Protestant Excuses

Even though some bible verses clearly prove some of our beliefs to be accurate, many Protestants would still come up with an excuse to disprove it. I thought we should discuss that. Now let me start off with one:

John 20:23 mentions the sacrament of reconciliation, but this one guy named Mike P in goes to great lengths at interpreting it as something else:

John 20:23 does not mean that God gave the apostles the power, or the ministry to forgive sins. This can be seen in the book of Acts itself. The apostles are never once described as forgiving sins. Nowhere in the Bible do we see this - it’s a fabrication of the church. Rather, Jesus understood that the apostles would be faced with new believers asking the question “now that I’ve accepted Christ, are my sins forgiven?” They needed to answer, and since they knew that they themselves could not forgive sins, they needed confirmation that when they felt a person was sincere in their statement that they’d truly accepted Christ, they were indeed forgiven by God even before they (the apostles) uttered the words of assurance. Jesus was assuring them (the apostles) that when they perceived a person had become a true believer, they were correct in pronouncing that their sins had been forgiven according to the gospel that they were preaching. If the apostles had truly been given any power to forgive sins, you would surely be able to read about it in the Bible. Today, priests claim that they have the power to forgive sins, or to administer that forgiveness, but that’s not Biblical. It’s based on a self declaration of the church. You need to ask yourself - do they (the priests of today) exhibit any of the other powers the apostles were given such as healing the sick, and other privileges? They don’t. Also, if the apostles had claimed to have had the power to forgive sins, they would have certainly been challenged and possibly stoned, since almost all people in the region knew that God alone could forgive sins, and claiming otherwise meant death. Jesus was killed, in part, for making that claim; yet we see no mention of the apostles being challenged, or threatened, or killed for making the claim that they had the power to forgive sins. This is because they never made that claim. To review - the apostles never made the claim that the power to forgive, or even administer the forgiveness of sins rested with them. We never see them forgiving sins, as if they alone had the power to do so, nor do we see priests today exhibiting any of the powers the apostles did. Given these observations, it 's reasonable to conclude that no one other than God should even utter “your sins are forgiven” in any other capacity than that of relaying the message. This being the case, anyone can pronounce that the sinner can be assured of forgiveness, and is indeed forgiven, if forgiveness is sincerely sought by the true believer, based on the promise given by Jesus in John 20:23. This ability is not granted to priests alone, but to the whole body of Christ.

Consider one more point: If Jesus requires that the priest perform the forgiving of sins on His behalf, then one must conclude that Jesus is not able, or not willing to forgive sins Himself personally. We must conclude that Jesus is not alive, nor truly present in our lives, because a priest is required to perform the act of forgiving as a proxy for Christ. This is not Biblical, and it denies the real, spiritual, and life saving power of God. Some believe in the “real presence” of Christ in the bread and wine in the Eucharist, but can’t seem to accept that His “real presence” might be there when a person accepts Christ, and that an “agent” is not needed to accomplish this. It defies logic, reason, and the true spirit of God. It rejects the power of God, and flies in the face of Scripture.

One hopes you invited Mike P to dialogue on this forum with you. He is, of course, wrong about the power to bind and loose, from a Lutheran perspective, but it is difficult to debate the issue with him. :wink:


Wait…but isn’t the Catholic teaching that the priest forgives sins in the name of Christ? It is the person of Christ working through the priest that forgives the sin, no?

As for apostles forgiving sins in the book of Acts, what about the healings? Wasn’t healing equated with forgiving of sin, even in the case of Jesus?

Also there is James 5:13-16, which seems to describe the elders (priests) anointing the sick, hearing confession, and offering them forgiveness and healing through the Lord. Is that a Catholic interpretation, or am I off?

John 20:23,Jesus tells His disciples, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." The very core of the gospel message is the truth that the way someone has their sins forgiven is by having faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. In Acts 10:43-44,when Peter was sharing the gospel, he said, “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” First John 5:1-5 tells us only he who believes in Jesus will overcome the world. Luke 5:20 says, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” Colossians 2:13-14 says Jesus forgave all our sins. All these passages confirm that Jesus is the one who forgives sin, and He forgives all of our sins. If we have had genuine faith in Him, someone else cannot later decide we are not forgiven one sin or another. So, what exactly did Jesus mean in John 20:23?

Only God can forgive sins,and Christ, being God, has the power to do so as well, but He never communicated any such power to His disciples, nor did they ever assume any such power to themselves. The key to understanding the meaning of John 20:23 lies in the previous two verses: “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” He sent them, as He is sending us, to bring the good news of the way to salvation and heaven to the whole world. Jesus was leaving the earth physically but promised God would be with them in the person of the Holy Spirit living in them. As they proclaimed the gospel, they could honestly tell people who believed in that message that their sins were forgiven, and they could honestly tell people that did not believe in the message that their sins were not forgiven and that they stand condemned in God’s eyes. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

Believers today have the very same mission given to us! We are obligated to share the gospel message, the way to heaven, to others in the world, and we go about that mission with the Holy Spirit living inside us, guiding us as we share His truth. We are obligated to tell people the only way to be forgiven is through faith. Jesus said in John 8:24,“If you do not believe that I am (God), you will indeed die in your sins.” This is the very core of the gospel message and the very heart of what we are to explain to the world. It was Jesus’ last command to His followers before He physically left the earth—carry forward the message of hope and save as many as will believe in Him.

