Sunday, March 08, 2015

Who Can Forgive Sins?

In response to an earlier posting about Steve Finnel, a David Smith asks a direct question which deserves an answer.  I am posting his response to a new article so that it won't be under automatic moderation.  Your comments accepted and appreciated.
Greetings.
I have no words about Mr. Finnell but your comments about him needing to find someone to submit to in order for his sins to be forgiven was to me quite shocking and disturbing. Who are these people that you speak of and how does someone find them? How many are there and not that forgiving sins is enough but do they have any other authority? Do you have any other verses besides John 20:23 that can back up this incredible statement. I am not using the word "incredible" lightly, its just so hard to believe that our salvation hinges on us finding these people and asking them for forgiveness. Never the less, let God's will be done. I look forward to your reply.
RESPONSE:
When God speaks, how many more verses do you need?  John 20:23 should suffice for all Bible believing Christians.  Those whom Jesus empowered were our first bishops, the Twelve Apostles.  Jesus, in the same context just a couple verses prior said:  "He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you." (John 20:21).  So they were to do as Jesus did, and send out others.  Therefore the authority to forgive sins falls under the jurisdiction of a bishop who is in the succession of bishops from our first bishops.  Only they, or one whom they have likewise empowered, have the authority to forgive sins.

Now, it is not up to me to determine the personal salvation of anyone - that is left to God, our Judge, but I agree with you that it certainly would appear that salvation hinges upon the valid reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), which is something you do not find at ANY Protestant church.  We I can do is present what Scripture clearly states - and that would seem to me to be in accordance with God's will be done.

AMDG,
Scott<<<

5 comments:

  1. Greetings.
    Thank you for your quick reply. I was not aware that the Catholic Church had the office of apostle. I am aware of the different Mormon sects having apostles and a few Protestant churches having them. They also use John 20:23 as proof of the existence of modern day apostles. I personally do not see how this verse proves anything other then the fact that Jesus gave this authority to the original twelve. There is no mention of the authority being passed on to others. Even if the apostles did pass it on how would we know who they are today? Mormons claim that they can prove their 12 apostles are real because they have the ability to preform miracles. Does the Catholic Church also claim this ability? If they do I have never heard of it. I will assume from your comment, "how many more verses do you need?" that John 20:23 is all that the Catholic Church apostles are based on. Can you tell me the names of any of these living apostles and how I can meet one? I met a Mormon apostle in Houston and was not impressed. I strongly believe that if there were really 12 apostles working among us, that they could clear up a great deal of confusion that is going on in the churches today. Never the less, if they are real I would be a fool to ignore them. I look forward to your reply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Differing sects might make similar claims, but none have the history to support them.

      Jesus stated He was sending them, the Apostles, out in the same way He was sent by the Father, John 20:21). Part of that "sending" included selecting apostles - so they too were sent out to select apostles. Part of that sending out included the authority to forgive and retain sins, and sins THEY did not forgive, are not forgiven; so they too, by assignment, had to pass on this authority to forgive sins. To not do these things would have been in direct disobedience to what Jesus told them to do.

      The "office" of "apostle" is also known as the "bishoprick" or "bishop" (see Acts 1:20 - esp. KJV or DRB). Every Catholic bishop today is part of that apostolic succession - they hold the office of apostle.

      Obviously, there are more than 12 Catholic bishops - but if you think about it, each of the 12 were sent out the same way, if each of them selected 12 (which they didn't) that would have been 144 bishops in the second generation, if each of those 144 selected 12, that's 1728... well, you can do the math. The point is not that they had to select 12 each, only that they had to go out and select others. Once a jurisdiction was covered, you didn't need to select more for that area.

      John 20:23 gave authority to forgive sins but John 20:21 teaches succession.

      Historically speaking you have basically two churches which have a valid claim to apostolic succession, Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

      Example: The apostolic succession of Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix (my bishop) is here:
      Bishop Eugene John Gerber (1976)
      Bishop of Wichita, Kansas
      Bishop David Monas Maloney † (1961)
      Bishop of Wichita, Kansas
      Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi † (1949)
      Titular Archbishop of Myra
      Adeodato Giovanni Cardinal Piazza, O.C.D. † (1930)
      Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina e Poggio Mirteto
      Basilio Cardinal Pompilj † (1913)
      Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri
      Antonio Cardinal Agliardi † (1884)
      Cardinal-Bishop of Albano
      Giovanni Cardinal Simeoni † (1875)
      Prefect of the Congregation for Propagation of the Faith
      Alessandro Cardinal Franchi † (1856)
      Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere
      Pope Pius IX (1827)
      (Bl. Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti †)

      Once you have a pope in the succesion, you can trace all the way back to St. Peter, and you can trace Bp. Olmsted's even further here: http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bolmsted.html (which includes a few more popes).

