Efficacy of confession and absolution

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by Rexlion, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    "And what we have left undone". We don't even have to have done something to have sinned.
    .
     
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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    And what I've said all through this thread was that the act of repenting and confessing to God (apologizing to Him) repairs the rupture in the relationship between the person who sinned and God.

    However, God never stopped loving the person who sinned. The Holy Spirit did not flee from the person or cease to abide in the person. The person who sinned sensed the rupture, sensed his wrongdoing, and repented; but God's forgiveness was already granted beforehand, so the person who sinned is the one who had stepped away from God, not the other way around, so repentance is what was needed for the person to 'come back' toward God. God didn't go anywhere, and God didn't condemn the person for his sin, it's just a rupture in the close fellowship (the communion) between God and the person.

    None of this reinforces the claim that the priest's pronouncement of absolution is necessary or effectual. It affirms and reassures concerning the right relationship between God and the repentant persons, while it gives no affirmation or assurance to any within hearing who have not repented.
     
  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    The fact that in the 1662 at morning and evening prayers only the priest can offer absolution after the confession signifies that it is an act that only the priest can take and it does have an affect. That does not mean that one can't go straight to Christ. One can do both. Use of the priestly absolution or one can pray for forgivness from Christ. Both have affect or at least that is my understanding of it
     
  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Right. God repairs the rupture through the minister! Without that reciprocal action, you just assume that God waved his hand somewhere in heaven, automatically, just because you said a few words. You make the penitent too powerful, and God a mere bystander.

    You see, you presume that God's part in this is passive. The penitent is the only one who matters, because God is a mute automaton who gives forgiveness like candy. It's free love. Cheap love.

    "What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly."
    -Thomas Paine
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
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  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    This is the authentic historic Christian teaching, and was the prevailing view up until the 18th century.
     
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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I think you're making assumptions about how I or some other person would feel.
    Actually, I would just take God at His word and trust Him to do what He promised: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). When I have God's solemn word that He will do a thing, I don't need a priest to confirm it to me. (But those who have weaker faith or who lack knowledge of God's promises might need that reassurance.)

    Quite the opposite. God is the powerful one; nothing I could do of my own strength could absolve me, but His strength works miracles in me.

    Oh, glory! All glory to Him! For He is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy (Ps. 103). It's not cheap, though. Jesus paid the highest price imaginable so that I might receive forgiveness through simple faith, the childlike kind of faith like what a youngster has in his loving parents.

    Some churches seem to encourage the notion that one must grovel and put on a good show of their sincere repentance, maybe even shed a few tears, to be worthy enough (impress God enough?) to receive absolution. Seems like a works-based thing to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The difference between our parents and God is that most mortals get to see and interact with their parents face-to-face. Without the absolution, there is no objective sign that forgiveness has actually taken place. Merely believing a thing does not make it so. Christianity is not Gnosticism. The Gospels and the whole tradition of Church practice are filled with physical reminders of the presence and forgiveness of God. Without those reminders - sacramentals, as it were - we would come to think we were the sole actors in the process; submitting to the practice of confession and absolution compels us to recognize that we are in fact passive and dependent on another (God - represented by the priest) for that forgiveness to take effect.
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You can show me a long tradition of belief in effectual absolution by a priest, and this tradition flows out of the Roman church.

    But you will be hard-pressed to show me a Scriptural teaching on effectual absolution. ;) In fact, I don't know of a solid teaching on effectual priestly absolution during the first 500 years of the Church.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Not really. I have already provided Scripture examples here, that are plain as day. You've simply chosen to dismiss them out of hand, for whatever reason. There's not a whole lot I can do about that except note the error and move on. We have to agree on what the facts are before we can start talking about what they mean.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Now you've lost me. Would you like to link to the posts, or cite the scriptures again? You have 3 posts in this thread, and I don't see any scripture references.
     
  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I don't know about you, but in my family if my son misbehaves, he will most definitely atone for it. There is zero room for cheap love in this family. I love him even as he will be punished. It's because I love him that he will be punished, because that will help teach him about the way the world is. If I don't punish him, then I teach him a way of living that is at odds with the way God has constructed the world (if you drop the rock, it will fall on you; if you lie, you commit evil; if you sin, you die).

