Tuesday, May 18, 2004

John 20:21-23

He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

(John 20:21-23)

How do Protestants interpret this verse? I have never heard a Protestant explanation. I'm interested in hearing what they are.


Blogger Mad Hatter said...

What are the chances that your one post was on my birthday? Just trying to make it sound interesting.

February 8, 2005 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Christina the Astonishing said...

As another Catholic, I have discussed this point with many a lay Protestant. The general consensus seems to be that Jesus gave the authority to anyone who preaches in his name and holds his word (the Prot Bible) as inerrant, etc. They hold that the Catholic Church is so deplorable (the whore of Babylon spoken of in Revelations) that she cannot possibly be speaking the word of God and therefore cannot have the authority of God. One Independent (re: extreme) Baptist publication I know of even goes so far as to say that the Baptist religion was founded with those words and the apostles, while the Catholic Church is a sect that sprang up (coinciding with the Great Schism). Looking forward to hearing more from you!

May 17, 2005 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Joseph G8S said...

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May 31, 2005 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger La Bona said...

A very well written blog. Keep it up ...

Hi there

Apologies for posting an off topic question here.

I am inviting your views on ABORTION in order to present a case to help those in the developing world.

I personally see abortion as a NECESSARY EVIL and that unwanted pregnancy is not only a personal problem and it is also a very real problem for the society at large.

Do you think it is right to burden say a 15 years old school-going girl with a new life when she is yet to have any economic mean to sustain herself and obviously, most girls of her age are not mentally ready for a family life. Furthermore, is it fair to rob her of her career, aspiration, dream etc., in the name of preserving a life that is yet to be fully developed?

If you have an opinion, please email it to me at divinetalk@gmail.com or if you wish, you may post your comment here: Your Opinion Counts!

La Bona

June 30, 2005 at 10:53 AM  
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July 24, 2005 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Just wanted to post a response to the person asking if it was fair for a 15 year old girl to have to bring a baby into the world and give up a life of school and career, etc.

Well, my older sister was 15 when she got pregnant. She went on to the have the baby, put her up for adoption with a great family and even managed to go on with her life. In fact, the experience forever changed her, brought her out of some very self-destructive behavior and she went on to marry, have two sons and a very successful career as a nurse. And she does not regret for a second that decision.

So to answer your, question: yeah. Life begets life.

Oh, great blog by the way! Keep it up

August 4, 2005 at 8:00 PM  
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Blogger Paul said...

I love the blog name.

God Bless

October 2, 2005 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I think that the problem here is not whether one is protestant or catholic it is whether they can come together.
Disagreeing over petty arguements is a thing that hinders relationships and growth. Overall, the only thing that matters is whether we believe Jesus saved us from certain hell and we are born again in the faith we have in him. And by being born again we acheive great things and do good works that would otherwise be pointless without a relationship with him.

so i encourage you to look past differences and love your neighbor, thank you.

October 4, 2005 at 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Doug said...

In answer to your question, I read John 20:21-23 as a commission given to His disciples - the ones right in front of him - not to any one else. The apostles are founders of the church and therefore receive the authority to declare God's judgment on sins.

I really don't see how the simplest reading of the verse supports either side - Protestant or Roman.

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April 29, 2006 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Ron Kempen said...

My website http://www.freewebs.com/gospellightmin/
has my answer to your Question in Article #5 - Isolating Scriptures - Another of Satan's Schemes - where I say the following - 1) - John 20:23 - "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." Based upon this statement, along with the "binding and loosing" given in Matthew 18, we see the misconception among those who claim their priest or pastor is able to forgive those that come to him. However, using the complete Bible to let Scripture interpret itself, we find that only God can forgive sins, as even the Pharisees knew this (Mark 2:7). And our sins are or aren't forgiven based upon John 3:36 - "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." So the disciples, having spent three years learning from Jesus, they knew His ways, could now preach and teach to others. As other people heard and believed, they were saved (Ephesians 1:13,14). The disciples could tell if anyone was or wasn't a follower based upon what that individual beliefs were by what they did and said, "... for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. ..... For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:34-37). Thus, the disciples could inform others of whether or not their sins were forgiven based upon whether or not they were believers. One more point here to realize God is in control, not man. For man to have the power to forgive sins, then God would be under man's control.

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May 3, 2006 at 4:23 AM  
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Blogger WhiteBadger said...

