Articles XI-XII


In reference to confession it is taught, that private absolution ought to be retained in the church, and should not be discontinued; in confession, however, it is unnecessary to enumerate all transgressions and sins, which indeed is not possible. Psalm 19, 12: “Who can discern his errors?”


Concerning repentance it is taught, that those who have sinned after baptism, may at all times obtain forgiveness of their sins, if they repent; and that the church should not refuse to grant absolution unto them. Genuine and true repentance properly consists in contrition and sorrow, or terror on account of sin; besides, it consists in faith in the Gospel or absolution, – namely that sins are forgiven and grace is obtained through Christ, – a faith which consoles and imparts peace to the heart.

Afterwards amendment of conduct also should follow, and abstinence from sin; for these should be the fruits of repentance, as John says, Matt. 3, 8: “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”

Here are condemned such as teach, that those who have once been justified can never fall.

On the other hand, the Novatians also are here condemned, who refused absolution to those who had sinned after baptism.

Those in like manner are condemned who teach, that forgiveness of sin is obtained, not through faith, but through our own merits.