protestants not confessing to a priest

Why do protestant faiths believe that they do not need to confess to a pastor or priest? thx

I think it is because we know that God is everywhere and he knows our hearts. If we pray to Him & repent for our sins and turn away from them, then God has already forgotten them. We don’t feel the need to confess to a priest and be absolved because we can tell God directly, but we still do confess to another to be held accountable for our sins.

Lutherans also have the option of confessing to God with the help of our pastor in a similar fashion to the Catholic confessional .

But in addition, the Lutheran standpoint is that a we also can confess our sins to God directly, and that we receive God’s forgiveness of our sins directly.

You already have the basic answer to your question from Carina20.

Please be aware that auricular confession is available in Lutheran Churches, and I believe some Anglican Churches. Within Lutheranism, even corporate confession at the beginning of worship is done to the pastor before God. The pastor then absolves with a statement similar to this:
“As a called and ordained servant of Christ and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”

For Lutherans it isn’t a matter of either confess directly to God, or to a pastor/confessor, but instead both/and.


Ben, you’re quicker with the keys than I am. :stuck_out_tongue:


And the same for Anglicans and many feel that as God works through the Priest then why not go straight to Him but me I think that is kind of of - they are embarrassed to say their sins to a priest perhaps. We don’t have to list name and number like Catholics talk about on here and each one of us may have different styles. My friend uses the guide in a prayer book to work through her conscious. Whereas I will simply prepare and work out which is like highlighting themselves.

I do go to Confession because although I don’t need a priest to forgive my sins or I don’t need God to work through a priest because we all are ‘accessible’ to God. I don’t need that third party so to speak. But I choose to go to Confession because it helps me. For me it has nothing to do with helping me get to Heaven which a lot of Catholics think it does? Just a way of being able to share whats going off with a Priest and he can give sound guidence and helps you feel forgiven though on reflection of the last confession the absolution bit somehow I am very uninterested in that. For me its more about a chance for one to one guidence on sin/weakness because the present priest knows me well. With other Priests it still has been more about that one to one time in complete confidence being able to talk about things you wouldn’t share with people that are sins. If he withheld absolution, well I don’t think an Anglican Priest would actually do that normally because one is sorry to be even be there in the first place since we don’t need to be there. All an Anglican Priest might do is give more meaning penance of which doesn’t invalidate our absolutions if we don’t actually do but there again, why go if not willing to do the penance - though hard they can seem at times I am finding. We take the time and effort to be there so it is nice when the Priest can give us something relevent to help us on our way I think and its not penance so much as helping one do better sometimes.

Which do you prefer or use more often, Jon?

Anglicans do believe we need a priest, but the confession is usually a general confession, part of the Holy Eucharist or of Morning and Evening Prayer.

The one for Holy Communion is:

ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; we acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word, and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, to the honour and glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We then receive a General Absolution:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy
hath promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with
hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him, have mercy
upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm
and strengthen you in all goodness, and bring you to
everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Interestingly, the Anglican Use Roman Catholic Book of Divine Worship, which is essentially a Catholic reworking of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church, preserves these forms, but the absolution is not considered absolute, and it is not intended to absolve mortal sins outside the confessional. Indeed, the word “you” is change to “us”.

Christians are not following Christ by not confessing their sins to the Lord, Who is the One Who forgives them.

On the evening of Christ’s resurrection, He appeared to the apostles and gave them the power to forgive sins and to bind and release. To ignore this most critical passage is to ignore Christ’s directive.

It is not the priest who forgives your sins. He is Christ’s minister. Penance is one of the 7 sacraments of the Church. The priesthood is a sacrament.

A sacrament is an outward concrete sign, that points to the grace of Christ within.

It is Jesus and not the priest who absolves your sins. We are all aware of the personhood of the priest when we first walk in. But we focus on Christ to reveal our sins. And it is certainly not the priest, but Christ at work…which we actually experience…His forgiveness, His healing, His restoration and new life…when the priest prays the prayer of Absolution…This action is tactile…meaning, one can actually sense it, and the sacrament of confession is also a healing sacrament because it removes, depending on our degree of contrition not to sin again, the distortion in our soul.

We walk out in joy, restoration, and centered with the world around us is in perfect balance.

As a preference, corporate and private confession because I receive great comfort from hearing the words of absolution.
Frequency is likely personal prayer to God, simply because I can do that anytime / anywhere. The Lord’s Prayer/Our Father is an example of this.


I think what Jon is referring here is also another part I would like to add to the confessional.

Going back to the essentials of the universal Christian faith…that is what I personally call my Catholic faith…the essence of our faith is…communion and family…

We live in a world of isolation. The good thing about being a member of the Church is that it resonates that God created us social beings. It is good to open up to someone like us. The priests say when they hear confession, they are most aware of their own sinfulness. It is a blessing for them as for us when we go. Some times I go face to face. But always, always to get up and go out the door, after so many years…the difficult part is just starting the confession, because I am always aware of the personhood of the priest…going to a human peer…

But as I continue to go and pick out the ‘stuff’ in my soul, I become more and more aware and focused on Christ Himself, and then am no longer aware of the person of the priest. I may have a question to ask at the end…some times before absolution, some times after…but the healing and restoration…the experience…is truly divine…I experience the moving action of the Lord from His sacred Presence with me…Just as I sense Him in the tabernacle by the altar. HE is truly present.

