Spiritual Warfare Forum: History of Confession
History of Confession QUESTION from Robert on June 13, 2002 Dear fellow brother in Christ.
I read Tom's question to you concerning the History of Confession. Born a Catholic and now a practicing Bible fearing Christian, I have grown to see the fallacy of man confessing his sins to other men for absolution and forgiveness. Your reference of scripture does have some merit to it concerning the confession of sins to one another in fellowship and prayer, however other references fall far short of bolstering any argument for the confessing of sins to any one individual. The mediators, in this case: the Pope, priests and other constituants of the Catholic hierarchy, have no place in the process of the forgiveness of sins. The Lord God almighty who shed his blood for us on the cross is and was the final mediator and sacrafice needed to cleanse sins of the true believer. It needs no bolstering from any other source or individual. Somewhere the confessing or admission of our sins to one another in brotherhood and fellowship has been misconscrewed as meaning the need for one to see a priest and be cleansed first, by him, before being truely cleansed by the Lord. The gift of salvation is by grace which through faith and confession of the Lord cleanses sins. It doesn't require some other individual to oversee the process of God's supreme plan of salvation through his sacrafice. The other day I was speaking to my Mom. She is still practicing Catholic law. She was reasoning how the Catholic laws states its okay to pray directly to the Lord for forgiveness, but that the act of confessing to a priest, especially if there is a mortal sin on your soul... and, by the way my fellow brother, all sins are mortal: The wages of sin is Death,... is essential. She further reasoned, that suppose you were ready to get into a fatal car crash or suddenly leave this earth, and suppose you missed confession. I said, yes. She said, well that is why it is still okay to pray to the Lord directly for your sins; just in case you had alot of sins that accumulated since your last confession. I mean, you either you need to confess your sins to another or you don't. In my opinion that seems a little backwards. I missed the priest so I better pray to the Lord just in case? You confess your sins to one another as an act of true repentance and sorrow for the sins that you have commited against each other and God. Not to be cleansed of them. Only the Lord can cleanse sins. I don't wish to insult your intelligence, but think of him as the priest only on a much higher scale. If you ponder this thought for a while, any set of laws or reasoning to confess sins to any other individual, for the purpose of forgiveness, seems absolutely silly and on a grander, more serious scale, outright blasphemous. This is the problem... alot of the Catholic beliefs are just a set of laws, invented by others, without Biblical foundation, that require the true body of believers to follow because it is expected by the Church.
I am a Catholic by its definition: A believer in the true Body of Christ. But I will never practice laws that are not scriptually founded or half founded or vaguely founded, most especially those that are down right offensive and remove the deity of our Savior. A classic example of this fallacy is the Catholic law of separating sins into two catagories for confessionary purposes. And it's hypocracy was well illustrated and evident in Tom's reaction to his friend's feelings about sin. Based on Tom's comments it almost seems as though Tom thinks venial little sins are okay and we shouldn't get all bent out of shape over them. To quote our good Lord... All I can say to that is Wooaaaa. What is even more disturbing to me was your reluctance or oversight of not even responding directing to this line of thinking. Surely you are not advocating Tom's assertions concerning his friend's upsetment over little sins. Tom's friend should get upset about any sin that he or any other human being might commit and ask the Lord to forgive even the smallest sin. For Tom to have taken this approach and for you to have not even addressed his statement gets me very worried about the true state of the Catholic Church today and those practicing or advocating this type of behavior.
I do belive the Catholic Church is the true Church, but I also believe it has fallen away and invented laws somewhere back in time that have no place in God's word or worship practices. Perhaps I should, however, continue to practice these Laws of the true Church and, if some have been instituted that are not to the approval of our Lord, then he will address that at his own time. The Lord's supreme truth will prevail. If what I have said is not so; it will not be posted on your website. If what I have said is so then may God guide your heart.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 8, 2002 Dear Robert:
I am a Bible-believing Christian, former Baptist preacher, who believes ALL the Bible says and obeys all the Bible demands, who converted to the Catholic Church because the BIBLE proves that the Church Jesus founded is the fellowship of believers in union with God's Prime Minister -- the Pope.
