Christian Apologetics Society

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
- Matthew 22:29

Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
Gen 1:3
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light
Matthew 26:26
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body."
Malachi 1:11
My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Luke 20:38
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.
Rev 21:27
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
1 Cor 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1 Timothy 3:15
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Protestants Joining Catholics in Confession Comeback

Who knew that the ancient Christian practice of confession was making a comeback in a big way? While running a routine bookmarked Google Blogsearch, I discovered this short post, which led to this larger post by a Lutheran pastor, which led to this WSJ article. That's how blogs should work. One should be led from a statement of fact, to a source, and then to other sources.

What originally, caught my attention was the fact that earlier this past summer, 2.5 million Lutherans decided to revive the ancient Christian practice of confession. It seems that, for the last 100 years, no one in this particular denomination of Lutherans had been practicing confession to a priest. In the cited Lutheran example, the pastor wears vestments, stands near the altar, and penitents kneel and confess their sins.

    Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.
    James 5:15


Now, while the Lutheran revival of confession may be mind blowing to me and some of you good folks, what really toasted my grey matter was the Wall Street Journal article that the good Father Eckardt cited at the bottom of his post. The revival of confession wasn't limited to the 2.5 million Lutherans. Oh, no. God seems to have initiated a confessional renaissance of the entire Christian church. Even evangelicals are practicing confession! Who knew?

Some evangelicals don't need any prompting. Joshua Wilshusen, 29, a respiratory care student from Lomita, Calif., started meeting two other Christian men for a weekly group confession two years ago. They gather at a park or coffee shop to ask questions such as "Have you coveted this week?" "Have you been sexually pure?" "Have you just lied to me?" Confessing helps him resist temptations. "There've been times when a sin has hurt me all week, when I've lusted after a woman or lost my temper at work, and then I confess it and the peace is restored."

Confession is one of the oldest Christian practices and historical documentation of the practice dates back to about 70AD where it is mentioned in the Didache:

    "Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure"
    Didache 4:14, 14:1


Around the same time, we find the ancient Christian practice of confessing confirmed in the Acts of the Apostles:

    Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.
    Acts 19:18


The early fathers of the Christian church were not silent regarding confession. Origen in his homilies on Leviticus states:

    "[A final method of forgiveness], albeit hard and laborious [is] the remission of sins through penance, when the sinner . . . does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine, after the manner of him who say, ‘I said, "To the Lord I will accuse myself of my iniquity"
    Origen, Homilies on Leviticus 2:4


I am particularly fond of this quote by Basil the Great from around 288AD:

    It is necessary to confess our sins to those to whom the dispensation of God’s mysteries is entrusted. Those doing penance of old are found to have done it before the saints. It is written in the Gospel that they confessed their sins to John the Baptist [Matt. 3:6], but in Acts [19:18] they confessed to the apostles"
    Basil the Great, Rules Briefly Treated


About a decade later John Chrysostom would write:

    "Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels. It was said to them: ‘Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.’ Temporal rulers have indeed the power of binding; but they can only bind the body. Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and transcends the very heavens. Did [God] not give them all the powers of heaven? ‘Whose sins you shall forgive,’ he says, ‘they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.’ What greater power is there than this? The Father has given all judgment to the Son. And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men [Matt. 10:40; John 20:21–23]. They are raised to this dignity as if they were already gathered up to heaven"
    John Chrysostom, The Priesthood 3:5


Remember...

    "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness"
    1 John 1:9


However, if I am to confess my sins to another, I want it to be to another who has this authority from Jesus:

    Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
    John 20:21-23


Source: WSJ - Confession Makes a Comeback

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8 Comments:

Blogger Mrs. Jane said...

Hi Timothy,
You left a comment on my student's blog. She had written about the Catholic Religion as a part of her Grade 5 assignment. Her name is Mandy. Did you realize that she is 10? She was excited to get your comment but didn't know the meaning of erroneous. I have explained it to her. Thanks for commenting.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Hi Timothy -

I couldn't find an email address for you, but I wanted to thank you for the comment you wrote on my blog earlier today. It's very encouraging to know that our brothers and sisters are praying for us, despite our disagreements and distance. Thanks for lifting us up in prayer; we are surely in need of it.

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

11:06 PM  
Blogger Raul Batista (Varonelo) said...

Brother Timothy, I apologize if I offended you by affirming my protestant, Luther-inspired, religious tradition. I'm not one usually to even critique Catholics, as I feel folk that find sustenance and blessing in the Catholic tradition should be celebrated, and not vilified as some Adventists and others are wont to do so.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog, realjesuscristo.blogspot.com. More non-Adventists than Adventists leave comments which should tell me something right there about where my power-of-attraction lies.

