Efficacy of confession and absolution

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

  1. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    How is this extreme example indicative of what modern day “priests” possess? I don’t see it at all…
    I have to admit I do not like the term priest. It reminds me of the RCC sacerdotal and sacrificial “alter Christus” priesthood. I do not see “priests” as necessary to absolve my sins. Simply because it is nowhere mentioned in scripture. Let’s assume the elders in the NT were given the same power as the apostles. How do they use it? Is it that God absolves your sin through them? Or is it that they have the power and duty as Pastors proclaim conditional forgiveness of sins to all who confess with a contrite heart? In all the writings of the NT they talk about baptism and the Eucharist, about preaching the gospel, rebuking and excommunication, but you never see the elders told to bind and loose sins in the way I’m seeing on this thread. Let’s not confuse the apostles with the people they left to oversee the church. I don’t care if 100 years after the term priest developed and they all believed they had the power to forgive sins and the bishop of Rome now has the keys of Peter. My question is, what did the apostles ordain? Did they give the power of forgiving sins to presbyters in the way it is being used here, and did they submit the people to that authority so that you need a priest and their absolution to be forgiven? If they did, I have no problem with it. If they didn’t, then I see no reason to see myself as needing a priest to have my sins forgiven, although it is useful. The veil of the temple was torn, it signified the end of a mediatorial priesthood. We no longer have any other priest but Christ our high priest. The modern day “priests” should be there to offer absolution through their pastoral role, in proclaiming the gospel, in rebuking, and in proclaiming the forgiveness of sins to those who confess with a contrite heart. Proclaiming forgiveness, not giving it, since God alone forgives.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
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  2. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    You will no doubt correct me but I thought being baptised was like losing your virginity, it can happen only once. Is it also an odd thing that you got confirmed and later baptised? I'm sure most of us mere mortals do it the other way around. Just curious.
     
  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I was baptised as an infant. I count that as the primary one. The baptism in the sea was unofficial and done by a friend. The only baptism that is unrepeatable is the one presided over and ordained by Jesus Christ himself, and that is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Matt.3:11, Luke 3:16, John 4:2. The date that that happened is mysterious to me. Sometime between my conception and the advent of my assuredness of salvation, I guess. That would place it at a point in time somewhere between 1944 and 1969. The fact of it happening is of more importance to me than the date though. Perhaps the absence of this unrepeatable baptism in many Anglicans is the reason for the rarity of an Assurance of Salvaton in so many of the Anglicans I have met and conversed with. I put this down to the assumption of many Anglicans that complete regeneration automatically accompanies infant baptism. It doesn't, it just initiates the process and establishes the promise of it.
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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    You are making this a thousand times more complicated than it needs to be. The apostles had the authority to address sin directly among the members of the Church, and they did so. Period.

    In both cases I cited, further opportunities for repentance were summarily cut off, i.e., the sin was ‘retained’. This is authority the Church has because the Church is part of Christ and because Christ bestowed it, as recorded in the Gospels. Bishops and priests today who hear confessions and pronounce absolution are acting on this same authority. It’s just as simple as that.
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    You’ve got to remember that the only reason you don’t like the word is because the Roman church abused it. The actual etymology of the word is from the Greek presbyter. Presbyteros (ancient) -> Prester (old English) -> Priest (Renaissance English)

    It isn’t okay to allow big bad influencers to taint your view of a word or theology.

    Otherwise, you’re allowing someone to expend vast resources to taint any other word they don’t like. What if I spend a billion of dollars to make the word ‘faith’ ridiculous? And it’s happened too, hasn’t it? People view it as ridiculous because of ‘documentaries’ on the History Channel, expensive academic studies. Soon the military will begin to persecute Christians as extremists.

    Will you allow these folks to taint your view of the word? Or any other word, like Scripture, or Christianity, or gender, or manhood/masculinity.

    All the words that used to be okay within our lifetimes, are suddenly now problematic, because of immense resources poured in by malignant influencers. That’s what happened with Rome. They corrupted a whole vocabulary of Christian words, and used incalculable resources and persecution to ensure their uses of the words stuck. Then good folks like the first baptists came along to say, this isn’t okay they won’t stand for it. But because the words were already lost to a Roman meaning, they constructed a new theology, that didn’t use any of those words.

    Thus they departed from the early church even more than the abusive Romans had.

    Instead of fighting for the right use of the word, they abandoned anything to do with that theology. I’m not willing to abandon the words. The one true faith is worth fighting for, forever.
     
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  6. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    I may be making it complicated :dunno:
    I just don’t agree that you need to have your sin absolved by a priest. There’s no proof in the early centuries of the church they did any loosing or retaining except through excommunication. I have no problem with it like that. They separate you from the church and now your salvation is in jeopardy. I just don’t think the power of binding and loosing is applied equally to general or private confession. Retaining sins does not = you need to confess before the presence of a priest so your sins can be forgiven.
    We agree that the church has the power, just not on how it can employ it. I see no scriptural basis for saying a priest can refuse to forgive your general or private confession without excommunication and retain your sin.
     
