Why do protestants have a public confession but Catholics have personal confessions?

Why do protestants have a public confession but Catholics have personal confessions?


Why do protestants have a public confession but Catholics have personal confessions?

Actually, i don’t know where its origin came from.

the short answer is that confession to another person is not an absolute necessity. If you were to have a lustful thought and then a heart attack, you wouldn’t go to hell if you were born again.

I think a person who is asking this question may be operating under a kind of mechanical notion of the way repentance towards God and confession of our sins towards others works. And I would like to relieve that person of that mechanical notion.

But really more helpful might be to ask, What is the role of confession to other people? When should you do it, and why would that be helpful?

James 5:16 is the key text there: “Confess your sins to one another … that you may be healed.” So something really valuable happens when we confess our sins to one another.

If you sin against another, the Bible is pretty clear that you shouldn’t first go to the altar, but first go and get it right with your brother before you go to the altar (Matthew 5:23-24). So confession is crucial at that point to another person.

But even there I don’t want to say it’s absolute, because my guess is that the thief on the cross had offended so many and hurt so many people when he became a Christian and he had no time to make any of it up. He went straight to heaven half an hour later, as Jesus said: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

So it is not an absolute necessity, but it is very healing for relationships.

We want two things to happen in repentance:

We want the air cleared with us and God. So we say, “God, I’ve sinned. I’m sorry. Apply to me afresh the blood of Jesus,” and we enjoy that fresh fellowship and forgiveness.
And we want this horizontal relationship to be clean and clear and open, because so much pain comes into life, and even physical maladies come into life, when we are keeping our sins inside. “I kept my sin in and my bones wasted away” (Psalm 32:3).
So there is a healing that comes at the horizontal level as well as the vertical when we confess our sins to one another.


Catholic think people need comment before Priest. Protestant think they need repent before God.

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It seems to me that protestantism is not without personal confession, but perhaps in a different form from Catholicism.Take modern Christianity as an example. Many Christians would communicate with their pastors individually and then confess their sins and receive targeted guidance from the pastors.I think it’s also a way of confessing.In my opinion, protestantism is not only the public confession, but actually the mutual confession between believers or the communication between believers and pastors also play the role of personal confessions to some extent


Thank you!

I don’t understand how protestants have “a public confession”. And as far as Catholics, they are not Christian, so I don’t go there. (Most Catholics in the pews have not been told any other Gospel than the crooked one the RCC has fed them. Please pray for them as there are true chosen people among them.)

What I CAN say about Protestant confession comes from the Bible:

James 5:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

There is nothing about confessing to “elders”. It’s “to one another”. I have, for instance, a very dear a close Christian woman friend that I keep “up to date” on my sins. Mostly to keep me accountable. It’s easy to slip into sin in this fallen and cursed world living in a fallen body. So it’s important for my spiritual health and growth to have at least one or two closed mouthed (not gossipy) friends I can do this with. When I admit out loud to another human being that I am falling short, it becomes a done deal: that I have sinned. When I hold it in silence, I can begin to kid myself into believing it wasn’t really a sin, or wasn’t that important, or just plain forget it.

The second part of that is I also confess my sin to the person I have sinned against. I do it something like this. “I was wrong when I _______” (line is to fill in the blank). Depending on the situation, I usually add something like “That was on me, not on you” meaning it was my fault, and no fault of yours, or sometimes I’ll say, if appropriate, “I hope you can forgive me.” I don’t say “Will you forgive me” and wait for that. I leave it totally up to that person and accept the outcome. If I have hurt someone and they are unwilling to forgive even after I have confessed my sin as my fault to them, I accept that, because after all, I did sin! I also pray for them.

And lastly, when I share these things with my close mouthed friend or friends (two) I ask her or both of them to please pray for me about this. And I should not ever leave out that I must confess my sin to God.

There is nothing public about what I just described.

I can only think that I may have to confess publicly if I have sinned publicly. In other words, my confession must be to those whom I have wronged.

Hope that helps.