Jesus preached a crucial message about forgiving our brothers,as God forgave us. We stand in grace, and He expects us to keep our hearts pure toward others, not holding grudges or harboring a spirit of unforgiveness, especially after He gave us such undeserved love and forgiveness at such a high personal cost to Himself! Jesus said those who have been forgiven much, love much (Luke 7:47). He expects us to forgive others 70 times 7 times (Matthew 18:22). We are also told that if we are praying but hold something against anyone, we are to forgive that person so our relationship with God is right and righteous! Colossians 3:13 says, “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” We know we are His if we love our brothers and don’t hate them or have unforgiveness in our hearts (1 John 2:3-6; 3:14-19; 4:16-21). Forgiveness is a key to showing we indeed have eternal life inside us, according to these passages. If we say we love God but hate our brother, we are liars and no truth is in us. So, our forgiveness of others is a major indicator of true fellowship with God. God looks at the heart and actions, not mere words. Jesus stated while on earth, “These people come near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” So, it’s important we have a living, genuine faith: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers” (1

Dubay, how is it that you claim to be Catholic yet you deny one of the seven sacraments of the Church? :confused:

Sorry, put me in the bad Catholic category.

James 2 clearly talks about “Faith & Good Works”, but tries to disprove Catholicism by using that same chapter:

JAMES 2:17, 24, 21: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone … Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only … Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the alter.” Here James refers to Genesis, Chapter 22, a time years after Abraham was saved. This he used to illustrate that testimony without works will fall dead and lifeless to the ears of the lost. If our works back up our faith, then men justify our testimony as being true. James is talking about our justification before men. “Even so faith if it hath not works is dead…” This does not say that one
is lost without good works, only that his testimony falls dead and lifeless. This is like a car with a charged-up battery. . . the headlights will shine. If the battery goes dead, the light will not shine but the battery is still there. We can be saved and our life may not be charged up by God’s Word and shining the way it should. . . but the Holy Spirit is still within us and we are still saved. This is made clear by Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION.”

ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT OF WORKS. Remember, we are not maintaining that good works are necessary to go to Heaven. Salvation is a free gift and not of works, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, least any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). But let us be careful to maintain good works which will prove our faith to the lost and be a source of reward prove our faith to the lost and be a source of reward to us AFTER we get to heaven.

GOOD WORKS RECEIVE A REWARD. 1st Corinthians 3:14, “If any man’s (Christian’s) work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” Notice, this is not referring to Heaven or eternal life, but rewards you receive after you get to Heaven.’’ Heaven is a free gift by faith while rewards have to be earned by our works.

BAD WORKS RECEIVE LOSS OF REWARDS, BUT NOT LOSS OF SALVATION. I Corinthians 3:15, “If any man’s (Christian’s) work shall be burned, he shall suffer (loss of rewards, not salvation); but he himself SHALL BE SAVED, yet so as by fire.”

OUR RESPONSIBILITY. In Matthew 5:13 we are told that we “are the salt of the earth…” In Romans 10:17 we read “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Therefore…“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven”
(Matthew 5:16). How will they glorify your Father which is in Heaven? By trusting Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour, because your life backed up your testimony which was received as the living truth, instead of falling lifeless upon dead ears. Will you trust Jesus as your Saviour right now?

Um, I didn’t put you there, friend. If you are there, you went there on your own!

Everyone that does not follow the Catholic Church does that. Interprets scripture themself. thats nothing new.

People here have made a good case on the Biblical arguments. I thought I would throw this error in the writers argument out there.

Also, if the apostles had claimed to have had the power to forgive sins, they would have certainly been challenged and possibly stoned, since almost all people in the region knew that God alone could forgive sins, and claiming otherwise meant death. Jesus was killed, in part, for making that claim; yet we see no mention of the apostles being challenged, or threatened, or killed for making the claim that they had the power to forgive sins.

If memory serves me correctly, all but one of the 12 Apostles in Acts ends up being killed for what they were teaching. They were threatened, arrested and executed for these beliefs.

Yeah, and I thought them Fundies are suppose to take the bible literally. They sure don’t take those verses listed above quite literally.

Well here’s another one by Jesus-is-Savior, but this time on John 20:23:

Matthew 16:19 and John 20:23 Explained

by David J. Stewart

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” —Matthew 16:19

   Some people attempt to use this Scripture to teach that a priest or minister can forgive sin.  However, this is not what the Bible is teaching at all.  Henry H. Halley states in his Halley's Bible Handbook concerning Matthew 16:19 ("The Keys to the Kingdom")...

