A Presbyterian minister told me a story about his first year at a certain congregation. His predecessor had abolished the general confession of sins from the Sunday liturgy, and one of the first things this new pastor did was try to reinstate it. But resistance to the proposed change was fierce. Some members thought that confession of sins was too morbid a thing to do in church, where one’s spirits were supposed to be lifted up.
During the heat of the debate one woman—an elder—exclaimed, “But I don’t have to apologize to God for anything!” The pastor was dumbfounded. “My seminary training hadn’t prepared me for this,” he told me. Whether we are pastors or teachers of future pastors, we usually find the need for confession so obvious that we don’t even bother to inquire as to why we might have to “apologize to God.”