The Lutheran Reformation has its root cause in the confessional. People coming to make their confession to Father Martin Luther began to tell him that they needn't worry any longer about forgiveness, or about what they might, or might not do, because they had purchased an indulgence, and considered it a "get out of hell free" card that assured them of God's grace and mercy in spite of anything they, or their deceased relatives, had done. Whether this was an accurate understanding of what indulgences were meant to be is not the point. The practical consequence of the false teaching of the indulgence peddlers, who at the time were raising money on behalf of the local Roman Catholic Archbishop who was in turn paying Rome off for the exception granted him to hold more than one ecclesial office, and Rome in turn was raising cash to construct St. Peters. In the midst of this deep and profound corruption of the Gospel and the Church, the Biblical gift of absolution and the practice of giving that absolution privately to the individual sinner through the practice of private confession and absolution was being horribly distorted, corrupting the very Gospel itself. And hence, in the Augsburg Confession, in Article XXV, the Lutherans had to defend themselves from the accusation that they had done away with private confession and absolution and make clear that what they rejected were the false and Gospel obscuring practices that had grown up around the practice, like noxious weeds, choking out the beautiful gift of the absolving good news of Christ Jesus. In a tragic irony, today, for the most part, the practice of private confession and absolution has been lost in the Lutheran Church. That's the bad news. The good news? There has been a renaissance of the practice in recent years, with the convention of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod last summer (July 2007) adopting a resolution encouraging its use and a return and restoration of this practice in the congregations of the Synod. The voice of Christ Himself, using the voice and mouth of the ministry, is being heard by the sinner in private confession and the personal application of the absolution is a priceless treasure that must be extolled and retained.