Interpretation… ‘has made all the difference’

Q. Where in the Bible does it say that a leader of a church can forgive anyone of sin?

James 5:13-16

He should call the elders (priests) of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And
the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord
will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore
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.

Q. In James 5:13-20 he is saying share with each other your faults and concerns
and yes even your sins. But that does not mean I can forgive you of that sin.

A. Correct. You cannot because you are not a Catholic priest.

Q. Only God thru Jesus can forgive sin.

A. Incorrect. Jesus gave His apostles the authority to forgive sin IN HIS NAME.

John 20:19

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, …As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said,”Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, theyre forgiven;if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus gave His disciples a special gift of the Holy Spirt (before Pentecost) to
empower them for the sacrament of Confession. This is how the Catholic Church
interprets or reads this passage.

Protestants will explain away this Catholic understanding by interpreting it differently. But the truth is the words of Scripture must be read and interpreted or lead to an understanding. Scripture is not always literal but sometimes it is.

Who determines when to be literal or not? You? Me? Your pastor? My pastor? or the Church founded by Jesus Christ? The only Church with apostolic succession for 2000 years? I know I am not infallible. And I seriously doubt you think you are infallible.

Then who decides what the scriptures really mean when we do not all agree on what they are saying? (And we all do agree on most of them)

Q.Why wouldn’t Jesus have told everyone, “oh keep on sinning then hit the
priest for confessionand start all over again.
We always want the easy way out.

A. Dealing with your last comment, first…Going to confession to a priest is
not the “easy way out.”
Protestants have dumped the sacrament and it’s grace in
exchange for what is the really easy way out. Protestants just ask Jesus to forgive them
for their sins. They are not even required to name their particular sins. There is only a vague, admission that “I am a sinner.” Just a blanket confession. There is no examination of conscience, no nightly confession of daily sins, no actual need to even think about them again unless they are really bad. Thus, it is more difficult to grow in holiness for Protestants. Of course this is a generalization, so there are exceptions.

Any Catholic who goes to confession without true sorrow and repentance for sin, a desire not to do it again, may fool the priest but they cannot fool God. They DO NOT RECEIVE absolution for sin even if they did succeed in fooling the priest. For the sacremental confession to be valid contrition and repentance must be present.

I do not understand why you would think that going to a priest for confession somehow involves such flippancy on the part of Catholics? Why do you think that confession automatically means we think we can just, “keep on sinning then hit the priest for confession and start all over again”

Doesn’t this strike you as a bit uncharitable?

Q. The Jewish people were saying one thing and doing something else.
The church had even gotten into the act. They were living as if they did not know
who God was or even cared.

A. What scripture do you think says in James– The church had even gotten into the act. They were living as if they did not know who God was or even cared.?

Q. When he told Peter the Gates of hell will not prevail, means that no matter what Satan tries to do, he can never defeat the followers of Christ.

A. Are you aware that this is your interpretation because of your prior Protestant beliefs? Because in context, Jesus says to Peter,

You are Rock and on this rock I will build MY Church and the Gates of Hell will not overcome IT.

The pronoun IT refers to His Church.

Q. We have already won. Satan just wants to take as many with him as possible.

A. Agreed.

Q. The Church is the people,you and me. Followers of Christ ARE the Church! Not
some denomination.
A. No. The Church that Jesus founded 2000 years ago is the Catholic Church. All of the Protestant denominations broke away; first from the Catholic Church and then
from each other (other Protestant groups). There are not many Churches. Jesus only founded ONE CHURCH. There are Ecclesial Communities of Christians(usually called denominations.These are our separated brethren of the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, APOSTOLIC, CHURCH. All of them were founded by men without any signs or wonders to authenticate them as founded in the will of God.

Q. It is not just the Catholics, or just the Nazarenes, or just
the Baptist and so forth.
It is the ones who have accepted Christ as personal
Lord and Savior.

A. We are all a part of the Body of Christ by virtue of our Baptism. Yes! And His Body is the ONE TRUE CHURCH.

Q. Not every Catholic,Nazarene, Babtist is going to heaven.

A. Unfortunately that is probably true.

Q. When the Church is raptured lots of so called Christians will be left and asking, but I was good, I went to church, I fed the poor. What about me?

A. I don’t believe in the pre-trib rapture, never did…even as a Protestant. That belief has only been around for about 100 years. But I do agree that Matthew 7:21 is one of the most sobering passages in Sacred Scripture.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons
and perform many miracles
?’23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’


9 Responses

  1. All Protestants lack true faith in Christ, for if they had true faith in Christ, they would follow the Church He established. That is why it is important to bring all apologetic discussions to the Church. If Christ founded a single Church that is visible and can’t err in matters of faith and morals, then it is important that we be apart of it.

    This is an exchange at my own blog:

    Me: “When I look at the branches of Christianity, I see complete disorder on the side of Protestants. No one agrees on anything; everyone has a different list of what is essential.”

    Russ: “Who told you to choose a church? God never tells us to choose a church, He tells us to come to a Savoir. When a person comes to Christ, they are filled with His Spirit and God leads them where HE wills.”

    Me: “Jesus founded a church. He said to Peter, “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). Yet according to you, there is not a church we are to be members of.”

