the administrators of the kingdom of Israel who rule the kingdom for the king. They have the same role as the Pope.


#5

John 20:21-23

Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." After saying this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

Pay close attention to two things: 1) the part in blue, and ) the part in red.

First the red. Jesus gave them the power, through the Holy Spirit, to forgive sin. Note how it says that if they retain sins they are retained. If Jesus just told them that they could forgive, this would be something a Protestant could argue with. However, because He also told them they could retain sins, it clearly shows that they have a power, because Jesus told them they could do either. Also, remember that this is before Pentecost, which is when the Holy Spirit descended on everybody. This could indicate some special power of the Holy Spirit was given in John 20, but I’m not sure on this one, so somebody else will have to affirm or deny this.

Now the blue. Note how Jesus makes an analogy. “AS the Father has sent ME, I also send YOU.” This is absolutely imperitive to understand. Jesus is sending the Apostles in the same capacity and in the same way that the Father sent Jesus. They have the same tasks: forgiving sins, healing, evangelizing, casting out demons, and so on. They are being sent as representatives for Jesus Himself, which is exactly what Catholic priests are!

As was said below, only Christ forgives the sins, but the Apostles did it as the representative of Him, through the Holy Spirit which He conferred on them.


#6

[quote=Lazerlike42]John 20:21-23

Pay close attention to two things: 1) the part in blue, and ) the part in red.

First the red. Jesus gave them the power, through the Holy Spirit, to forgive sin. Note how it says that if they retain sins they are retained. If Jesus just told them that they could forgive, this would be something a Protestant could argue with. However, because He also told them they could retain sins, it clearly shows that they have a power, because Jesus told them they could do either. Also, remember that this is before Pentecost, which is when the Holy Spirit descended on everybody. This could indicate some special power of the Holy Spirit was given in John 20, but I’m not sure on this one, so somebody else will have to affirm or deny this.

Now the blue. Note how Jesus makes an analogy. “AS the Father has sent ME, I also send YOU.” This is absolutely imperitive to understand. Jesus is sending the Apostles in the same capacity and in the same way that the Father sent Jesus. They have the same tasks: forgiving sins, healing, evangelizing, casting out demons, and so on. They are being sent as representatives for Jesus Himself, which is exactly what Catholic priests are!
[/quote]

Plus, if I’m not mistaken, this is only the second time when God breathes on someone (the first is when He breathes life into Adam). I don’t know what that mean, but it has to be significant somehow. :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

[quote=Lazerlike42]John 20:21-23

Pay close attention to two things: 1) the part in blue, and ) the part in red.

First the red. Jesus gave them the power, through the Holy Spirit, to forgive sin. Note how it says that if they retain sins they are retained. If Jesus just told them that they could forgive, this would be something a Protestant could argue with. However, because He also told them they could retain sins, it clearly shows that they have a power, because Jesus told them they could do either. Also, remember that this is before Pentecost, which is when the Holy Spirit descended on everybody. This could indicate some special power of the Holy Spirit was given in John 20, but I’m not sure on this one, so somebody else will have to affirm or deny this.

Now the blue. Note how Jesus makes an analogy. “AS the Father has sent ME, I also send YOU.” This is absolutely imperitive to understand. Jesus is sending the Apostles in the same capacity and in the same way that the Father sent Jesus. They have the same tasks: forgiving sins, healing, evangelizing, casting out demons, and so on. They are being sent as representatives for Jesus Himself, which is exactly what Catholic priests are!

As was said below, only Christ forgives the sins, but the Apostles did it as the representative of Him, through the Holy Spirit which He conferred on them.
[/quote]

EXCELLENT!!! Thank you.


#8

I thought we all had the ability to forgive sins, at least when the sins are against us. We can also “forgive” sins that have been committed against others, in that we do not judge the person but have no right to forgive.