It is good and healing and natural to our being, and represents our communion with God and with our brethren, to go to His minister for our healing from sin.

Available in all Anglican churches. To the extent that such a thing (“all”) can be said about Anglicans, in the plural. Corporate confession is as you state, also.


Many of the protestant sects do not reckon for the harm their sinfullness does to their community. With Catholicism, confession is not just seeking forgiveness from God - which can, indeed, be sought always and everywhere, but is also about recognising the (perhaps unseen) harm sin does to our relationship to the body of the faithful. The priest is representative of this body as much as he is of God, and not only forgives sin in the name of God, but brings about a reconciliation with the faith community, thereby restoring the penitent to righteousness with both God and his/her fellow pilgrim.

There is no individualism (not to be confused with individuality) within Catholicism. Not just you & God, but is a collective experience. By this we can see that individual sinfullness actively opposes the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about the Kingdom here on earth.

And that should lead to a Gulp! moment for all of us!

The truly wonderful thing about Confession is that it is so right for human psychology. It’s a confrontation with the self, which is then revealed to another, in the person of the priest. So in one action Confession takes away complacency, selfishness. and the idea of sinlessness.
Then you are placed at the feet of the Crucified One, and are confronted with your wretchedness, and His saving love.

Many Protestants I speak with (mainly baptist and Pentecostal) seem to view sin as a payed in forward kinda thing. For example, to be assured of Ones forgiveness before actually sinning at no cost to oneself seems to me to represent a God who is not like a father at all. In my opinion this pre-paid forgiveness credit card(my silly metaphor) Father, teaches his children nothing because there are no repercussions. A father who parents his children by letting them do wrong with no consequences due to an auto-forgive simply cannot teach but by guilt alone. The records we have of the penances of the early church indicate that the Christians of the first centuries understood that there was a personal price to pay
For the forgiveness of sin. In pre-Christian times, you had to pay a life blood sacrifice for the penance of your sins. The act of Christ giving his life for all sins, now and forever did not do away with the need for penance, but instead, took away the need for the blood and financial sacrifice and ushered in a new revelation of what must be done for the forgiveness to take place. Christ did not die to pay for the damages of sin, but so that sin may be forgiven by humbling ones self into confessing your transgressions to the ones who were sent(apostolos). John 20:21-23
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” how were these men to know the sins of their penetents without them first confessing with their mouths? The bible is an incomplete source for the knowledge of the new testament. Perhaps because Jesus did not commission a bible he commissioned a single church. Here’s an example of this church and its final earthly authority in terms of sin.

Matthew 18:15-18
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Peter John, how true…we cannot imagine the impact of sin on our souls…and the world around us.

In Catholicism, one small sin is a great grievance to God. Only God can forgive sin…because it is rupture with God Who has called us to communion, and in this communion based on Him and HIs life, we are brothers and sisters.

Confession strengthens us to avoid sin, and regular confession helps us grow in listening to our conscience, as well as developing it.

Essentially I find so many responses to our faith to one that actually encompasses many aspects of our daily life. You either answer simply or go into explanations that can lose people at times.

And mortal/venial sins etc certainly never been taught at any stage of last 25 years at anglican church and the various priests have had ample time to put me right if am meant to have confessed in such a way either to me or via sermons as things have loosely appeared in sermons which have helped me enormously at the same time as being slightly more than suspicious…so we do not have to confess in terms of mortal or venial. We just prepare what we do and in English rather than theological language and don’t state type of sin or number of times or anything like I’ve read the Catholics do on here. And priests do guide us and tell us if we are wrong or need that guidence. :blush::slight_smile:

Scrupulosity does indeed exist in the confessional, and yes, Catholic priests likewise deal with this problem. One told me that scruples is the first step to insanity.

At the beginning Mass, we are greeted and then absolved of all ordinary sin. Deliberate sin against the 10 commandments in various forms requires confession. But it is good to go monthly for the strengthening grace of the sacrament, as well as to seek spiritual direction for a certain need.

I’d say those who do not believe in the need for confession believe so because they do not view the church as having any power to forgive or not forgive sins. They believe in a church that lacks such significant power. They see power as lying more with individuals and no one individual is any greater or more powerful than any other. So the pastor has no special powers. It seems to me those who are further along in the believe that confession is not necessary or even beneficial also do not believe that pastor is doing anything special in confecting the Eucharist. I think in all this is a strong hint of Jacobin equality, a low view of the church compared to other institutions, and an emphasizing of the individual at the expense of the community.

I think there is a great article that Catholics are ecclesial deists. We believe Christ is big enough and God enough to handle establishing His Church, and having it administrate by His chosen ministers. is my favorite site. It has many former Protestant ministers who are now Catholic. There is an article going back to August, 2009, on Ecclesial Deism. The Mormons and Baptists both believe that the true church some how disappeared but they don’t know when.

In the meantime, those who protest the Church on one hand and then on the other ignore the Gospel of John and Christ’s literal words regarding the Eucharist, and then the great event of the Resurrection, the road to Emmaus, and Christ appearing to the Apostles in His resurrected state instituting the sacrament of penance.

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