Why Has Individual Confession and Absolution Not Been Readily Accepted in Our Congregations?

The fact that congregations are still filled with so much distaste for private confession is because we preachers still do not understand how to preach the Gospel as we should. Certainly, the sweeter and lovelier we would understand the Gospel as the power of God to hold up before people, the more faith would be awakened; the more faith would be awakened, the more temptation there would be; and the more temptation, the more desire for consolation would arise and the more people would come to private absolution to get consolation. However, our congregations should not think that now the time has come that we want to throw the net over it, because we extol private absolution so blithely to them; no, but that we want to talk about and preach it so blithely should happen, on the one hand, because it belongs to the proclaiming of the whole counsel of God, on the other hand, because of that, once we are dead, and our congregations finally come to the realization of the great treasure of private absolution, they cannot say: Our pastors, in this free Republic, are still afraid to offer us this treasure.

1860 Theses on Absolution. Rough translation by DMJ, bold emphasis mine.

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