How to explain the power to forgive sins is passed on


Today while debating “once saved alwase saved” with some christians at work I had used along with some other verses John 20:23 “Whose sins you forgine are forgiven then, and whose sins you retain are retained.” To ask the question if our sins past, present and future are forgiven when we accept Christ as our personal Lord and saviour. Why would Jesus talk about retaining sins?
One of the guys, shot back asking “Who did Jesus Breathe on?” (Refering to Jn 20:22) I said the Disciples. Then they asked "Ok. Who did the disciples pass this power on to? Then whod they, Then who did they, ect…"
How do I explain that Jesus intended for this gift to be passed on to priest? In a way that they might accept.


Tell ‘em we’re playin’ it safe, just like they do with the whole “call no man father” bit. Except confession is a little more humbling.

Jesse Romero cited some work by psychologists that shows the value of Catholic confession as compared to the Protestant straight-to-God method.

He said that even groups like promise keepers are urging men to “confess to one another”.

I’m glad we’ve already got the system established.

One of the guys, shot back asking “Who did Jesus Breathe on?” (Refering to Jn 20:22) I said the Disciples. Then they asked “Ok. Who did the disciples pass this power on to? Then whod they, Then who did they, ect…”

Wow, looks like they’re starting to think a little.


Hi Adam the simple straightforward answer is laying on hands.

A new bishop was installed by the apostles or whoever was in charge by ordination via the laying of of hands.

Acts 8:18
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money

1 Timothy 5:22
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

2 Timothy 1:6
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

Hebrews 6:2
instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.


Besides what others have said, it would have been a pointless gesture if the power to forgive ended with the apostles. What would have been the reason to give it in the first place? It’s not like a visible miracle which could have helped spread the faith. It’s a completely invisible miracle. It served no purpose to give this power to forgive sin to a few men, and then have it vanish from the face of the earth upon their deaths.

This “Golden Age” mentality is fundamental to the Protestant view of the Church. There was a sublime time when the truth was fully known, when men had the power to forgive sins, but as soon as they died the truth got muddy and the power vanished. That whole split second of perfection served no point, if it was to be followed by countless generations of error and powerlessness.

The Catholic view makes much more sense. What God gave to the apostles (to the new Church), remained with the Church, and will remain with the Church until the end of time. Christ conquered death (remember!), and his truth and gifts to his Church are not lost even in death. In the Protestant view, death really does seem to win out after one short generation.


When authority is given to someone. That person can pass that authority on to someone else.


And we still go to the priest for marriage, baptism, conformation .

:tiphat: to Lily M!


**Acts 1 **

16"Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.

17"For he was counted among us and received **his share in this ministry." **

18(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.

19And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

20"For it is written in the book of Psalms,

21"Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us–

**22beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." **

23So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.

24And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen

25 **to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." **

26And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to **Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. **

A passing on of “office”


Acts 13:2


13:2?? I don’t see it


I would ask them to prove how they know that the gift to forgive sins was not passed on.

Or even better, ask them to prove that the power died with the last apostle.

The Levitical Priests had the power to forgive sins in the instrumentality of a sacrifice.


being raised protestant i was taught that no man can forgive sin, only God can do that. which does make sense, but if God gave man the power to forgive, then it would make sense to confess to a priest. confession always bothered me (as a protestant) and actually made me jealous of catholics. i’ve prayed to God to forgive me for my sins countless times, and yet i hear nothing. i’m told if i ask i will be forgiven and i believe that. but the human side of me NEEDS TO HEAR “you are forgiven”. to recieve that confirmation must be a real blessing to catholics.
i also found it ironic to be told to confess to each other. but to what avail? i have done this and it is helpful to lean on each other. but it really doesn’t do that much. no one’s going to air out all of their dirty laundry to other people. there’s a lot of things i’ve done that i hae told no one, including my wife. i would tell these things to a priest, knowing he’s not gto tell anyone.
i guess my point is that it’s good to confess to a priest, een though i can’t because i’m a protestant.


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