JOHN 20:22,23 Apostolic Succession Can The Church forgive Sins?


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John 20:22 - [In Context|


And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

20:23 [In Context|

"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 20:19-25 - [Verse 22 in Original Greek]

19 So when it was evening on that day, the first {day} of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear R1503 of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, "Peace R1504 {be} with you." 20 And when He had said this, He R1505 showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced R1506 when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace R1507 {be} with you; as R1508 the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, "Receive R1509 the Holy Spirit. 23 "If R1510 you forgive the sins of any, {their sins} have F201 been forgiven them; if you retain the {sins} of any, they have been retained." 24 But Thomas, R1511 one of the R1512 twelve, called Didymus, F202 R1513 was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His R1514 hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I R1515 will not believe."


See Acts 5:1-11, [In Context| also 1 Corinthians 5:1-5  [In Context|and 2 Corinthians 2:6-8. [In Context|


Can The Church forgive Sins?


Scripture tells us that God alone can forgive sin, although it appears for a while the Apostles could by virtue of the holy spirit. ( John 20:22-23  ) :

Now some churches interpret the above scripture, so that the church believes it takes on the role of the Apostles ( i.e. a proxy role ) , and so believe it has the ability to allow or disallow sin.

This would be a very powerful tool if it existed, and would be dangerous in the wrong hands.

So we ask two questions :
- Can a church take on the apostles roles?
- How do you prove or disprove using scripture?


Yes the Catholic Church does; but lets look at how did the apostles understood and applied this?

There is no record in the Bible of a single instance in which an apostle listened to a private confession and then pronounced absolution.
Now the requirements for being forgiven by God are set out in the Bible.
The apostles, under the direction of holy spirit, could discern whether individuals were meeting such requirements and could on this basis declare that God had either forgiven them or not forgiven them.
See Acts 5:1-11, also 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 2 Corinthians 2:6-8.

What Jesus said to his disciples at John
20:23, indicates that God granted the apostles special powers in this regard. And Jesus’ statement there may relate to what he said at Matthew 18:18 about heavenly decisions.

The disciples mentioned were principally the faithful apostles. ( verse 24.) By blowing on them and saying, “Receive holy spirit,” Jesus symbolically gave them notice that soon holy spirit would be poured out on them. Jesus went on to say that they would have authority concerning forgiveness of sins. Reasonably, his two statements are linked, one leading to the next.

On the day of Pentecost, Jesus poured out holy spirit. Those who received the spirit were born again as spiritual sons of God with the hope of being co-rulers with Christ in heaven. (John 3:3-5; Romans 8:15-17; 2 Corinthians 1:22)   But that outpouring of spirit did more. Some recipients gained miraculous powers. By that means some could speak in foreign tongues that they did not know. Others could prophesy. Yet others could heal the sick or raise the dead to life. See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

Since Jesus’ words at John 20:22 pointed to this outpouring of holy spirit on the disciples, his connected words about forgiving sins seem to mean that the apostles had divinely provided to them through an operation of the spirit a unique authority to forgive or retain sins.

One memorable case which involved apostolic authority to forgive or retain sins involved Ananias and Sapphira, who played false to the spirit. Peter, who heard Jesus utter what we read at John
20:22, 23, exposed Ananias and Sapphira. Peter first addressed Ananias, who died on the spot. When Sapphira later came in and kept up the falsehood, Peter proclaimed her judgment. Peter did not forgive her sin but said: “Look! The feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” She too died on the spot.—Acts 5:1-11.

What Jesus said at John
20:23, is not in conflict with the rest of the Scriptures, but it indicates that the apostles had a special authorization regarding forgiveness, in line with their special role in the infancy of the Christian congregation. However nowhere does the bible say these “powers” were passed on, but died with the apostles.

Jesus gave his disciples authority to expel from the congregation unrepentant perpetrators of grave sins. At the same time, Christ gave his followers authority to extend mercy and forgive repentant sinners. Jesus certainly was not saying that his disciples should confess every sin to a priest.

This is true. When we also look at Matthew 18:15-18 and everything else that the Bible teaches about confession and forgiveness, what must we conclude? That at John 20:22, 23, Jesus gave his disciples authority to expel from the congregation unrepentant perpetrators of grave sins.


God granted the apostles special powers in this regard, yes, but the apostles only and these powers died with them.

The Catholic church base their claim on Apostolic succession, saying the Pope is a direct descendant of the apostle Peter, but there is *no* evidence to back their claim whatsoever.

It is a purely man made tradition, and is definitely not found in the Bible. And God specifically warns us against following man made tradition.

“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." ( Mark 7:6-9 )


(2) War is the ultimate rebellion against God especially since God holds human life as sacred, and Satan hates man because man is made in Gods image. So war allows Satan to rebell against God
AND wipe out Gods creation at the same time. But war also allows nations to harass and intimidate people, so people go against Gods will by making a country making it difficult to avoid saluting the national flag or harassing people to support the "war effort" - but the war effort is designed to make things to kill people - so war on so many levels is against God. The last time God sanctioned war was in the the Old Testament.

War also is about making people feel bad if they dont support killing other people ( that is so crazy ...) - I know of people who refused to fight during WWII who used to get give a white feather as a sign of "cowardice" - even though by refusing to fight many people had to show huge strength and resolve to make a stand for God, unlike those who just went along with Satans ways.

Sbt- simple answer

.The simple easy answer is --Whatever the Apostles could and could not do --no scriptural evidences is that the ones they passed the gifts on to --could pass them on to others ---and whatever they could or couldn't do has no effect on us --except their contribution to the Completed Holy Verses---

The Completed Bible---that not even They--- most of the Apostles---(except John --I think --without doing research ) got to see Thee Completed Holy Verses----


Our Blessing is the Completed Bible which includes future healing of individuals and the Nations 

  TheGreatHopeRev21-22-7.htm  plus --I just refined Miracles.htm check it out.



BCC -> Commentary on 20:22
DSN -> Synopsis on 20:22
GEB -> Study Notes on 20:22
GSB -> Study Notes on 20:22
JFB -> Commentary on 20:22
MHC-COM -> Commentary on 20:22
MHC-CON -> Commentary on 20:22
PNT -> Commentary on 20:22
RWP -> Study Notes on 20:22
TFG -> Commentary on 20:22
TSK -> Commentary on 20:22 TSK -> Entry for 20:22
WEN -> Notes on 20:22
NTB -> Holy Spirit; Jesus, The Christ; Trinity
TTT -> Apostles, The; Gift of the Holy Spirit, The
EBD -> Sabbath
SBD -> John, Gospel of
WJD -> Devotional using 20:22
WJD -> Devotional using 20:22


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 · The Fourfold Gospel
 · Treasury of Scripture
 · Wesley's Explanatory Notes


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