forgiveness of sins

Protestants

Especially those of conservative denominations, how do you look at the ability of the apostles to forgive sins as given by Christ vs the necessity to confess to a priest?

Protestants traditionally interpret the power to forgive and retain sins to be the power to preach the Gospel. See, for example, Calvin’s commentary on the verse.

studylight.org/com/cal/view.cgi?bk=42&ch=20

If you find this explanation less than satisfying, you’re not alone.

This is a huge theological issue with many many aspects. I’ll try to list several:

  1. The priesthood of all believers
  2. The keys and what they meant
  3. The keys and who all had/has them
  4. The covering and forgiveness of all sin by Jesus’ sacrifice
  5. The handling of sin against other believers
  6. Who do we confess to and why
  7. The opening of the way between all humans and the Father by Jesus’ life, sacrifice, resurrection
  8. Binding and loosing properly understood
  9. What the law and sin being nailed to the cross means
  10. The power and consequence of the gospel
  11. etc… etc…

For anyone, protestant and otherwise this question is complex and I don’t think any of us take it lightly. We could sit and go through the whole teaching, but in the end would anyone that already has a position change their mind? :shrug:

I am fine with it. Here is the Small Catechism on confession:

bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php#confession

I personally believe that only THE MOST HIGH can the forgive the person’ sins.

If I became a Christian one day, I will never ask for a forgiveness from a priest nor the Pope.

expectthebest,

No doubt, you are referring to John Chapter 20:

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

I think the ability to forgive sins is not" versus" the necessity to confess to a Priest, but part of the same process. When we confess to a Priest, he may grant absolution or refuse.

Reconciliation of a Penitent is explained (for many Anglicans) in the Book of Common Prayer. This is a quote from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:

"The ministry of reconciliation, which has been committed by Christ to
his Church, is exercised through the care each Christian has for others,
through the common prayer of Christians assembled for public worship,
and through the priesthood of the Church and its ministers declaring
absolution.

The Reconciliation of a Penitent is available for all who desire it. It is not restricted to times of sickness. Confessions may be heard anytime and anywhere.

Two equivalent forms of service are provided here to meet the needs of
penitents. The absolution in these services may be pronounced only by a
bishop or priest. Another Christian may be asked to hear a confession,
but it must be made clear to the penitent that absolution will not be
pronounced; instead, a declaration of forgiveness is provided.

When a confession is heard in a church building, the confessor may sit
inside the altar rails or in a place set aside to give greater privacy,
and the penitent kneels nearby. If preferred, the confessor and
penitent may sit face to face for a spiritual conference leading to
absolution or a declaration of forgiveness.

**When the penitent has confessed all serious sins troubling the conscience and has given evidence of due contrition, the priest gives such counsel **
**and encouragement as are needed and pronounces absolution. Before **
**giving absolution, the priest may assign to the penitent a psalm, prayer, **
**or hymn to be said, or something to be done, as a sign of penitence and **
act of thanksgiving.

The content of a confession is not normally a matter of subsequent
discussion. The secrecy of a confession is morally absolute for the
confessor, and must under no circumstances be broken."

I’m not sure that the Anglican view is all that different from the Catholic view, [except for the fact that Catholics are required to believe Anglican Holy Orders are invalid according to [URL=“http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htm”]Apostolicae Curae -topic for another thread.]

John 20:22 is problematic for some Protestants. Jesus did tell his disciples, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” It takes quite a bit of finagling to get around this statement (in my humble opinion, of course.:curtsey:)

Peace and Blessings,
Anna

People change there mind all the time! :slight_smile:

Kliska,

Sometimes our “position” on a particular issue is rooted more in indoctrination than in what Holy Scripture actually says and how the undivided Church carried forth the Gospel. Even denominations that claim the Bible as their sole source of teaching are not always as Biblical as they claim. I’m not saying this is the case for you, but I discovered this the hard way through my own personal experiences.

Yes, they do. I used to be a Baptist.

Thank you all.

I guess what I am getting at isn’t necessarily that there might be confession in protestant denominations, but that it isn’t necessary for salvation. A Catholic must go to confession to be saved. Lutherans, Anglicans, and others, asa far as I know, do not believe it is necessary to go to Confession but rather it is optional. It is my understanding also that it is not considered a sacrament. To have this teaching, the Biblical understanding of binding and loosing must be Substantially different. Im curious why this is.