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    1. The Scriptures themselves testify that such authority existed and was conferred by Christ;
    2. That authority is provisional, not absolute. Remember the 1 Cor. passage: Paul excommunicated someone who he said would nonetheless “be saved in the day of the Lord”. To ‘retain a sin’ means the judgment is left to God. To forgive a sin means that God is the one doing the forgiving, using the minister as His instrument. Just as Christ is both divine and human, so is the Church.
     
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  8. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    I disagree a lot with the premise that baptists have departed more from the early church than Rome. Which early church? In the beginning churches were governed by a group of elders, there was no single bishop. The church has gone through several stages. Baptists and many other evangelical Protestants just went back to the NT elder model. Do I agree with it ? Not really, I think it’s left a lot of tradition out. But Rome is farther away from the gospel than probably 98% of Protestant evangelicals.

    And yes, I do have a knee jerk reaction to priests and calling people father because of Rome, but also because what I’ve seen from the early church.They did start calling them priests, it’s not just a Latin thing. It coincided magically with the entering of pagans into the church, and in 400 ad you have Cyril of Jerusalem saying the Eucharist is a propitiatory sacrifice, and that Jesus is offered for those that have passed away. Do you think the term priest and the Eucharist propitiatory sacrifice don’t have anything to do with each other? The early Christians were not called priests especially to set themselves apart from Jews and pagans that had to offer sacrifices. I know you think Cyril doesn’t believe in the current Roman mass. But I’d love to know how you can explain how the Eucharist is a propitiatory sacrifice and he offers it for the dead and and isn’t basically the same thing as what Rome believes.
     
  9. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    So you think there is an intermediate state then? I read something here before that convinced me people go straight to heaven or hell. But that kind of doesn’t make sense because what about the day of judgement? It’s confusing…
    The early church seems to have believed that martyrs went straight to heaven. I wonder where they got that idea from?
     
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  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Calling priests “father” is not even 200 years old, and still isn’t done in many non-English speaking countries. They were traditionally called “Mister” (Anglican) or “Sir” (Pre-Reformation Catholic). I don’t follow the convention of calling clergy “father” or “mother” myself.
     
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  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Some did, but they were a minority. Antiquity alone is not an adequate test. You also need multiple independent attestation.
     
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  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    My rector says he is fine with being called "Pastor (firstname)", although most folks in the parish call him "Father...".
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    There is, I believe, something very Pharisaical in the notion that one of a cohort of religious leaders, all men, has the power to declare God's judgment upon an individual and arbitrarily declare them outside of God's grace, for, in their opinion, religious rule breaking. (See issue for instance of Biden, excommunication, and abortion laws). Matt 23:13. Yet it is also scripturally irrefutable that Jesus recommended that leaders in His church should expel those who refuse to forgive repentant sinners. Matt.18:15-20.
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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I see a difference between what happens in time and how that appears from an eternal perspective.

    We die in time. Life in time ends for us at the moment of death. Our spirit is however no longer subject to the restraints of being in time. It returns to God. All spirits return to the one who gave it. Eccl.12:7. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. So those who were first to die in time, will be longest in a state of unconscious sleep in time, (but not from an eternal perspective). The last to die in time will be the first to wake from their unconscious sleep in time, (but again, not from an eternal perspective). From an eternal perspective our spirits all arrive in eternity simultaneously. It is a paradox because eternity is timeless and being creatures entirely bound in time, we cannot yet comprehend existence in it.
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Dropping the convention certainly solves the problem of what female priests should be called. My wife would be very uncomfortable being called 'Mother' by anyone but her own sons. In fact anything other than 'Mum" would probably indicate a strain in relationships. All the femal priests I know prefer just to be called by their Christian name. That is what Christian names are for, after all. I doubt Saint Paul ever once insisted on being called "Saint" Paul when anyone spoke to him. Just plain "Paul" would have been perfectly acceptable to him.

    Three years ago I joined a church that uses the convention of calling our Priest "Father" Graham. I struggled with this because Jesus Christ said "Call no one your father". Matt.23:9. Yet this is intended as a mark of respect when referring to the leader of our Christian comminity and as a fellow minister I did not want to appear disrespectful in front of his flock. Indeed I am one of his flock myself.

    I decided that as a fellow minister in a lay capacity I should address Graham by his Christian name when in direct conversation between ourselves. This is perfectly acceptable because we are friends. In company and when referring to him in his official capacity I refer to him as "Father" Graham. Thus I don't call him my Father on earth, I only respectfully refer to him as a "Father" on earth when conversing with others.

    I served in the Royal Navy for many years and everybody refers to the Chaplin aboard a ship officially as "Padre" which ironically is even more "Fatherly" since padre is latin for father. As far as I know this tradition ironically also applies in the US Navy even for Protestant sailors.
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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
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