    God has created an implacable world of cause and effect, of sin, death, consequences, logic, and a force of law that is impossible to break. By omitting to teach that to my son, I cause him harm. But by meticulously punishing him when he does bad, I serve him a tremendous good. I prepare him to live in the world, and therefore serve him an incalculable service. He learns that if he does bad, he will suffer, and if he does well, he will prosper. That is what God teaches: "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

    This is why in her healthier periods, the Church made sure to make the person suffer if they committed a sin. She made them understand the connection between actions and their consequences; that could perhaps cause the person to embrace the Gospel and thus be saved in the end. Cheap love, as we see today, teaches people to be decadent and petulant, and in the end reject God altogether. But in the olden times, when people were punished by the Church, they clung to God ever more, in gratitude, that through a temporal punishment they avoided an eternal one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Okay, but a general confession is no punishment. Nor does any of this support efficacy of absolution.
     
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Shadows and symbols, my friend:
    There it is, in plain language. In the case of David's confession to Nathan - the account of which is actually part of the Eastern Orthodox rite of confession itself - if you read the whole passage in context, the Lord is actually literally speaking with Nathan's mouth. That's how forgiveness happens in the Bible: God speaks, through human voices. That is precisely what absolution is, and the efficacy of priestly absolution - i.e., God announcing his forgiveness through those whom he has appointed for that purpose - runs seamlessly through both testaments. The various revivalist traditions systematically train their adherents not to recognize this, by teaching instead the notion of an 'immediate' relationship between the soul and God. That's basically just Gnosticism repackaged. Neither the Bible nor Christianity teach any such thing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
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  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses".

    ""And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses"

    "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses".

    The notion that a pronouncement from a human priest is required for a sinner to obtain forgivenss from God nowadays, is a load of OT rubbish. It should be abundantly clear from these three sayings of our Master that Jesus Christ envisaged no priestly pronouncement of absolution in any of the above transactions.

    "Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".

    All one has to do in order to receive forgivness of trespasses from God is to be forgiving of others who have trespassed against you and to repent of the trespasses you have committed against your neighbour. To truly repent, an 'about turn' a resolve to eschew and reparation where possible are required for the injured party. "You shall love your neighbour as yourself". "Who is my neighbour"?

    "Everyone is"!

    What priest can know for certain if you have or have not, forgiven your neighbour? (Only God knows the hearts of all men or women.)

    If he cannot possibly know for certain if you have or have not, how can any priest absolve anyone whom God refuses to forgive, because they have refused to forgive their neighbour themselves? Or was Jesus Christ wrong about how God's forgiveness works and who it is that dispenses it or not and why?
    .
     
  15. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    See my post immediately above.

    I think one would be hard pressed to find anyone here who would agree that the OT is “rubbish”.
     
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  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Allow me to help Tiffy out by restating his proposition in a clearer manner.
    "The notion that a pronouncement from a human priest is required for a sinner to obtain forgiveness from God nowadays, is a load of" rubbish, and said rubbish is derived from a misapplication of OT concepts.

    Did I nail your intent, Tiffy? :D
     
  17. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Except for the part where the NT teaches it as well, which you insist on ignoring.
     
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  18. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    If God repairs the rupture through the minister, is your sin cleansed at the very moment of absolution? Or is it an assurance that your sin is forgiven?
    Cleansing of sin at the very moment of absolution sounds like RC and EO speak to me :unsure:
     
  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Both.
    They also believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation; should we reject that, too?

    The litmus test for what is true or false is not who else believes it. If the Scripture teaches it - and it does, clearly - then we have to deal with it. Our systems ought to adjust to it, not vice versa, if we want to interpret it honestly.
     
  20. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    Was this the view of the early church as well? I haven’t looked into it. I’m slightly uncomfortable with saying my sins are forgiven at the very moment. What if I committed a sin and it I already prayed to God to forgive me for it? Would it not be forgiven until absolution?
    Id be ok with it if it’s a sin that I haven’t asked forgiveness for, but if it’s a sin I’ve already prayed about and asked God to forgive me, then that would mean that my personal prayers are not “enough” to be forgiven. I don’t believe that. I believe we can approach the father in boldness through Christ.