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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

81- Confession to a priest as a scriptural principal in the New Testament

 

New Testament Evidence

[7] The Practice Of Confessing To The Priest Continued To The New Testament.

We see that the Lord Jesus granting the authority to forgive, firstly to Saint Peter then to all the disciples and apostles.

(Mat 16:19) "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

(Mat 18:18) "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

[8] Some Incorrect Interpretations To This Clear Priestly Authority

In an attempt to dilute this clear authority, some Evangelical commentators devise a bazaar theory, claiming that such authority was granted to enable the disciples to allow people to partake of prohibited foodstuff such as pork

Such teachings are not at all scriptural but rather, self interpretation of people, who at any cost, would like to deny the obvious.

St-Takla.org Image: Saint Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius (1709), oil on canvas, by Francesco Trevisani صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة القديس الشهيد بطرس الرسول يعمد كرنيسليوس قائد المئة، عماد كارنيليوس، لوحة زيتية على قماش، الفنان فرانشيسكو تريفيساني، 1709

St-Takla.org Image: Saint Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius (1709), oil on canvas, by Francesco Trevisani

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة القديس الشهيد بطرس الرسول يعمد كرنيسليوس قائد المئة، عماد كارنيليوس، لوحة زيتية على قماش، الفنان فرانشيسكو تريفيساني، 1709

(Mat 16:17-18) Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. {18} "And I also

say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Is it logical to think that Saint Peters reward for confessing the divinity of Christ, was an authority to allow people to eat pork!?

And who said that the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven were in eating pigs?

Even Saint Peter never understood this to be so, nor did the apostles.

In the record of the baptismal of Cornelios, we see that Saint Peter argued against eating the defiled food that was offered to him in the vision, instructing the Church to accept the Gentiles.

(Acts 10:14) But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

By saying I have never eaten any thing common It is obvious that Saint Peter was never under such incorrect misapprehension about the authority to absolve.

The permission to eat, was thrice granted by God:

(Acts 10:15) And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

It is obvious that Saint Peter understood clearly that this was an instruction from God to accept the Gentiles.

It was enough to record in writing the permission to eat.

(Col 2:16) So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

It would be futile to assume that the Keys to the Kingdom lies in granting the apostles the power and sending them to traverse the globe, for the single purpose of granting people permission to eat pork

[9] The Lord Coined The Definition For The Power To Absolve

(John 20:22,23) " Receive the Holy Spirit . "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Here we see a clear definition of authority, without reference to pigs.

Our fathers the apostles understood the correct meaning and exercised their authority, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. It is obvious that the Lords utterance in John 20:23 complements (Matthew 16:19) and (Matthew 18:18).

[10] It Is Also Scriptural That The Disciples Exercised Their Authority Accepting Peoples Confessions

(Acts 19:18) And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.

How dare the pillars of the Church, the apostles, accept peoples confessions if such was a divine right limited to God?

[11] If Receiving Confession Is An Exclusive Divine Right, So How Did Saint James Say:

(James 5:16) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

To Confess your trespasses to one another means humans to humans, which also supports that confession is not exclusive to God. Saint Augustine also said that the humans who receive confessions i.e the priests, must be empowered to do so,. He used the analogy of teaching one another. It goes without saying that the learned teach the unlearned, as it is not possible for the ignorant to teach an ignorant.

While, it may be possible for a person to confess to another, the appropriate thing is to confess to the priest, who has the position of fatherhood, power to forgive and a canonical obligation not to divulge confessions to any one.

[13] Confession of people, is in no way robbery to the God's divine rights.

One confesses to God in the presence of a priest ear, or in another way, we say that the sinner condemns himself, before God, in the presence of the priest.

So the priest is not independent from God, but authorised as Gods vicar to carry out this important task.

(Titus 1:7) For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

I like a quote in this context the statement by Joshua to Achan:

(Josh 7:19) Now Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me."

[14] When You Confess To A Lay Person He May Reconcile You To himself Or he may give you guidance. But He can never Grant You Absolution

Absolution is for the priest only.

(Mat 18:18) "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

(John 20:23) "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

So the confessor, leaves the priest confident of being absolved of his sins.

Such confidence and surety emanates from the divine promise and from the power granted to His priests.


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