John 20:23 is used as a proof text for the Sacrament of Penance, where the

priest gives absolution for sins.


This verse must be taken in context. In verse 21, Jesus is commissioning

His disciples to do the work they accomplished in Acts. When we compare

this commission with Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15 and Luke 24:47, we see

that the emphasis was upon proclaiming the Gospel, and each item mentioned

was actually recorded as having been done by one of the Apostles in the

Book of Acts (with the exception of drinking something deadly).

We conclude that the Roman Catholic interpretation is wrong because the

context shows this was a commission to preach the Gospel, which is what

they did. There is no record of any of the Apostles hearing Confession in

the Book of Acts.

The use of the strong words remit and retain indicates the absolute

authority of an Ambassador for Christ. We can positively state that if one

responds to this message his sins are remitted; if one rejects, he is still

in his sins.

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