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Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness.

Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness. By Jim Forest. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002. xvii and 161 pages. Paper. $15.00.

Jim Forest, an Orthodox Christian, has written several books in the area of spirituality as well as books about Thomas Merton.

Forest works to revitalize the importance of private confession as a sacrament or spiritual discipline in the lives of all Christians: "The purpose of this small book is to help revive confession where abandoned or neglected, to help the reader prepare a better confession, and to help those who hear confessions better serve as Christ's witness, taking care not to impede the sacrament's healing strength" (p. ix).

Confession includes a brief historical summation of the developments and changes in the sacrament and practice of confession, including a present-day understanding. (This summation presumes that the reader has a fair understanding of religious history, particularly Orthodox and Roman tradition.) Using an excellent anecdotal storytelling style, Forest goes on to portray the concepts of sin, confession, forgiveness, and absolution and includes actual confessions sent to him. Forest reminds the reader that by renewing this practice, not only are our sins forgiven but, more important, we return to an understanding of our dependence on God and a renewal of our relationship with God.

This book has excellent illustrations for preaching on the topics of sinfulness or forgiveness. It includes a suggestion of the use of icons in confession. It also is a helpful guide in understanding the feelings and emotions associated with confession.
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Author:Kula, Larry
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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