Reconciliation between sinful humanity and Almighty God is at the heart of the gospel message. The Christian church has good news to proclaim, that no matter how terrible our sins, forgiveness can be obtained through the sin-bearing death of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
But how are we to confess our sins and receive forgiveness? At the time of the Reformation, the practice of private confession, in which a priest hears confession and absolves the penitent of his or her sins, was fiercely debated, Today, in contrast, many Christians across the traditional divides are welcoming and practising private confession.
In this new theological climate, the Church of England has produced its own rite for 'The Reconciliation of a Penitent' as part of the liturgical provision of Common Worship.
This booklet looks afresh at the principles behind private confession and priestly absolution. In chapters examining the historical, biblical and liturgical issues, Andrew Atherstone asks three vital questions about this practice: Is it biblical? Is it Anglican? Is it helpful?
Andrew Atherstone is a research fellow with the Latimer Trust, and is a lecturer at Wycliffe College, Oxford.
ISBN: 978 0 946307 53 1