The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
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The Contender
2-D
Con (against)
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forgiving sins verse in John more consistent with Catholic interpretation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/13/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 779 times Debate No: 56540
Debate Rounds (3)
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dairygirl4u2c

Pro

Here is the verse in question:
"If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." John 20:23

catholics hold that a priest has been given the authority to forgive sins. if the priest decides to not absolve the person, their sins could be said to be retained.

how would you interpret it in a way other than that? from an evangelical perspective, a person couldn 't really be said to forgive sins, but even if they could, how does said person retain sins? not spreading a message is at best withholding forgiveness, not retaining forgiveness. from a personal interaction perspective, a person doesn't have the authority to forgive sins, at least on a more objective scale, but even if they did, how does a person have the authority to retain a sin against someone? maybe on a personal level the forgiveness could retained, but the verse would lead one to believe it's being retained on a more objective scale, as with God. otherwise what is the point of telling someone they can retain forgiveness when God has forgiven them?
2-D

Con


I am playing Devil’s advocate as I am not a theist. Note that Pro has smuggled in assumptions that he has not established. There is no reason to suspect that the Catholic Priesthood is consistent with the bible. Pro has not established this and his resolution depends on it. The Evangelical position he put forward is not typical among Protestants and he has not established that it is. The interpretation is inconsistent with the rest of the bible.


Even if Pro can establish that the scripture refers to priests (more than half of Christians do not agree with the Catholic Priesthood) he has not established that the scripture refers to priests and that apostles correspond to priests.


The ‘Evangelical’ Position that Pro put forward is not typical


I do not see that Pro has accurately represented the Protestant Evangelical perspective (there are as many as there are denominations) but I will put forward one explanation for the passage that is consistent with the bible and typical.


The verse referenced by Pro is obscure and is not consistent with the rest of the bible when interpreted as Pro has. The verb tense in Greek imply that God still retains the authority to forgive sins and this is only confirmed by the apostles. The passage implies something along the lines of, “Those whose sins you forgive, have already been forgiven; those whose sins you do not forgive, have not already been forgiven[1].” The scripture is talking about the apostles being in line with God’s will and not determining it.


In context Jesus is talking to his disciples and other followers of Jesus; there is no reason to suspect that this correlates to the Catholic Priesthood. From the protestant perspective the passage is only referring to a Christian’s ability to tap into God’s will or wishes.


Men are Fallible


Romans 3:22This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”


Not only does this passage make it clear that everyone makes mistakes but it confirms that Christians are forgiven by faith in God and not by the authority of priesthood. The bible makes it very clear that all men make mistakes and would eventually forgive or retain the sin of the wrong person or make a mistake. It is not consistent with the bible to say that men would have the power to take infallible action to forgive/retain sin on God’s behalf so the forgiveness must be determined by God.


The Bible Is Very Clear That All Sins Are Forgiven for those that confess them to God


“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John 1:9


“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:28


The bible is clear that forgiveness is an expected virtue and a requirement for God to forgive you, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins,” Matthew 6:14-15. The scripture listed by Pro cannot be seen as an encouragement not to forgive others as forgiveness is expected.


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Pro presents an ‘evangelical’ position that is not common and is inconsistent with the bible. He has not established that the Catholic Priesthood is biblical or that the passage he references is referring to the priesthood.


[1] https://www.christiancourier.com...


Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

it's good to see you back 2-D. you often have great arguments.

i'm not sure why con is going on about priests, i'm not trying to establish anything specifically about their existance. all im trying to establish is that the verse is more akin to the catholic understanding, that men were given the power to forgive sins.

con argues they were merely given the ability to be in lines with God's will. why would God do that? what does it matter if they forgive, not forgiven, in line with God?
and it might be seen as kosher, pardon the religious context there, to say if you forgive, know that it's already established that they are forgiven. but what is the point in saying 'if you don't forgive, knowt hat it's establishe thatthey aren't forgiven?"

" It is not consistent with the bible to say that men would have the power to take infallible action to forgive/retain sin on God"s behalf so the forgiveness must be determined by God."

catholics do not view themselves as being able to forgive or not unless it is in accord with God's will. there's not an issue of them forgiving when God doesn't etc. forgiving by a man merely makes it official.
2-D

Con

In Con"s opening argument she clarified the resolution, "catholics hold that a priest has been given the authority to forgive sins. if the priest decides to not absolve the person, their sins could be said to be retained." This clearly allows a Priest the authority not to forgive someone"s sins. This is in direct conflict with many passages in the bible and I have provided scriptures that confirm this.
In emphasizing the word "retain" Con is saying that Christians have the power to send others to hell as they would still be held responsible for their sins. This is not consistent with the clear path to forgiveness I noted in round 1.

