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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

122- Priests The Authority To Absolve And To Guide

 

St-Takla.org Image: Coptic Confession, a priest and a man confessing his sins, artwork by Sis. Sawsan صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: سر التوبة والاعتراف، كاهن قبطي ورجل يعترف بخطاياه، رسم تاسوني سوسن

St-Takla.org Image: Coptic Confession, a priest and a man confessing his sins, artwork by Sis. Sawsan.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: سر التوبة والاعتراف، كاهن قبطي ورجل يعترف بخطاياه، رسم تاسوني سوسن.

[5] The Authority To Absolve And To Guide

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

How can such authority disappear with the death of the apostles? Is it fair for only a single generation to enjoy such blessings of forgiveness, guidance, etc.? Certainly not.

The authority to absolve and to bind, is essential, not only for forgiveness of sin, but also for the day to day running of the Church affairs, especially legislative matters, in line with God’s Scriptures.

Limiting the authority to the apostolic era would have left the Church leaderless after the lapse of such era. Should we have suspend order, legislation and left the laity in a quandary about good and evil, right and wrong?

Every generation is usually confronted with new issues which require a religious opinion in it. Such problems need authorised clergy to legislate and to enforce the legislation:

(Mal 2:7) "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

(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.

The Church of God must be a leader in order and organisation:

(1 Cor 14:40) Let all things be done decently and in order.

One way of doing things decently and in order, is for the bishop to investigate and direct, as was the practice with Saint Paul:

(1 Cor 11:34) But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

He also told Titus his disciple:

(Titus 1:5) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you;

Here we observe that the apostolic authority granted to Saint Paul by the Lord was dutifully handed over to his successor Titus.


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