Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 10, 1951

Confession? -- Ask The Man Who Goes There

R. D. Simmons, Corpus Christi, Texas

(Editor's Note: The Knights of Columbus propaganda advertisements in newspapers and magazines have attracted much attention. Gospel preachers over the country, and loyal congregations of Christians, have done much to counteract these false representations. We give herewith one of the Catholic articles, and the reply made to it by brother R. D. Simmons of Corpus Christi. Both the Knights of Columbus article and the reply were paid advertisements in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.)

The Catholic Article

Catholics go to Confession to a priest for one reason only: to obtain divine forgiveness for their sins.

By why, you ask, go to a priest? Why not confess our sins directly to God?

Ask the man who goes to Confession and here's what he will tell you: Sin is an offense against God, it must be forgiven by God... It is God, not man, who determines how forgiveness must be obtained. Christ plainly pointed this out when He empowered His apostles and their successors to forgive sins or to refuse forgiveness.

"Whose sins you shall forgive," Christ said, "they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (John 20:21:23) Thus Christ authorized the apostles, and their successors, to pardon or to deny pardon as they judged the sinner worthy or unworthy. To do this they had to know that they were forgiving . . . the secret dispositions of the sinner... his sorrow and willingness to repair the wrong done to his neighbor by his sins. Who could make this known but the sinner himself—and what is this but Confession?

But Confession — the Sacrament of Penance — is only one of the seven Sacraments Christ left in His church. Yes, seven—no more and no less! Christ's religion is not merely a message to be accepted, but a life to be lived—from the cradle to the grave. Christ's seven Sacraments are the answer to man's seven basic needs.

Man is born, but he needs to be reborn a Christian in the Sacrament of Baptism. He is nourished, but he needs Christian nourishment in Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He grows, but he needs to grow and be strengthened in Christian life by the Sacrament of Confirmation. He is cured of disease, but he needs a remedy for sin, so destructive of Christian life, and this he finds. in the Sacrament of Penance.

Man lives in society which needs officials to promote the common good—and for his life in the church, he finds officials provided by the Sacrament of Orders. He perpetuates the human race in marriage, which Christ made the Sacrament of Matrimony. And at death, he needs consolation and strength for the last dread hour which he finds in the Last Anointing—the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.

Would you like to know more about each of the seven Sacraments? How they can help you to meet the seven basic needs of your life? Then write today for a free pamphlet which gives important information concerning them. Ask for Pamphlet No. 5-N.

Knights of Columbus


The Christian Answer

We are thankful for our great country of America and for the freedoms granted to ice people. America where friends and neighbors of differing faiths may present their differences with mutual respect. THE BIBLE IS RIGHT—Dear Reader, take your Bible and see whether these things are so.

"Catholics go to Confession to a priest for one reason only: to obtain divine forgiveness for their sins." (Quoted from a recent advertisement by Knights of Columbus.) The members of the church of Christ oppose Confession to the priest for the following reasons:

1. The apostle, Peter, declares that every Christian is a priest. I Peter 2:5.

2. Jesus Christ is our High Priest—and "makes reconciliation for the sins of the people." Heb. 2:17; Heb. 3:1; Heb. 4:14-16. (Note—come to Christ's throne of grace to obtain mercy—not man's.)

3. We realize that under the old law priests offered up sacrifices for their sins and the sins of the people; but Christ made one sacrifice, HIMSELF, for our sins. Read Heb. 7:23-28. V. 25—Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us. We need no other intercessor. Heb. 8:1-2; Heb. 9:11-12.

4. Read I John 1:6-10 and 2:1-2. Today we (Christians) confess our sins to God (not to a priest) and God forgives us. Under Old Testament people of Israel confessed to God (I Kings 8:33-34) and priests made atonement. (Leviticus 5:5-13) Priests today do riot make atonement by offering sacrifices. Christ is our atonement and no other sacrifices are necessary. Therefore, we have no need for the priests as they had under the old law. Christ is our atonement. (Rom. 5:11)

5. Our advocate is Jesus Christ and he is the propitiation for our sins. Heb. 9:15 says, "and for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament . . ." And Paul says, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." If we confess our sins to God through a priest then Christ is left out. If first through the priest then through Christ, that is two mediators—which is one too many.

6. There is no Scripture instructing us to confess our sins to a priest, Peter, or any other apostles.

(a) There is no Scripture that shows that there were to be any successors to Peter or any other apostle.

(b) If men were authorized to succeed Peter or other apostles we would not have to confess our sins for him to be conscious of them. Read Acts 5:1-11. Here a man and his wife conspired to lie (not confess but lie). Peter, guided by the Holy Spirit, knew of their sin without them admitting it. If men were in Peter's office and had his power today, they would know the sins of the flock without their confession.

This is our answer to the question, "who could make this known but the sinner himself . . .?" God made it known to Peter upon this occasion. Pray to God through Christ, confess your sins, repent of them, and ask God to forgive you. This is the Bible way.

Friends, read your Bible. Forsake religious error of all kinds. Questions on Bible matters may be mailed to us. We are ready to engage in private or public discussion with any church leader.