Protestants how to you get by without confession

When I was an evangelical I always felt angry and distraught with what to do with my sins. I was raised catholic but don’t think it had a major influence regarding confession since I went only once as a 7 year old and didn’t go again until I was 33 returning to the church. I needed to go to counciling a lot when u was away from the church also.

So my question ?
Tonight I committed a sin; not mortal but looked back at the last week and noticed a had a string of venial sins that was out of character and am looking forward to confession tomorrow. If I was a Protestant I would feel completely unfulfilled and lost just talking to God without a priests help how do you feel at peace without the guidance of a trained theologian ?

Not all Protestants do without confession. Both the Lutherans and Episcopalians have confession. Either privately to a priest, or publicly as part of their liturgy.

Even Presbyterians have public confession with absolution.

Orthodox have private confession, but we don’t go into a small room to confess. We confess in the open church.

I grew up in a holiness tradition, a type of Protestantism that believes it is possible, through the grace of God, to “live above sin.” That’s right–you can NEVER SIN. This promise motivates many Christians to strive for holiness, and to redefine their sins as “mistakes.” It is not an ideal solution, and I know many warped and bent Christians who are terrified of losing their salvation through an act of sin.

The Catholic rite of confession was the primary reason I converted to Catholicism after 30 years of trying to attain an impossible goal. had this discussion a million times with my huband who was raised First Christian and converted when we married but due to a very poor job of teaching him the Catholic faith, he still has issues with going to confession–frankly, he hates it and goes mainly to stay out of trouble with me–LOL!. I agree–I don’t know how Protestants get by without confession–particularly if they have committed a really serious sin such as adultery or such. My husband says he was taught that you don’t need a “middleman”–you apologize directly to God in prayer. I guess you believe whatever you were taught but I couldn’t get by without confession.

Even among those Protestant groups you name who retain private confession in some form (I do not think a general confession of sin during the Sunday liturgy is remotely comparable to the sacrament of penance), they do not have anything close to the same understanding of the sacrament that Catholics do. Think of the saying of the Anglicans: “all may, some should, none must.” That is not the Catholic belief. When one sins gravely, one is absolutely bound to confess to a priest. Protestants for the most part do not believe it is possible for a Christian to sin mortally, and, even if they did, one may simply pray in private to God for forgiveness without recourse to the sacrament.

What is it that the Bible says about the just man and seventy time seven?

Protestants do not believe in the infallibility of the church, and confession was ordained by a man. So it is not valid in their mind.
Repeat sins would be considered a stronghold, and prayer would remove them.

I personally do not feel a great desire to talk to a priest about my sin, I find comfort in the Lord and His forgiveness when I repent before Him.

I can understand however, how it can be very helpful talking to people, like a priest, about one’s faults, and no doubt finding strength from them.

I believe in the early church they would publicly declare their sins in front of the whole congregation, correct me if I’m wrong?

In the Anglican church I go to, we say a confession every Sunday service morning with the whole congregation, but we don’t go into particular sins or anything, we just say the words together.

It should be noted that confession is not “talking to a priest” about your sins, although you are indeed speaking to a priest. Confession is not counseling or simply an unburdening of one’s self to others. There is a much deeper reality happening at confession.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” ~James 5:16~

But that really doesn’t relate to the OP’s question. The fact that the way we as Lutherans practice and participate in the sacrament of Confession/Holy Absolution differs in part because we view mortal and venial sins differently, though not in the manner that you describe in the last sentence.

Originally Posted by Adamski

So my question ?
Tonight I committed a sin; not mortal but looked back at the last week and noticed a had a string of venial sins that was out of character and am looking forward to confession tomorrow. If I was a Protestant I would feel completely unfulfilled and lost just talking to God without a priests help how do you feel at peace without the guidance of a trained theologian ?

I agree, though theologian isn’t exactly the word I would choose. In this case, I like the Catholic use of the term “Father”. There is something deep and reassuring in the confessors pronouncement of absolution. Hearing words to the effect, “As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I forgive you all of your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” can truly lift the burden of sin from one’s shoulders.


Very well, thank you for asking!

Seriously, that’s how many Evangelical Protestants would respond to your question!

My husband and I were Evangelical Protestant for the first 47 years of our lives before converting to Catholicism.