Being in Line with God"s will is righteousness

Con should know why acting in accordance with God"s will is important. Violating -his will knowingly is sin. In protestant dogma a relationship with God is very important and this is impossible without knowing and acting in line with God"s will.
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Con is taking an obscure scripture that was not translated well from the greek and trying to establish a doctrine that is not consistent with the bible. I will have more time to elaborate last round.
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

"if the priest decides to not absolve the person, their sins could be said to be retained." This clearly allows a Priest the authority not to forgive someone"s sins. This is in direct conflict with many passages in the bible and I have provided scriptures that confirm this."

i have already stated that catholics do not believe that a priest can retain a sin unless it is in accord with God's will. so them retaining something is not in tension with God at all. again the forgiveness or retaining merely makes it official. "if you confess... God will forgive" as you essentially quoted the bible is still true.

"Con should know why acting in accordance with God"s will is important. Violating -his will knowingly is sin. In protestant dogma a relationship with God is very important and this is impossible without knowing and acting in line with God"s will.
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Con is taking an obscure scripture that was not translated well from the greek and trying to establish a doctrine that is not consistent with the bible. I will have more time to elaborate last round."

the same could be said for why catholics believe they are in accordance with God's will when forgiving or retaining. again, no one is violating God's will here.
i do not think that con has given a better hypothesis for the interpretation. the most obvious and direct interpretation of the verse is that the people have been giving the power to forgive or retain sins..... cause that's what it says. con is trying to paraphrase it to mean something else but hasn't shown why we should textually think that position is better. can he better explain the translations and structures of the passage etc? he has done an inadequate job on it so far. he's tried to give context to his position, but it's far enough removed from the text itself to call into question whether he's being fair to the text itself.
2-D

Con

Pro's Resolution Clearly Referred to Priests

Pro has simply backpedaled from the original resolution and has now argued that men have to power to forgive sins. To quote, "catholics hold that a priest has been given the authority to forgive sins. if the priest decides to not absolve the person, their sins could be said to be retained." I would not have expected this softer version of the resolution and Pro referred to Priests directly not "men."

Pro has not defended the resolution or explained why any power to absolve sin attributed to this verse would only apply to priests since the priesthood has not been established. Pro has offered no passages to support the validity of the priesthood. Remember, less than half of Christians are catholic and accept the priesthood as being a valid interpretation [2] so the majority disagrees with Pro"s interpretation of this passage.

Pro's Interpretation contradicts other passages.

Notice Pro says that priests have the power not to absolve sins and has not disputed that this would send the person in question to hell as their sins have not been absolved. It is an action of individual believe and confession that leads to salvation according to the bible, "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved," Romans 10:9-10. Again Pro"s interpretation directly contradicts another passage in the bible.

Pro has backpedaled and is now supporting another resolution I did not agree to debate.

Retain is an action and it does not imply some kind of agreement. Even if we take Con"s position to be entirely true the priest is not doing anything other than agreeing with what God has already done. The verses I have listed make it clear that each Christian takes action to receive forgiveness and mention nothing about an intermediator forgiver to make it "official". Pro"s interpretation is in direct conflict with these passages.

Pro has essentially agreed with the protestant evangelical position I put forward.

"i have already stated that catholics do not believe that a priest can retain a sin unless it is in accord with God's will. so them retaining something is not in tension with God at all. again the forgiveness or retaining merely makes it official."

How is this different from my claim that Christians simply agree with God"s forgiveness? Does an all knowing/powerful/benevolent God really need a human to make his actions "official?" Again, Pro has not provided a scripture reference to back up the resolution. Taking one scripture and taking it out of the context of the bible and directly contradicts other scriptures is not a valid argument.
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Pro has essentially agreed with my position that contradicts the resolution and has not offered any scriptures to support the interpretation put forward. The resolution rests on the assumption that the Catholic Priesthood is supported by the bible and has done nothing to try to prove that this is true.

[2] http://www.pewforum.org...
Debate Round No. 3
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