Chapter 6 Forgiveness Of Sin
There are only two means of having sin removed. The first is Baptism and the second is the Sacrament of Penance. John 20:23 teaches that Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to the apostles, and that it was then passed on to other bishops and priests.
Baptism is always mentioned in Scripture as something that comes after repentance and faith. No where does God indicate that Baptism secures pardon for sins.
If Jesus gave the apostles power to forgive sins in John 20:23, and the Holy Spirit was faithful in His work of explaining to the Apostles what Jesus meant (Jn 14:26), the logical question is: Why were the Apostles not recorded as having heard Confessions in the Book of Acts? Also, where is there any scriptural indication that this supposed power was passed on?
Why was there no outcry at the institution of penance, centuries before 1215. Origen and Cyprian were two of the writers who taught forgiveness by a priest in the sacrament of penance.
Although some erring Church Fathers taught penance in early years, it was not contained in Conciliar decree until 1215. The Waldenses whose Noble Lesson pre-dates that, were very explicitly against the sacrament of penance, as are all true Christians, many of whom were martyred before they could speak, or whose statements were conveniently obliterated from history by Roman Catholics.
The Catholic system of forgiveness has a number of advantages. (1) it is the way Christ wanted it; (2) a Catholic learns humility, (3), the Catholic receives sacramental graces and (4) he is assured that his sins are forgiven; he does not have to rely on feeling.
Note the "advantages" of the Catholic system.
(1) You say it is the way Christ wanted it, but you cannot prove that any Apostle of Christ heard confessions.
(2) You say a Catholic learns humility in this way. But humility is not a saving virtue, and can have no impact whatsoever on an unconverted person. A humble sinner will go to hell just as quickly as a proud sinner - what is needed is not humility, but a response to the Gospel of Christ.
(3) You say the Catholic receives sacramental graces, but the only means of salvation is application of the infinite merits of Christ to the heart of an unbeliever, and that is only received at true conversion.
(4) You say a Catholic is assured his sins are forgiven, but there is no true authority that gives him this assurance. If he thinks himself assured because the Church says he is forgiven, the Church has told him a lie, and he is far worse off because he is trusting something for his salvation that has no biblical base.
Also, what about temporal punishment? It is of real concern to a Catholic. Even after eternal punishment has been supposedly removed, there remains unsatisfied temporal punishment which must be remitted in this life or in purgatory before one can enter Heaven.
It is the sacrament of penance through which we are reconciled to God.
Our rule is to see what God's Word says about this.
Eph 2:16: "that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross . . ."
Col 1:20: "having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself."
Rom 5:10: "we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son."
Heb 2:17: "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
II Cor 5:19-21: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation - we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."