      Delete
    2. Greetings.
      Thank you again for your quick reply. Am I correct in thinking that you accept that this Mr. Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ as an apostle is because Mr. Gerber of Wichita, KS gave him this position? You accept this arrangement for the forgiveness of your sins? Please correct me if I am misunderstanding you. Have you met this Mr. Gerber? I find putting your hope in the correctness of this list of men quite troubling to say the least. I am not a Mormon, but their claim of having the physical proofs of the power of the Holy Spirit such as healing the sick and raising the dead, much more biblically based. After all, Jesus healed the sick to prove that He had the authority of forgive sin. If He used miracles to prove His authority it would seem that men would at least have to do the same and not claim authority from other men. I doubt that the Catholic apostles can do the same as the Mormon apostles. Your faith in these men to forgive your sins may well be misplaced. I do not accept the incredible claims of the Mormons without incredible proof any more then I would accept the notion of this power being passed down man to man. Remember common sense trumps theory. Thank you for your time and as always I look forward to hearing from you.

      Delete
    3. DS: Thank you again for your quick reply.

      SW: You are welcome.

      DS: Am I correct in thinking that you accept that this Mr. Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ as an apostle is because Mr. Gerber of Wichita, KS gave him this position?

      SW: Well, sort of. Bp. (not "Mr.") Gerber did not have this power of his own accord. The gift came from Jesus Christ, who gave it to His Apostles, our first bishops, and they in turn passed it on to others. Bp. Gerber did not "give" to Bp. Olmsted the office, he consecrated him.

      DS: You accept this arrangement for the forgiveness of your sins?

      SW: Why shouldn't I? This is what Jesus Christ put in place, let us not claim this teaching is too hard and turn away from Him.

      DS: Please correct me if I am misunderstanding you. Have you met this Mr. Gerber?

      SW: I have not met Bp. Gerber, nor do I feel like I must meet him.

      DS: I find putting your hope in the correctness of this list of men quite troubling to say the least.

      SW: Why? What reason would you, or I, have for doubting this list?

      DS: I am not a Mormon, but their claim of having the physical proofs of the power of the Holy Spirit such as healing the sick and raising the dead, much more biblically based. After all, Jesus healed the sick to prove that He had the authority of forgive sin. If He used miracles to prove His authority it would seem that men would at least have to do the same and not claim authority from other men. I doubt that the Catholic apostles can do the same as the Mormon apostles.

      SW: Have you actually seen a Mormon "bishop" heal someone, or is this just a story you've been told? That being said, their are "faith healers" in Catholicism too.

      DS: Your faith in these men to forgive your sins may well be misplaced.

      SW: My faith is in God and His Holy Word. I believe He did what He set out to do and that His followers continued the Sacred Tradition. I do not have faith in a man who claims he was told to write a book after looking at golden tablets with magic glasses. That same man taught that "as we are, God once was; as God is, we can become." (King Follett Discourse)

      DS: I do not accept the incredible claims of the Mormons without incredible proof any more then I would accept the notion of this power being passed down man to man. Remember common sense trumps theory.

      SW: It would not be "common sense" to believe Jesus Christ built a Church and no one kept it going for some 1800 years until Joseph Smith was visited by the Angel Moroni in 1823 and got him to "restart" the Church. "Common sense" would fall more in favor of the fact that Jesus empowered certain men, the Apostles, who held the office of bishop (Acts 1:20) and that those bishops were sent out to do as He did. There is no doubt, for anyone who believes the Scriptures, that men were given the authority to forgive sins - and sins they did not forgive were not forgiven. What sense would it make if that authority died with them? Why give men this authority at all if it were only for THAT generation? "Common sense" demands that there is now and always has been a Church which Jesus Christ Himself built AND that His Holy Spirit would be with that Church until He Himself returned in glory. There's no sense to an 1800 year gap in His Church, none whatsoever.

      DS: Thank you for your time and as always I look forward to hearing from you.

      SW: And I thank you for your questions. May God be with you and guide you on your path to Him.

      AMDG,
      Scott Windsor<<<

      Delete
    4. Greetings.
      Thank you again for your quick and well written reply. Please understand that I am not in any way a Mormon or have ever been a Mormon, if my post gave you that idea, I am sorry. I was using their faith in Joseph Smith and those who claim to be his successors as rather similar to your faith in the list of people who you believe can forgive your sins. They use John 20:23 as proof text as does the Catholic Church, but they use, if true, a much more powerful argument, the same argument that Jesus used in Mark 2:9. To be clear, I think that the Mormon "apostles" are not real for the same reason that I suspect the Catholic apostles are not real. Having faith that each person in your list was a real apostle makes as much sense as having faith that Joseph Smith found gold tablets in upstate New York. Neither view can be backed up by scripture.

      Delete

Keep in mind while posting:
1) Please respond ON TOPIC to the article at hand.
2) Posts more than 4 weeks old are set to automatically save new comments for moderation - so your comment may not show up immediately if you're responding to an older post.
3) The "Spam Filter" is on - and randomly messages get caught in that filter. I have no control over which messages get caught in the spam filter and those that do must wait for me to mark them as "not spam." A message caught by the spam filter may show up for a moment, making you think it posted, and then disappear. Do not assume I have deleted your comment, it's probably just the spam filter and it will show up.