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Author Topic: protestant idea of repentence  (Read 1858 times) Average Rating: 0
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gregory2
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« on: April 01, 2004, 01:41:27 PM »

just wondering if anyone can give insight into the protestant idea of repentence....  i was reading a protestant review of "The Passion of the Christ" and they spoke so much about the importance of repentence, but i got to wondering, how do protestants repent?  they don't have the sacrament of confession, don't have prescribed fasting periods, etc.  i'm sure they engage in almsgiving, however.  is it just a very personal thing, i.e., private repentence before God?  Thanks for any insight!
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Linus7
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2004, 01:59:00 PM »

As a former Protestant, I would answer yes, the Protestant idea of repentance is one of private confession and contrition before God, together with the determination and effort to turn away from sin.

Fasting is recommended, but left up to the individual.

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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2004, 03:58:14 AM »

Fasting is recommended, but left up to the individual.

...and thus, realistically not really done at all, sad to say.
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katherine 2001
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2004, 08:56:48 PM »

I'm not sure how often fasting is recommended.  It wasn't much in the churches I went to.  Certainly, the idea of there being certain times of fasting (like we have in Orthodoxy) were seen as being rituals and "traditions of men".
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Historynut
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2004, 12:18:13 AM »

Thats pretty much it as a born and raised Baptist repentance was a totally private matter as was fasting although as a southern Baptist i can honestly say i dont remember anyone mentioning fasting as something other than what Jesus and a few others did in the bible Grin That said I think its worth noting my first confession is going to be this Friday  Embarrassed
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gregory2
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2004, 03:44:07 PM »

Why the sad face when saying that your first confession is this Friday?  Confession is not a punishment, but a gift from God in His Church to let us men grow closer to Him.  Read some of Father Alexander Schmemann's writings (easily available on the internet) concerning confession -- they really help me when confession time comes, since the world's view of confession as a "punishment" is so pervasive in our society.  It's really much more than a simple enumeration of sins.  (If it's helpful, I find it helps for me to pray to God for a few days in advance of the confession that He make it beneficial to me.)
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2004, 10:37:23 PM »

Gregory I am not so much scared as I am extremely nevous about the whole experience and the mere contemplation of my numerous sins is humbling to say the least. But then again thats what I like about the whole idea. Oh and I was thinking that was more a bashful face than a frowning face but whatever.
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gregory2
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2004, 12:53:20 AM »

I was thinking about that interesting juxtaposition a few weeks ago when my wife and I went for confession.  If you think about it, if one gets nothing else out of confession, one definitely gets humility!  God Himself is humble, and in making men go to confession, God sees to it that men are humble also.  For if we are to become like God, we too need humility.  It is so contrary to what our world views as "virtuous," since our society does not view humility as a virtue, but somehow makes pride seem "virtuous."

God be with you, and a blessed Pascha to you and your family!
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2004, 10:03:18 AM »

Yeah that's what I loveabout confession (I can't believe I used "love" and "confession" in the same sentence!) It forces me to acknowledge my sins and see all my pathetic rationalizations and excuses for just what they are.
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katherine 2001
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2004, 10:07:29 AM »

Historynut, I was terrified before my first confession.   However, when it was over, I felt liberated.  I was absolved of all those sins and was able to put them behind me and go on for the first time in my life.  I love confession also, though I have to admit that sometimes I'm quite nervous about going because I'm scared to death to admit the sins I committed sometimes.  However, I always feel liberated after it's over.
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2004, 01:16:18 PM »

As a Protestant, I of course practiced private confession before God and of course found it awfully easy to commit the same sins over and over and over again.

As a newly illumined Orthodox who now confesses to his priest, I find that I absolutely don't want to have to confess the same sins again.  This has made a huge difference in how I live and deal with my temptations.  I have found confession to be humbling and difficult but I never want to be without it ever again.  It is medicine for the soul.

Growing up a Southern Baptist, fasting was never, ever mentioned.  My question now is how can you ever truly feast if  you never fast?  I never had that spiritual execise to strengthen my spiritual muscles and I was a very weak and flabby christian.  Now as Orthodox, keeping the fasts, I am truly experiencing the feasts and their joy.  I also am beginning, just beginning, to become the faithful christian I always longed to be.
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2004, 10:07:47 AM »

Last week I just had a lesson in the necessity of confession and repentance and the limitations of the Protestant understanding of both. A girl I work with is Orthodox and her husband converted from the Baptist church when they married. She asked him when he was going to confession so that they could take Holy Communion together on Pascha. He said he didn't need to go, he had "no sins on his heart." This seems to me to be a very dangerous spiritual state, but also a very common viewpoint.
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Historynut
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2004, 02:16:31 AM »

Neworthodox,

Thats exactly what I find so frustrating about the protestants I talk to they honestly look me in the eye and say they would have nothing to confess even if they were to go to confession Shocked I think its this general unwillingness to examine ones own sins that often times leads to the general feeling of hypocrasy many disallusioned protestants point to when the site it as a reason for not going to church.
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2004, 07:39:25 AM »

I'm not sure how often fasting is recommended.  It wasn't much in the churches I went to.  Certainly, the idea of there being certain times of fasting (like we have in Orthodoxy) were seen as being rituals and "traditions of men".

Perhaps there is also an objection to fasting as a sign of one's own justification through right praxis. I've certainly heard enough convert machismo about how much more rigorous their current praxis is than what they did before, especially with regards to fasting.

And I'm finding it curious that, as a Protestant would use the word, this thread has hardly had anything to do with repentance, except to discuss some aspects of praxis that may or may not relate. I've heard plenty of Catholics (never mind Protestants complaining about Catholicism) who had trouble with the use of confession, auricular or otherwise, as a kind of weekly bath after which one may the get dirty again. So I have my doubts as to whether auricular confession solves the "repeat offender" problem.

I don't see any evidence that Protestants view repentance differently from other Christians.
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neworthodox
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2004, 10:24:38 AM »

Keble - speaking personally, confession doesn't solve the "repeat offender" problem for me, since I confess the same dreary pathetic sins every time! However, speaking as a recovering Protestant, I have experienced some difference in the Orthodox church. Sin is regarded as the primary problem. My former Lutheran pastor told me once that "sin doesn't come up much any more." Having to go to confession regularly makes me more aware of my sin and all the ramifications - even if I haven't murdered anyone this week, I certainly have failed to love them. Maybe it's just me, but with the general confession at the beginning of the Lutheran service and the 30 sec. (max) allotted for self-examination before the pastor zipped along to the absolution, I was able to pretty much skate over the nasty parts and feel pretty good about myself. There seemed to be an attitude of if you acknowledged your sin, and wanted to repent, you simply had a problem with low self-esteem. And low self-esteem is not my problem (but quite the reverse). So I would have to say that I don't know about individual Protestant's repentance (and rightly so - none of my business) or any other faith tradition but Lutheran but my experience of the corporate expression of repentance (as opposed to theological expression) in the Lutheran church was confession and repentance were pretty much non-starters, some talk but no action.
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