"The ordinary interpretation of this is that Peter opened the door of salvation, on the Day of Pentecost, to the Jews (Acts 2), and later to the Gentiles (Acts 10). Not that he was given the power to Forgive sins, but to proclaim the terms of forgiveness. Whatever authority it gave to Peter was also given to the other Apostles (Mathew 18:18; John 20:23). And that, only in a declarative sense. Christ forgives. His Apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the terms of that forgiveness.

SOURCE: Halley’s Bible Handbook, by Henry H. Halley, 1965 edition, pg. 442

A similar Scripture that is often misunderstood and misinterpreted is John 20:23…

“Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” —John 20:23

The Greek word for “remit” is “aphiemi” and means “to send away.” According to VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS (pg. 522)…

"Scripture makes clear that the Lord’s words could not have been intended to bestow the exercise of absolution, which Scripture declares is the prerogative of God alone. There is no instance in the New Testament of this act on the part of the Apostles. The words are to be understood in a declarative sense; the statement has regard to the effects of their ministry of the Gospel, with its twofold effects of remission and retention. [emphasis added]

Clearly, neither Matthew 16:19 nor John 20:23 teach that men have the power to forgive sin. Even the unsaved Pharisees knew this… “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21). Yet, Catholic priests and Lutheran ministers today wickedly and arrogantly claim the ability to forgive sin. They cannot. Only God, Who is Christ in the flesh, can forgive sin, “…and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1st John 1:7). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1st Timothy 2:5).

Therein, I believe, is one reason why Catholics and Protestants frequently argue over what the Bible teaches us. That is, taking a verse and saying it means this rather than that. It is easy to take a single Biblical verse and say it proves a point. It is fallacious to base an argument on verses. It is more appropriate to look at larger passages of the Bible. When we try to base an argument on a singular verse we are inclined to divorce that verse from the context of the wider passage of which it is a part.

Wow that’s nuts

John 20 and James 2

Brought me into the church.

Maybe you should talk to a Priest about these and let them explain it to you in a way that you understand so that you get the proper context of these Scriptures.

It may seem outlandish (to me, it’s not), but I would take what the Church teaches in higher regard than the Bible. Thankfully, there aren’t any contradictions between the two, but if there were, I think the Church would over rule the Bible. For one, Jesus gave us one of the two, and it isn’t the Bible. The Church gave us the Bible, and the Church was operating years before the Gospels were recorded. The only reason we believe the Bible is the inspired word of God is because the Church declares it to be. I use this question when I discuss Christianity with Protestants: Did Jesus give us the Bible? Or did He give us a Church? And of course they meander their way around the question, but it really is a check mate in terms of an argument. The pivotal downfall of Protestants is that history is not on their side.

I’m sorry but this really frustrates me. I do not deny that the Catholic Church, through the Holy Spirit helped put together the Bible. However, it did not give us the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God. Not the word of man. The Bible is God breathed. Therefore, it is God who gave us the Bible. If God did not give us the Bible then it is not God’s word. Which means that the Bible doesn’t have to be infallible since it isn’t from God. Thank God that He did indeed give us the Bible.

Are you really saying if there were contradictions the Church would overrule the Bible? That is HIS Word. It is the Gospel of Salvation. The Word of life. Scripture says that man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Scripture is the word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

I’m sorry but I definitely do not agree with you.

But we only know and believe that those particular books which we call the Bible are infallible b/c of the Catholic Church who decided it was so. If there was a contradiction between the Church and the Bible it would merely be the Church contradicting herself since the Church is the authority behind the Bible. The Bible did not fall from the sky but instead came out of the Church, who took those particular books and decided on them based on the faith that already existed. They did not pull the faith from the pages of the Bible like more recent Protestant groups have. The Bible was created in conformity to the Church (to the faith) and not the other way around. It is not logical therefore to say the Church should bend to the words of the Bible, b/c practically speaking those words have to interpreted, but mainly b/c the Church gave authority to the Bible. However, it is also illogical to say that there would be a contradiction between the Bible and the Church in the first place. It is not a matter of one taking precedent over the other but both being seen as coming from one and the same source, which is God’s revelation. This is why there is so much trouble when one seeks to separate the Bible from the Church as the protestants have.

The term Protestant is so fragmented it has become a useless label. When something has a infinate numbers of meanings it actually has no meaning.

Without a doubt. One might even say we have many protesting in the CC the East and elsewhere.

Agreed, Gus! In fact, the term is archaic, because its origin is in the protest at the 2nd Diet at Speyer, a protest of governmental limiting of activities of the Evangelical churches.
And since there never was a particular communion called The Protestant Church, it was not intended to describe a particular communion, much less the various non-Catholic western communions.


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