It’s like, I figure I can forgive my neighbor for running over my lawn or not, and if I don’t it only hurts me. If it was an accident, then the neighbor doesn’t have any condemnation except that which he chooses to accept from me (if his own faith is weak). Either way, my judgment of him affects me directly, and whether it affects him (either way it goes) depends on his own faith level. It may also be customary for me to decide whether to require tangible reimbursement, so in that regard I may have some ability to convict, if not legally then via guilt trip. :smiley:

I can neither condemn nor forgive my neighbor for running over another neighbor’s lawn, because it is not my place to do so. I can only continue to love and serve both neighbors in the ways I can. That includes when the lawn is the Lord’s.

Alan


#9

[quote=AlanFromWichita]I thought we all had the ability to forgive sins, at least when the sins are against us. We can also “forgive” sins that have been committed against others, in that we do not judge the person but have no right to forgive.

It’s like, I figure I can forgive my neighbor for running over my lawn or not, and if I don’t it only hurts me. If it was an accident, then the neighbor doesn’t have any condemnation except that which he chooses to accept from me (if his own faith is weak). Either way, my judgment of him affects me directly, and whether it affects him (either way it goes) depends on his own faith level. It may also be customary for me to decide whether to require tangible reimbursement, so in that regard I may have some ability to convict, if not legally then via guilt trip. :smiley:

I can neither condemn nor forgive my neighbor for running over another neighbor’s lawn, because it is not my place to do so. I can only continue to love and serve both neighbors in the ways I can. That includes when the lawn is the Lord’s.

Alan
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Right but if your neighbor is really sorry about running over your lawn, and you are, while a Christian, a bad one ( :stuck_out_tongue: ) and you refuse to forgive him, it doesn’t mean God is counting it against him.


#10

[quote=sparkle]A Pastor Relative insists only Christ can forgive sins, that Jesus did not give this ability to the Apostles, nor to Priests, etc., etc. Is this correct? Which verse shows this? binding and loosing???is this it? What does this verse actually mean? I thought the priesthood was first instituted when Jesus gave this commandment to the Apostles, therefore carried down thru the centuries to Priests.
[/quote]

Only God can forgive sins. All of the verse quoting above is wrong and most are out of context.

The apostles forgive on the basis of God’s authority (what is bound/loosed in heaven), they can state forgiveness based on what God says in heaven.

It is not what priests do, as there is no N.T. priesthood.


#11

[quote=Catholic Answers]Bishops (episcopoi) have the care of multiple congregations and appoint, ordain, and discipline priests and deacons. They sometimes appear to be called “evangelists” in the New Testament. Examples of first-century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19–22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Titus 1:5).

Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as “presbyters” or “elders.” In fact, the English term “priest” is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).

Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and are responsible for teaching and administering certain Church tasks, such as the distribution of food (Acts 6:1–6).

In the apostolic age, the terms for these offices were still somewhat fluid. Sometimes a term would be used in a technical sense as the title for an office, sometimes not. This non-technical use of the terms even exists today, as when the term is used in many churches (both Protestant and Catholic) to refer to either ordained ministers (as in “My minister visited him”) or non-ordained individuals. (In a Protestant church one might hear “He is a worship minister,” while in a Catholic church one might hear “He is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.”)

Thus, in the apostolic age Paul sometimes described himself as a diakonos (“servant” or “minister”; cf. 2 Cor. 3:6, 6:4, 11:23; Eph. 3:7), even though he held an office much higher than that of a deacon, that of apostle.

Similarly, on one occasion Peter described himself as a “fellow elder,” [1 Pet. 5:1] even though he, being an apostle, also had a much higher office than that of an ordinary elder.

The term for bishop, episcopos (“overseer”), was also fluid in meaning. Sometimes it designated the overseer of an individual congregation (the priest), sometimes the person who was the overseer of all the congregations in a city or area (the bishop or evangelist), and sometimes simply the highest-ranking clergyman in the local church—who could be an apostle, if one were staying there at the time.

Although the terms “bishop,” “priest,” and “deacon” were somewhat fluid in the apostolic age, by the beginning of the second century they had achieved the fixed form in which they are used today to designate the three offices whose functions are clearly distinct in the New Testament.

