I was raised Protestant/Anabaptist/non-denom. Over the past yr or so I’ve been trying to figure out the claims of Catholicism, and have wavered back and forth on whether it’s true or not. One verse that really stumps Protestants (or at least I haven’t heard a good argument for) is the above. Without reading into it/or using my Protestant eyes, it seems pretty confirming of the Catholic teaching on confession to priests, absolution, etc. Please give me your (Protestant) explanation to this verse.
I’ve heard "The Greek tense is really saying more like ’ who’s sins you forgive will have already been forgiven in heaven, and who’s sins you retain / will have not been forgiven.’ " So more of an authority to declare what God has already done, and any believer can do this. We know that if someone sincerely repents/confesses they are forgiven, and vice versa, but that seems skethcy because it could vary it the individuals “declaration” or opinion. Plus, Jesus “breathed the holy spirit on them” right before which indicates he was bestowing on them some special power. There’s no indication of Jesus giving this to anyone else.
ANother possible explanation is that Jesus was saying “who’s sins you hold on to will be a weight on you, and who’s sins you forgive/let go of, will not hold onto you/will free you.” Or like the judge not lest ye be judged thing. Or the forgive us as we forgive others thing. But again, that doesn’t seem like it’d require a special “breathing on of the holy spirit.” Plus that would be apparent in the Greek I’d assume if it’s like Spanish, with reflexive verbs. We’d be able to see if it pertained to the other or the apostle.
I have the same question with the giving Peter the keys to the kingdom… bind and loose thing (Matt 16:18-20). Protestants don’t seem to have a good explanation for this either and if we take these verses as they say without fear that they might really mean what Catholics say they do, we have some re-thinking of forgiveness and confession to do.