I appealed to Martin Luther and his separation from your church to make a point regarding ex-Adventists which I have known personally through the years.

I'm glad to see that you classify yourself as a "Born-again Christian disciple attending a Bible-believing and Bible practicing Catholic church." It is a first to see those words, "born-again" coupled with the word Catholic. I have had limited contacts with mostly secular Catholics at work and in bars and such through the years, but have ocassionally run into very devout and, as you say, "born again catholics."

God bless you in your ministry, as well.

3:08 PM  
Blogger katholicos said...

Hello Timothy,

I just noticed that you responded over at a blog called, Open Air Seattle. Anyways, I just wanted to say that I looked at your blog and I like it so far. I am the daughter of one of the people who run that blog (not lazaro though) and I am a Catholic (however I am not the Catholic who responded to you on that blog). I Converted from Protestantism just over a year ago, and you can imagine what I have been going through since because of it. I just wanted to say that it is encouraging seeing another devout Catholic defending our Holy faith.

Also that person who warned you was right, any and all discussions about Catholicism with that group would be a waste, trust me my father and I got nowhere.

God bless

6:47 PM  
Blogger charles said...

Timothy, I couldn't email back to you since you don't post your email address. You were at my blog: http://cyberwordoftruth.blogspot.com
I left there a reply to your comment. Blessings, Charles

10:18 PM  
Blogger james hastings said...

Hi Timothy,
Thanks for dropping by my blog and for your comments.
Let me briefly explain why I am a member of the Pioneer Churches (www.pioneer.org.uk)
The church I attend is full of Christ-centered people who allow the Holy Spirit to take control of their lives, thus leading them to the Father. It is a church where Jesus' Great Commission (Mark 16: 15-18)is taken seriously; where signs and wonders abound and souls are brought to Jesus. This is my daily experience of Riverside Church.
Timothy, think of me, like C.S.Lewis said, as being in the same house as you, just a different room. You and I are for Jesus so as members of the Body of Christ, we can't be against each other.
We both believe in the Trinity, the Virgin birth, that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life; we believe in the power of Jesus' death and ressurection to save us, and that He will come again. That's quite a lot in common, brother!
I liked your profile description where you state you are a Christian in a Bible-believing Catholic parish. I wouldn't try to disuade you from that. As you can see from my links, I'm a big supporter of the Catholic charismatic group, Flame Ministries, as well as another, Cor et Lumen Christi. Material from both these groups carries an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat - and as an Evangelical, I'm delighted to read and promote them.
I invite you to take a look at their websites and materials. As was stated by a leading Vatican priest (sorry, I forget his name) at the 40th celebrations of Charismatic renewal Mass in Rome before Pope Benedict: "The Charismatic movement is not a movement of the church, but a movement for the Church."
Amen!

Blessings

James

3:22 AM  
Blogger james hastings said...

Hi Timothy,
Thanks for dropping in and for your comments.
Let me briefly explain why I am a member of the Pioneer Churches (www.pioneer.org.uk)
The church I attend is full of Christ-centered people who allow the Holy Spirit to take control of their lives, thus leading them to the Father. It is a church where Jesus' Great Commission (Mark 16: 15-18)is taken seriously; where signs and wonders abound and souls are brought to Jesus. This is my daily experience of Riverside Church.
Timothy, think of me, like C.S.Lewis said, as being in the same house as you, just a different room. You and I are for Jesus so as members of the Body of Christ, we can't be against each other.
We both believe in the Trinity, the Virgin birth, that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life; we believe in the power of Jesus' death and ressurection to save us, and that He will come again. That's quite a lot in common, brother!
I liked your profile description where you state you are a Christian in a Bible-believing Catholic parish. I wouldn't try to disuade you from that. As you can see from my links, I'm a big supporter of the Catholic charismatic group, Flame Ministries, as well as another, Cor et Lumen Christi. Material from both these groups carries an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat - and as an Evangelical, I'm delighted to read and promote them.
I invite you to take a look at their websites and materials. As was stated by a leading Vatican priest (sorry, I forget his name) at the 40th celebrations of Charismatic renewal Mass in Rome before Pope Benedict: "The Charismatic movement is not a movement of the church, but a movement for the Church."
Amen!

Blessings

James

3:23 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Taylor said...

May this practice never leave the body of Christ. The Spirit has the power to do what thearapy struggles to do: heal and make whole.

2:26 PM  

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