As the following quotations illustrate, the early Church Fathers recognized all three offices and regarded them as essential to the Church’s structure. Especially significant are the letters of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who traveled from his home city to Rome, where he was executed around A.D. 110. On the way he wrote letters to the churches he passed. Each of these churches possessed the same threefold ministry. Without this threefold ministry, Ignatius said, a group cannot be called a church.
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#12

[quote=conrad01]It is not what priests do, as there is no N.T. priesthood.
[/quote]

What Lazer said.

Here’s what first century Chrisitans thought:
The Didache

“Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure” (Didache 4:14, 14:1 [A.D. 70]).

The Letter of Barnabas

“You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light” (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).


#13

Oh yeah?

What about Christ’s High Priesthood?


#14

[quote=Ignatius of Antioch, died 110AD]“Indeed, when you submit to the bishop as you would to Jesus Christ, it is clear to me that you are living not in the manner of men but as Jesus Christ, who died for us, that through faith in his death you might escape dying. It is necessary, therefore—and such is your practice that you do nothing without the bishop, and that you be subject also to the presbytery, as to the apostles of Jesus Christ our hope, in whom we shall be found, if we live in him. It is necessary also that the deacons, the dispensers of the mysteries [sacraments] of Jesus Christ, be in every way pleasing to all men. For they are not the deacons of food and drink, but servants of the Church of God. They must therefore guard against blame as against fire” (Letter to the Trallians 2:1–3).
[/quote]

[quote=Ignatius of Antioch, died 110AD]“In like manner let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, and just as they respect the bishop as a type of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and college of the apostles. Without these, it cannot be called a church. I am confident that you accept this, for I have received the exemplar of your love and have it with me in the person of your bishop. His very demeanor is a great lesson and his meekness is his strength. I believe that even the godless do respect him” (ibid., 3:1–2).
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#15

[quote=conrad01]Only God can forgive sins. All of the verse quoting above is wrong and most are out of context.

The apostles forgive on the basis of God’s authority (what is bound/loosed in heaven), they can state forgiveness based on what God says in heaven.

[/quote]

Even if that were true (and it in fact a valid interpretation), it still gives the apostles the authority to speak on God’s behalf.

Which jives with Catholic teaching. When a priest says he absolves us, he is pronouncing forgiveness by Christ. Because a priest is only a man, he cannot forgive sins.

So you are actually unwittingly confirming the effectivity of Confession.

Otherwise, how else would you interpret John 20:22ff. It’s easy to cry “out-of-context” but you offer no alternative interpretation.

So shoot. What’s your greatest and latest insight on this passage?


#16

[quote=conrad01]Only God can forgive sins. All of the verse quoting above is wrong and most are out of context.

The apostles forgive on the basis of God’s authority (what is bound/loosed in heaven), they can state forgiveness based on what God says in heaven.

It is not what priests do, as there is no N.T. priesthood.
[/quote]

This is one more example of how people who advocate and adhere to the notion of Sola Scriptura actually ignore the clear and unambiguous teaching of Scripture. This is one of the things that made me a Catholic years before I actually converted: "After saying this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” It takes, as Thomas Howard said of Protestant attacks on the Petrine Covenant in Matthew, “jiggery-pokery” to make the passage say anything else.


#17

What do you think Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20?

And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation,namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Notice, Paul is not an Apostle. So you can’t make the claim that only the Apostles could forgive sins.

NotWorthy


#18

[quote=NotWorthy]What do you think Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20?

And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation,namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Notice, Paul is not an Apostle. So you can’t make the claim that only the Apostles could forgive sins.

NotWorthy
[/quote]

Well, right, except for one thing:

1Co 1:1 “Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and our brother Sosthenes:”


#19

[quote=Lazerlike42]Well, right, except for one thing:

1Co 1:1 “Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and our brother Sosthenes:”
[/quote]

Good point, but Paul was not one of the Apostles that Christ breathed on and specifically gave the power to forgive. Of course, with Apostolic Succession, Catholics teach that this was passed on through the priesthood. I’m not sure what others teach.

NotWorthy


#20

Oh goodness!
No! For goodness sakes! What good would that do? The Apostles were men of God but the just the same men! The Apostles could never love us in the way Christ did. They had just as many sins as we do. It just wouldnt make any sense if the Apostles could forgive our sins.


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