You say I have grown to see the fallacy of man confessing his sins to other men for absolution and forgiveness. That statement, I believe discloses a primary problem that is consistent with non-Catholic Christians and may Catholic Christians too. Instead of submitting oneself to God's appointed teaching magisterium, people have grow into your their own opinions -- dispite the fact that the Bible itself says that interpretation is not to be privately concluded.
The Sacrament of Confession is in the Bible, it was instituted by Christ, and it was and is practiced by the True Church. The early Christians believed in this Sacrament.
I am sorry sir, but your opinion about the Sacrament of Confession is a purely man-made notion and not of God. As I always say concerning such misguided and novel notions --- nice theory, prove it!
That is, please find me ANY extant manuscript of a sermon, essay, letter, or scribbling of a Christian who lived in the first, second, and third centuries who practiced their Church and interpreted the Bible in the way you practice your church and in the way you interpret the Bible.
You will not find any. All early writings of the Church fathers afirm and support the FACT it is the Catholic Church that is the Church of Jesus, the original Church, and the only True Church.
The basic doctrines of the Catholic Church today are the SAME as they were in the first three centuries. This is not an opinion, but a proven fact by documentary evidence.
The Church today is teaching the teaching of Christ. While popes and priests can be corrupt, the Church will NEVER stray from the true teaching. NO POPE has EVER declared as official teaching of the Church ANYTHING that was in error.
Jesus promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. Since Jesus is not a liar, I believe what he says.
Since you believe the Church is the True Church, then why have you abandoned her? There is no Church anywhere else. If the Church is the TRUE Church as you say you believe, then all other Churches are false churches. There cannot be more than one TRUE Church. Jesus established a CHURCH, not churches.
The notion that the faith was hidden or corrupted by the Church until Martin Luther came along to correct it is laughable -- expecially since Luther had NO respect for the Bible and thus RIPPED out the Bible seven books from the Old Testament and wanted to rip out the book of James, Hebrews, and Revelations from the New Testament. And he flippantly added words to the Bible to suit his personal opinions.
Although you sound more open to Catholicism than many other non-Catholics I say in general that whether non-Catholic Christians want to admit it or not, their attitude and practice is reflected, to one degree of intensity or another, in large ways or in small ways, with boast or with quietness, in Martin Luthers defense of himself when he was challenged as to why he ADDED words to the Bible that are not there when he translated the Bible into German:
You tell me what a great fuss the Papist are making because the word 'alone' is not in the text of Paul [referring to Romans 8:28. NOTE: In fact, the only place where the phrase faith alone appears in the Bible is in James 2:24 when James says we are NOT saved by faith alone].
If your Papist makes such an unnecessary row about the word 'alone,' say right out to him: 'Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,' and say: 'Papist and asses are one and the same thing.'
I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word 'alone' is not in the Latin or the Greek text, and it was not necessary for the Papists to teach me that. It is true those letters are not in it, which letters the jackasses look at, as a cow stares at a new gate . . . It shall remain in my New Testament, and if all the Popish donkeys were to get mad and besides themselves, they will not get it out.
Thus sayeth the humble Martin Luther! emmm, what does the Bible say about adding or taking away from the Scriptures?
As Biship Newman, I believe it was once said, To emmerce oneself in history is to cease to be Protestant.
That is surely true, both from the point-of-view of the historical facts of the Catholic Church and the papacy established by Jesus personally and by the REAL STORY of the vanity and gross pride and arrogance of the rebellion against God of the so-called reformers.
As for you personally I am impressed to see You say: I do belive the Catholic Church is the true Church, but I also believe it has fallen away and invented laws somewhere back in time that have no place in God's word or worship practices. Perhaps I should, however, continue to practice these Laws of the true Church and, if some have been instituted that are not to the approval of our Lord, then he will address that at his own time. The Lord's supreme truth will prevail.
I think your opinion is misplaced about being fallen away and invented laws ... no place ... in ... worship practices. All doctrines of the Catholic Church are either expressly or implicitly mentioned in Scripture or in the principles of Scriptures -- every single one. But you are RIGHT ON in terms that God will sort this out and that we need to remain in HIS true Church in the meantime.
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