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7 years ago  ::  Aug 17, 2011 - 11:29AM #1
Posts: 48

Why do most protestant denominations, like lutheranism, reject confession, like the sacrament of confession in the Roman Catholic Church?

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 17, 2011 - 7:08PM #2
Posts: 401

Aug 17, 2011 -- 11:29AM, steve wrote:

Why do most protestant denominations, like lutheranism, reject confession, like the sacrament of confession in the Roman Catholic Church?

Well, we have only two sacraments, baptism and communion, compared to Catholicism's 7 sacraments, but I think this may be partly due to definition of the word 'sacrament'.  We don't account marriage as a sacrament, but that doesn't mean we don't have marriages.  The same goes for ordination and confirmation. Though it's less common, we can also partake in unction (annointing with oil) and individual confession.  Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the most recent ELCA hymnal, includes a rite of individual confession.  I found this about it:

I would say though, that few Lutherans take advantage of individual confession, and if they do, it is probably rare, and for sins they feel particularly burdened by.  It's not really for weekly confession.

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 18, 2011 - 12:45AM #3
Posts: 352

Lutherans hold that in order for an act to be a sacrament, it had to be instituted by Christ, and it has to have an earthly element.  Thus: Baptism has the element of water.  The Lord's supper has bread and wine.

Some Lutherans do argue that Confession can be considered a sacrament.  All Lutherans agree it is a means of grace.  We would agree it is sacramental.

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 18, 2011 - 10:18AM #4
Posts: 77

Isn't the principle difference between Lutherans and the RC on this issue the RC practice of penance?

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2011 - 12:45AM #5
Posts: 352

Good point, always interested.  Melancthon addressed the issue of penance in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession.  He points out that penance--or satisfactions, as he called it, is unnecessary because our sins are remitted for the sake of Christ.  To expect penance smacks of good works which denies the full grace we receive in Christ.

That is not to say our lives should not change into a more God pleasing life.  For someone to steal, confess and receive absolution, only to steal again denies what they had just received.  But to confess, receive absolution and be open to the changing power of the Holy Spirit is a part of sanctification.  As the tax collector, when he came to belief in Christ, he would return all that he had stolen, so as we grow in faith our lives change to be more like Christ in what we do.

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2011 - 1:07PM #6
Posts: 172

Lutherans do not reject confession. The standard Lutheran order of worship includes a rite of collective confession and absolution. This is usually part of worship every Sunday. There are also many Lutheran congregations that offer people the opportunity for private confession and absolution either on a scheduled basis, or whenever anyone requests it. There are far too many Lutherans out there who weren't educated about confession, and who aren't aware that private confession is part of the Lutheran faith tradition.

Open your copy of the Book of Concord to the Augsburg Confession, and look up article XI.

Article XI: Of Confession.

1] Of Confession they teach that Private Absolution ought to be retained in the churches, although in confession 2] an enumeration of all sins is not necessary. For it is impossible according to the Psalm: Who can understand his errors?

Since you're a Lutheran, you do have a copy of the Book of Concord, right? If you don't, you can look it up here.

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7 years ago  ::  Sep 07, 2011 - 2:20PM #7
Posts: 610

As other's have stated, at least as the green book is concerned, there is a corporate confession in the liturgy.  There is also the thinking that one can confess directly to the Father through Jesus Christ - the one mediator between God and man.

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7 years ago  ::  Sep 08, 2011 - 11:34PM #8
Posts: 352

There are times, though, when it is good that another human being hears the confession.  AA people learned that decades ago.  In thier fourth step they are encouraged to make a fearless moral inventory.  The fifth step is to confess your short comings to God (as you understand God) and another human being.  I have had the opportunity to do hear some of these confessions.  It is very powerful to be able to announce the grace of God for past wrongs.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 06, 2012 - 10:06PM #9
Posts: 2

The greater emphasis (in theory if not so much in practice) that Roman Catholicism places on confession than Lutheranism wasn't the case in Luther's day. Indeed, the new Lutheran movement placed more emphasis than the papacy on confession and absolution by allowing for its occurrence not just in a sacramental encounter with a priest, but in everyday conversation between laymen. The open, public absolution that an earlier poster mentioned was also one of the options during the Reformation, and became the favorite for many because it permitted people to obtain forgiveness for their sins without the embarassing and awkward visit to the confessional where it would all be spelled out. Ultimately, the Offene Schuld became the only residual form of absolution practiced in most Lutheran churches.

I was raised in the Laestadian Lutheran Church, which holds to a very conservative, sectarian form of Lutheranism in which absolution (and to a lesser extent, confession) is still important. Having long been troubled by certain aspects of my inherited faith, I spent over a year researching it and writing a book about it. (That's on top of a lot of earlier Luther study.) Section 5.4.2 of that book may be of interest to people here, as it goes into considerable depth about confession and absolution at the time of the Reformation, and Luther's attitudes on that topic.

It's important to note, however, that the whole idea of confessing sins to another person and hearing a proclamation of absolution is actually a fairly late development in Christianity. When Luther came on the scene, it had only been a few centuries since the Fourth Lateran Council that made annual confession a requirement, which shows how little interest the average Christian had in the whole thing. I discuss this little-known history in Section 5.1.2.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 06, 2012 - 10:46PM #10
Posts: 11,795


Why do most Protestant Denominations, like Lutheranism,
reject "confession",
like the "Sacrament of Confession" in the Roman Catholic Church?

steve123 #7
There is also the thinking (doctrine) that
 one can confess directly to the Father through Jesus Christ
- the one mediator between God and Man.

My non-denminational VIEWS based solely on the Bible:

The word "confess" occurs 20 times in 20 verses in the NASB.

The primary NT Koine Greek meaning:
G3670  homologeo  (ho-mo-lo-ge'-o)  ~=confess, profess, promise, give thanks, confession is made, acknowledgeth

These verses (NASB) imply no necessity of a human intermediary or special mystic procedure.

Psalm 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to You, (confession is agreeing with God!)
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said,"I will confess my transgressions to the LORD";
And You forgave the guilt of my sin....

Romans 10:9
...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and
believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved;...

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, (fellow believer, not clergy?)
and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, (to God)
He (God) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering ,
for He who promised is faithful;

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