[quote="ltwin, post:8, topic:280925"]
I'm Pentecostal, but Batman 1973 did a pretty good job of explaining it. I've never went to a priest or pastor and confessed my sins to him and asked him to give me words of absolution. The way I see it, no man has that authority (unless I had wronged him personally and then yes it would be right for me to then go to him and ask forgiveness). However, there is only one mediator--Jesus. I go to the Father, in Jesus' name, and confess and ask forgiveness for my sins.
I can't think of anything that Christ said that was just an empty statement. In fact, everything that he said was said for a reason.
"'Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (Jn. 20:21-23)
Now why in the world would Jesus have said such a thing? Did he not mean what he said? Notice the preface to his statement, just before he "breathed" on them:
"As the Father sent me, so I send you."
Now you are correct in saying that "no man has that authority". We are not speaking of man's authority, but rather Christ's authority. Christ gave his own authoirty to the Apostles (and their successors) to forgive sins (or not). He sent them, just as he had been sent by the Father. He did this in his wisdom, knowing that, as humans, we are in need of that personal assurance of his mercy. There is certainly nothing wrong with feeling sorrow for having offended God and telling him so in direct prayer. But Christ himself gave this incredible power to forgive sins to his Church, through its ordained ministers, for a reason. Why do you suppose that he did that?.
So, one can choose to believe what one chooses to believe, but that really has nothing to do with reality. One may believe that they can walk on air, but when they take that step off a ten story building, the reality of gravity will still exist. Christ really gave this authority and it was not an empty statement but rather the authority to do what he did; to act in his place. There are no experiences that I know of that can match hearing the words "I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." God gave us his mercy and requires that his Church extend this mercy to all who seek it.