Thanks!

Absolutely, and this is true, or has the potential to be true for all perspectives. The hesitancy I would feel going deeply into this issue is that it would take a loooonnngg time to cover all relevant ground, and also that this is “Catholic Answers Forum” and as such isn’t the place to attack a firmly held and beloved belief.

God works through the Sacraments, but He is not limited to the Sacraments. God saves who He wills, when he wills, and how He wills. The Sacraments, in this case reconciliation are an aid to a perpetual state of grace.

The above leaves a finality to the reality of your belief and desire, in other words baptism by desire.

The Church in its conception didn’t do private confession, the faithful were reconciled in public within the Church. The Sacrament takes on further meaning in private correctly used as it becomes spiritual direction or a constant conversation of possible spiritual dilemma. I see no valid reason to slight a process which indeed helps souls redirect themselves.

Depends on what Anglican you ask as to if it is a Sacrament of not. You more Anglo Catholic Anglicans consider it a Sacrament, and your low church Anglicans usually think of it as a Sacramental Rite. Many low church Anglicans simply do the General Confession and move along.

There is a saying in the Episcopal Church “All may. Some should. None must.” And with private confession to a priest not being compulsory, most Episcopalians never bother unless they attend an Anglo-Catholic Parish.

I find it rather sad that many do not take advantage of this wonderful gift. I use private confession once every two weeks or so.

As long as we realize that protestants do believe that confession is necessary for salvation (especially if it is connected to the idea of admission of being a sinner, and of confessing Christ), but not in the same sense that the RCC/ECC teaches. In other words, most protestants don’t believe confession has to be to a ministerial priest in order to be forgiven.

A protestant and RCC/ECC on binding and loosing, as I understand it, really isn’t that radically different in interpretation, but in application it is. So, in my understanding the idea of binding and loosing is a Jewish phrase that, written the way it is, means that whatever is bound is already bound in Heaven, whatever is loosed is already loosed. In other words, in forgiving sin, they are already forgiven, and it is an application of that forgiveness, a pronouncement, or a reminder.

We do indeed tend to believe that with sin and forgiveness it is directly tied to the gospel. In Peter’s preaching at Pentecost to the Jewish people, then to the Samaritans, then to the Gentiles, Peter declared the good news as it is already settled in Heaven and gives access to others by opening the possibility for them to faithe on the message he shared, and hence on Jesus, and it is by faith that we tap into grace.

When my “brand” of protestants confess their sins one to another, the idea is that it opens the way for Godly counsel, for support, for advice, and for a reminder that Jesus sacrifice and blood are necessary and sufficient to cleanse them from all sin. Further, most protestants I know really only know one kind of contrition that means anything at all, and that is what the RCC has labeled “perfect contrition.” Most of us see no other kind, if that makes sense, and that is the contrition we are to have when going to God and confessing to Him.

Kliska,

I think this is the perfect place to go into detail. Non Catholics are permitted to disagree with any Catholic doctrine as long as it is done respectfully. If I remember correctly, a single thread can hit 1000 posts before being closed, :slight_smile:

I think a good place to start would be to explain your interpretation of John 20:19-23. Did Jesus mean what he said? Were the Disciples given the authority to forgive sins?

John 20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Anna

For conversation’s sake :smiley:

“We all, as believers, receive the Holy Spirit. We all, as believers, can forgive or retain sins.”

Have fun. lol

aidanbradypop

We agree on most issues :); but on this issue I disagree :shrug:. What is your source for this?

The Book of Common Prayer does say that Absolution may only be granted by a Bishop or Priest, as I posted earlier.

Anna

That is not my belief hence the " " :slight_smile:

The source I guess would be the lady that said it…Baptist I believe is her denomination.

The Book of Common Prayer does say that Absolution may only be granted by a Bishop or Priest, as I posted earlier.

:thumbsup:

Gary,
Excellent points. Spiritual direction is so very important, and we must come to true repentance when asking for forgiveness, whether confessing to a Priest or to God alone. Sometimes, a Priest knows we lack true repentance and lack the commitment to avoid repeating the same sin. In such cases, Absolution is denied. That is one example anyway.

Anna

Do you feel you have this authority? Just asking, personally I never felt this way.

Oh. Now, I get it. :smiley:

Anna

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