God only can forgive sins, and Christ being God, has a power to do likewise; but he never communicated any such power to his apostles; nor did they ever assume any such power to themselves, or pretend to exercise it; it is the mark of antichrist, to attempt anything of the kind; who, in so doing, usurps the divine prerogative, places himself in his seat, and shows himself as if he was God: but this is to be understood only in a doctrinal, or ministerial way, by preaching the full and free remission of sins, through the blood of Christ, according to the riches of God's grace, to such as repent of their sins, and believe in Christ; declaring, that all such persons as do so repent and believe, all their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake: and accordingly,
they are remitted unto them; in agreement with Christ's own words, in his declaration and commission to his disciples; see Mark 16:16. On the other hand he signifies, that whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained: that is, that whatsoever sins ye declare are not forgiven, they are not forgiven; which is the case of all final unbelievers, and impenitent sinners; who dying without repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel declaration, shall be damned, and are damned; for God stands by, and will stand by and confirm the Gospel of his Son, faithfully preached by his ministering servants; and all the world will sooner or later be convinced of the validity, truth, and certainty, of the declarations on each of these heads, made by them.

June 20, 2006 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger WhiteBadger said...

And, by the by, in response to "ryan" ...

It does matter what one believes. Doctrine is not simply an ambiguous matter which should be relegated to the back shelves of Christianity.
The Greek term didache means instruction or teaching, such as in John 7:16: "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me," and he goes on to say in verse 17: "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Acts 2:42 shows that the newly baptized on Pentecost "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine." These verses alone would place such significance on doctrine that it would take a careless Christian to say that didache in unimportant in any respect.
Then there are those instructions of Paul to Timothy: "By laying these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Jesus Christ, being fed with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which you have followed (1 Tim. 4:6), and in verse 13 he tells him: "Until I come, pay attention to reading, to comforting and to teaching (doctrine)." This would not only make doctrine important but vitally important.

June 20, 2006 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger nonezoner said...

I am a Lutheran, and probably a strange mixture of high church stuff (I go to confession at a Lutheran church once a month) and slightly to the left--a bit more than official teaching of the ELCA.
I am O.K. with seven sacraments, but that also depends on how much heirarchy is in place, usually. I go for the old order of the office of "pastor or priest" is the one who should be giving the absolution...however, if you are to look at the website for the Apostolic Lutheran Church, you will see that they believe that any Christian can do the forgiveness as if from God.

When I go to confession, the pastor makes it clear every time that I am not confessing to him, but to God and that he does not do the forgiving, God does the forgiving. Lutherans do study Luther's Small Catechism where it teaches us the teaching of the "Office of the Keys" which is related to this passage, but I think is taken from the parallel version in Matthew.

July 9, 2006 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger catholicwriter said...

Wow, all this on one passage! I myself tend to view Christ's words in Mark 9:40 as a reflection of how we should not only respond, but love others: "For whoever is not against us is for us." If we spent more time loving as Christ taught us to do, perhaps we would spend less time cutting down other faiths and more time establishing peace. I was a protestant fundamentalist, and now am a Catholic. I learned about the need for reflecting Christ's peace and love in Catholicism. [For the complete story around the verse, please read Mark 9:38-41]

October 21, 2006 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Secundus said...

I am a Protestant--a Methodist. I am not a "Catholic Basher" or a "Fundamentalist". I do NOT believe that the Catholic Church is the "Whore of Babylon" as one poster suggested that some of my Protestant bretheren think.

For the most part Protestants have interpreted this passage as being a statement about the heavy responsibility on the shoulders of those who preach the Gospel of Christ. Those who hear the gospel and respond with repentance and faith in Christ are forgiven. But many people will perish having never HEARD the message of Grace and will NOT be forgiven. We who are the Messenger's of the Gospel, who are charged with carrying the Power of God Unto Salvation to those who have never heard are RESPONSIBLE to see that ALL NATIONS hear the Good News of God's Grace in Jesus Christ.

Some Protestants, however have suggested that perhaps the Apostles themselves had a UNIQUE authority to forgive sins. If such a unique authority existed, however, there is NO evidence that such authority could be passed on to later generations of Church leaders.

While I recognize the importance of Apostolic Succession in establishing and maintaining theological and institutional continuity, I do not find any indication in the Scriptures that the unique nature of the Apostolic Office was intended to, or ever COULD be transferred to later generations. Theirs was a FOUNDATIONAL office with SPECIFIC and UNIQUE qualifications which later generations could not, by the very nature of the office, meet. An Apostle had to be with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry and had to be a witness of the Resurrection. The only exception seems to have been Saul (Paul), who was a defacto witness of the Resurrected Christ in the appearance of the Risen Christ to him on the Road to Damascus.

I also do not believe that Apostolic Succession is a GUARANTEED safeguard against encroaching error. Each generation in Apostolic Succession leaves their own mark on the Traditions of the Church. Over the centuries and millenia, teachings have evolved and changed--slowly, but certainly. I believe the only RELIABLE and UNCHANGED repository of Truth over the many Centuries is the Bible. Of course, as I said, I am a Protestant, and you would EXPECT me to say that. But I believe, as a student of HISTORY and of THEOLOGY, that this is true.

Anyway, that is my two cents worth.

Your Fellow Seeker,
(visit my blog at:http://yourfellowseeker.blogspot.com/)

January 3, 2007 at 11:36 AM  
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