In debate with coworker on necessity for Confession



I went to Confession the other day and when one of my Protestant coworkers got word she engaged me in friendly debate. I had her read

with the intention of allowing her to field her rebuttal afterwards. These are the Bible verses that she says support the notion that we don’t need an “intermediary”:

1Corinthians chapters 2,3,4
Hebrews 3:1-6, 4:14-16, 8, 10, and 11
Romans 3 and 4
1Timothy 2:1-6
Hebrews 9:11-28
Mark 15:38

I should note that she says that I am taking John 20:21-23 out of context and that it really means that, “When you deliver the Gospel to people, then they shall be freed from their sins.”

By the way, quoting the early Church fathers is no good either because she does believe that Roman Catholics were wrong for 1500 years and that it took the Reformation to get things back on track. Yes, this is irrational thought in my opinion.

I know I gave a lot of verses to contend, but any help is much appreciated as I am NOT an apologist nor would I ever play one on tv.

Kind regards,



A split from the original Church is not great, Confession is great to clean the soul.

Hence that is why people split from the the original faith, because they do not agree with thing and require their own ways and methods.

God Bless
Saint Andrew.


I find it interesting that she says the Church was wrong up to the point of the Reformation, because the Church was responsible for compiling and maintaining the Bible that she is quoting from.


Ask him why Jesus gave the Apostles the power to forgive *and *retain a person’s sins if there is no need for an intermediary.

If I do not need a person ordained by God to forgive my sins, then Jesus bestowed upon the Apostles a useless power.

I hardly think Jesus does anything arbitrarily.


[quote=John Joseph]I should note that she says that I am taking John 20:21-23 out of context and that it really means that, “When you deliver the Gospel to people, then they shall be freed from their sins.”

Except for the most inconvenient fact that the verse says nothing of the sort.


[quote=John_Henry]Except for the most inconvenient fact that the verse says nothing of the sort.

Indeed, John 20, 23 specifically says:

“Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain are retained.”

Amazing how people who claim to follow the Bible literally in all respects try to get around this specific commandment of Christ.


Sacrament of Confession it is such a beautiful Gift That Jesus Gave us. You will find that the sacraments are a gift from Jesus Christ as both you and I both know and trust me I have seen these same disputes time and time again.

This site should be of great help!


I agree, I love going to Confession. I guess if my coworker refuses to really give John 20:21-23 more than a cursory glance, it’s a futile effort. She will not budge from her belief that Jesus is merely telling his disciples to go forth, “deliver the Gospel to people, then they shall be freed from their sins.” I think she knows, although she’d never admit it, that her interpretation of this passage is quite weak!

Thanks so much for all the replies so far.


I can understand your friend’s bias. I was once anti catholic and said “Why do I need to confess my sins to a man, when I have Jesus?”

                        What your friend is ignorant of is true church HISTORY. She only sees it from the reformation up until our time. But the practice of confession was SOOOOOOOO different in the early church, that I would not even want to have lived back then. Christians had to confess their sins BEFORE THE WHOLE CHURCH and then if they committed sins such as adultery they had to do penance for MANY YEARS. Yes, that's the way it was back then.

                          There was no, "I tell it to Jesus" and he will forgive me and then I'll come back to the church next Lord's day and no one will ever know. That scenario never existed. That is a post reformation idea. Also as the other posters already stated, the power to forgive and retain sins was given to the apostles and they in turn passed that authority unto their successors after them. This granting of forgiveness of sins was a grace that was given to ordained MEN OF GOD alone. It had nothing to do with the proclamation of the gospel.

                              For even when the gospel was and is preached, no ones sins are forgiven anyway, without believing, repenting and Christian baptism. Acts 2:38 clearly shows this. The power to forgive sins by the apostles and their successors was something that was done for Christians AFTER they fell into sin  and after their baptism. It was never something that was practiced by the apostles before one became a Christian.


I would assert that the necessity of prayer could likewise be questioned. Does the bible not say that God knows our hearts, and knows our thoughts before we do? Is He not all knowing? Why pray?

Punchline: Because God said to. Because God established that as the normative way for us to communicate with Him.

javelin posted this on another thread to a questioning Protestant named “junior”, and I thought it was especially beautiful:

Rest assured, junior, that it is God who imparts the Grace of forgiveness, and praying for that forgiveness in repentance is a good thing to do (your previous prayer was not in vain :wink: ). In fact, every week near the beginning of Mass, Catholics as a community pray to God for forgiveness of sins. We say aloud:

“I confess to the Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words; in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do, and I ask the Blessed Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”

I think this is a truly beautiful prayer.

One of the things that seems to be regarded differently between Catholic and Protestant denominations is the idea of how private sin truly is. Catholic doctrine recognizes that sin is not “just between me and God”. That position is very evident in the prayer above, where we confess that we are sinners publicly and ask everyone to pray for God’s mercy for us. In this way we lift each other up in our efforts to lead Godly lives. The general protestant position seems to be that sin is very personal, and mostly between the individual and God. Certianly they mostly will support the idea that one should ask one’s neighbor’s forgiveness as well as God’s, but that seems the extent of it.

From the Catholic perspective, there is much more to it than that. Sin has many effects. Not only does it act counter to our relationship with God and our ability to receive the Grace He offers, but it also affects all those close to us. You see, we are all a part of the Body of Christ, and when one part of that body allows sin into his/her life, that sin affects the whole body. Not only does my sin affect me and the person I sinned against, but it affects anyone who may know of what transpired in addition to spiritual effects we may not ever know of. Sin is how Satan weakens, divides, and attempts to separate us from Christ’s Body, which is our source of true life.

And so, since sin affects the whole body, repentence and forgiveness of the sin of one member is part of the mission of the whole body. If the person is disposed to repentence, public confession not only strengthens humility, but allows the body to pray with and for that person, as well as help that person remain accountable to his or her pledge to “go and sin no more”, as Christ commands. (You might ask about what happens if that person is not disposed to repentence. What does Christ say is for the good of the Body in that case? Pick up your Bible and see…)

At one time, I believe, all confessions were done in front of the entire church membership. Imagine that! Over the years, however, much from a practical standpoint, confessions for grave matters were heard privately by the representative of the congregation, the priest.

And just as previous posters have said, the priest also has a spiritual gift by virtue of his ordination (Christ commissioned His Apostles to spread the gospel in His name, giving them the power to act in His name in a miraculous way – the forgivenes of sins!), through the Grace of the Sacrament of reconciliation. The Church teaches that with grave sin – mortal sin – this sacramental Grace is the pre-emminent way God removes that sin and restores us to the state of Grace necessary for our salvation.

The bottom line is that God works through the sacrament, fulfilling His promise to never turn us away if we come back to Him, to impart to us His saving Grace. It is there waiting for anyone who seeks it. So, the only question is, what are people waiting for?

I wish you wisdom and blessings in your search.

I think the problem is that your friend doesn’t see the beauty.

Peace be with you,


I see in the story of King David’s sins, his confession to the prophet Nathan, and Nathan’s absolution of David’s sins, found in chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Samuel, to be a wonderful Old Testament prefigurement of the New Testament sacrament of Confession, especially the part that says:
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (2 Samuel 12:13)

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