Evangelical Protestantism is faith-based and the doctrines come from the Bible. There are many verses in the Bible that state that our sins are forgiven in Christ. Evangelical Protestants believe that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Personal Savior, ALL our sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven. Our hope of salvation and heaven is JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, not anything that we do or don’t do because we can never ever achieve the perfection of Jesus and we don’t have to–He’s already achieved it for us! We rely totally on Him and His goodness to get us to heaven.

Evangelical Protestants have faith that God will keep His promises and forgive their sins. They don’t need to hear someone else say, “You are forgiven.” They hear Jesus say it.

They are encouraged to pray and ask God to forgive their sins, not because they have to in order to restore “sanctifying grace,” but because it is good for them to discuss their sins with God and ask for His help to do better.

Also, Evangelical Protestants are encouraged to confess their sins to one another, mainly to other Christians who can hold them accountable and encourage them to avoid the sin. Many Evangelical Protestant churches have an Accountability Group for men to help each other avoid the very common (among men) sin of pornography use. I think this makes so much more sense than the approach used by many Catholic men, which seems to be “suffering alone” with this besetting sin–it’s a sin that responds well to a group accountability approach.

My husband and I love the Sacrament of Reconciliation and believe that it is what Jesus intended for believers.

But we don’t have a sense of constant state of sin like so many Catholics that we know, and I think that’s because we spent most of our lives believing that all our sins, past, present, and future were already forgiven. We were taught that constantly examining ourselves for sin was disrespectful of God because it showed a lack of faith in Him and His promises in His Word. We were taught to keep our eyes off ourselves and fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith

It’s a very joyful life, free from the fear of hell and free from the necessity of a “procedure” for Confession of Sins. I believe that Evangelical Protestantism attracts many Catholics precisely because they want to be free of the constant fear of committing a mortal sin and going to hell after a lifetime of faithfulness

I hope this post has helped to answer the OP’s question.

I was a Methodist for many years. Simply put, we just didn’t believe that a clergyman was necessary to confess to God.

We don’t. We have confession.

First, I don’t “get by” without confession. I confess my sins to God daily, and I humbly ask his forgiveness in the knowledge that I have a high priest, Jesus, whose blood purifies me from all sins in that, if I confess my sins, God is faithful and just to forgive and purify me from all unrighteousness. Because Jesus is my high priest, I can come boldly before the throne of grace to receive help, mercy, and grace in my time of need.

As for not having a trained theologian to talk to, well, I suppose some might think that a real inconvenience, but it is a luxury that few Christians have ever had.

As a protestant, didn’t you confess your sins regularly in your daily prayers? That’s normally how most of the protestants I have known do it - we confess to the Lord in prayer. We also make a communal confession with the congregation each Sunday, but that’s more of a general “forgive me for what I’ve done and what I’ve failed to do” type thing. Actual, individual sins are confessed to the Lord in daily prayer.

I don’t trust any man to hear my intimate thoughts and actions. It’s between God and I.

Private confession, what Lutherans refer to as Holy Absolution, is taken seriously though regrettably not practiced as much as it was in the early Lutheran Church. It is considered a sacrament [Office of the Keys] and can be accessed both privately and publicly. Most Lutherans confess their sins and receive Absolution each Sunday. The Lutheran Rite includes being forgiven by the pastor in the same words whether in private or at the start of Mass. I don’t think either Catholics or Anglicans use the words of absolution that Lutherans use during public confession. It is a sacramental action during the Liturgy even if the person is reciting the Confession of Sins with others in the church.
Private Confession is urged during Lent, before a person’s First Communion and/or Confirmation and is quite common at hospital bedsides before receiving holy Communion.

For those people that I know who never were catholic. They never think about it. If my sin is laying heavy on my heart I just tell my friends.

And now I must confess a sin to you: When I read, “My husband and I were Evangelical Protestants” I expected some shallow response on how poorly non-Catholics practice what Jesus taught, and how much better Catholics are. I must ask your forgiveness because I judged very poorly.

In fact, every point you made is like how my Church is; accountability, forgiveness, unending grace of Jesus Christ, and assurance of Salvation as we progress to be better.

Thank you for being humble and addressing the Evangelical perspective well, while being Catholic. I appreciate it more than you know.

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