    Russ: “You do not become a Christian by joining a church. You become a Christian by being born again. Jesus established a church, not a denomination. The church that Jesus established transcends denominations”

    Me: “It is clear you are quite confused, for at first you say that there is no church, then when I point out the Biblican evidence of the Chruch, you backtrack and have to redefine what is meant by Church, while still ignoring the clear Biblical notion of what the Church is”

    Russ: ” I never said that [there is no church]– perhaps I did not communicate clearly and for that I apologize. The church is made up of those who are born of the Spirit of God, not any particular denomination. ”

    Me: “The Bible tells us that the Church is the “pillar and ground of truth” (1 Tim 3:15). How can the church as you describe it fit this if they don’t agree on what the truth is, and if they constantly accuse the others of preaching a false gospel (just take a look at the Calvinist / Arminian debates!)? Jesus prayed that the Church be one (John 17:11). How can the church as you describe it be one, when the various denominations disagree on how we should worship, what we should believe, and so forth?

    The Catholic Church is not one denomination among many. It is the Church that Christ founded.”

  2. “The Church that Jesus founded 2000 years ago is the Catholic Church. All of the Protestant denominations broke away; first from the Catholic Church and then
    from other Protestant groups.”

    I agree that what we now call the Roman Catholic Chruch is -part- of the Church that Christ founded. However, the RCC didn’t become the RCC until the Great Schism. It is here that the RCC split from the Church and went one way, while the rest of the Church became known as the Orthodox Chruch and continued forward.

    500 years later we have the Reformation and another group splitting from Roman Catholicism to become known as the Protestants.

  3. Zacharias it is difficult to accept that the Great Schism of the Greek Church was the foundation of a split that defines Rome as the RCC – an Assyrian or Oriental Orthodox would turn around and say that “the west” (and from where they stand that includes the Byzantine Empire) split off from Orthodoxy after Chalcedon.

  4. When then would you say the Roman Catholic Church became the ‘Roman Catholic Church” then? I don’t believe it was specifically referred to as that before the Great Schism (which wasn’t actually the defining time that the people recognized the schism of course).

    And the Non-Chalcedonian schism is another matter entirely 😛

  5. Zacharias,

    The Roman Catholic Church was called the Catholic Church in the first century b/c we have

    Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church(Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 Ignatius of Antioch; 110 A.D. ).

    The adjective catholic is not introduced as if it were a brand new idea but as if taken for granted that all will understand what he is talking about. Therefore, it would seem to predate even this early writing.

    I have read that Roman was attached to Catholic Church at the time of the reformation in an attempt to create contempt for that foreign church. This helped to bolster the independent, local and national Protestant “churches”.

    Of course an Orthodox would want to see that the Catholic Church split off from the True Church but we see it as otherwise, since the Eastern church split off from the Bishop of Rome the ancient see of Peter and the universally acknowledged seat of final authority in the Church.

    Orthodox Churches, btw I believe are considered churches rather than ecclesial communities b/c they retain valid orders and a valid Eucharist.

  6. What BFHU said!

  7. @bfhu:

    I think we’re using the same word in two different contexts… before the Great Schism, the East and the West were both the “Catholic” church, in that it was the Universal Church.

    And as far as who split from who, you’re right, it’s always going to be matter of perspective I guess. Though it was the Vatican’s emmissary who first laid a bull of excommunication againt the East (I’m not -too- familiar with the specifics though, but I think I read somewhere that he did so without the explicit approval of the Vatican?).

    I don’t want to get into the issue of the Pope here, but I will say that while the East always recognized the Bishop of Rome as the “first among equals” and to some extent the final authority, he was never viewed as the sole authority by the rest of Christiandom.

    God willing, one day Christiandom will be re-united again! There’s been some progress, but only God knows if any fruit will come of it. Though, I fear that it will take some fundamental changes in attitude on the part or the West before the East will seriously consider reconcilliation.

    I think most of the differences have more to do with US as creations though, and earthly things:

    Pope: I don’t believe the East would have a problem re-recognizing him as the first among equals again. It’s his claim of absolute authority we object to, rather seeing the Church as a whole as the absolute authority. Although, for me at least, it’s understandable that due to the barbarian invasions of Europe, the Western world found a need to centralize and consolidate power in order to survive, where as with Ottoman invasions in the East, the Muslims allowed the Christians to retain their faith, even if it turned them into second class citizens.

    Filioque: I don’t think it’s so much a question of theology, though that’s a part of it, as the fact that the West made the change without consulting the East.

    Immaculate Conception: The real issue here is an understanding of Original Sin. While the West sees in Original Sin an inherited guilt that must be atoned for, the East sees only an inherited effect: death. The West’s position is due to Augustinian philosophy, and scholastic though in general, while the East sees theological matters as ultimately above human reasoning.

    At the end of the day though, we both worship the same the God, and that is what truley matters.

    +God bless, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

  8. Considering Christ insists that his community and the word church only means community/assembly would have a radically different power structure, e.g, non-power but love and service, then both ‘Churches’ show themselves to be nothing but common expressions of the will to power which was Adam’s sin. As for the comment that no Protestants have real faith in Christ, this sounds like a peculiarly Protestant comment, but ‘the Lord knows those that are his’. Oh I love your accidental spelling of a part as apart thus presenting a Freudian truth in your comment on Catholicism (a joke friend but it shows how a mere slip alters the meaning of a sentence.)

  9. Dear Philiip,
    Thanks for your opinion. I do not at all believe that “Protestants do not have a real faith in Christ’. That was another commenter’s opinion. The power of the Catholic Church does lie in love and service. When we talk about the “power and authority of the Church” we are speaking of spiritual power and authority. I am not sure where you saw the misspelling of “apart”

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