¡@


¡@

¡@

by Simon
Lien-yueh Wei

¡@

¡@

¡@


Major Controversy over the Power of Church to Forgive Sins

¡@

¡@

¡@

¡@

 

¡@

There were two opposing understandings of the power to forgive sins.

¡@

(1) Cyprian: the power belongs to the bishop

Christ bestowed the power to forgive sins first on Peter as an individual After the resurrection, Christ bestowed this same power on all the apostles, by giving them the Holy Spirit. These apostles shared their power with the first group of bishops. The first group of bishops shared their power with other bishops as the church expanded.  Then, this power was passed down in the group of bishops. A new bishop obtains this power from three existing bishops of neighboring churches in the consecration. If a bishop had sinned, the bishop lost the present of the Holy Spirit and lost the power to forgive sins.

 

(2) Augustine: the power belongs to the community

Christ bestowed the power to forgive sins on His disciples. The disciple represented not the group of bishop, but the holy Christian community. The bishop was a representative of the holy Christian community to use the power to forgive sins.  This power not belongs to the bishops or the group of bishop, but belongs to the community. If the bishop had sinned, this power is still in the community, and the ritual of sanctification is effective to forgive sins.

¡@

 

The limit of its exercise

    The main limit of this power¡¦s exercise is to use it within the universal communion of the church. There is no sanctification outside the church.

¡@

(1) Cyprian

A person who left the church abandoned Christ and lost the gift of Holy Spirit. If a clergy left the church, he lost the power to forgive sins. Outside the Church, eucharist, baptism or any ritual was empty and ineffective There is no sanctification outside the church.

 

(2) Augustine

A person who left the church lost the gift of Holy Spirit. Outside the Church, eucharist, baptism or any ritual was effective. However, if a person had been sanctify by a ritual outside the church and the person insisted on staying in the schismatic church, the power of the ritual was not operative. But when the person joined the universal communion of the church, the power of the ritual became operative. There is no sanctification outside the Church.

 

 

Bibliography

Burns, Patout, Lectures of ¡§The Formation of Christian Tradition¡¨ in Vanderbilt Divinity school, 2004 Fall.

¡@

¡@

  
Home Page