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    Christian Theology - Thread: The "What" and "Why" of "Sacraments"

    1. #1
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      The "What" and "Why" of "Sacraments"

      Almost every Christian church or denomination acknowledges some Sacraments, but the matter is usually unclear to the average church member. He or she simply participates in what the church puts before them.

      What makes any ritual be a Sacrament? How many are there and how would we know?

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      The first definition I saw online of sacrament was this one
      a Christian rite (such as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality
      from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sacrament

      For most Baptist there are two Baptism and the Lord's Supper

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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      Almost every Christian church or denomination acknowledges some Sacraments, but the matter is usually unclear to the average church member. He or she simply participates in what the church puts before them.

      What makes any ritual be a Sacrament? How many are there and how would we know?
      That I am aware of, the Roman, the Anglican, Orthodox, Coptic believe in Sacraments. Most protestant churches do not believe in sacraments ( they reject them) but they certainly have rituals.

      What makes a Sacrament more than just a ritual, is the fact that we believe that by practicing a Sacrament, a grace is imparted in the process.

      Protestants, because of their rejection of the RC church, will hard pressed to accept that by celebrating a ritual any grace can be imparted.

      Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk

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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      The first definition I saw online of sacrament was this one
      a Christian rite (such as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality
      from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sacrament

      For most Baptist there are two Baptism and the Lord's Supper
      I agree that "ordained (instituted) by Christ" is generally taken to be the key but not sole criterion. So then we have to ask how that applies or doesn't apply in each one of the Sacraments claimed by any particular church.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Resources View Post
      That I am aware of, the Roman, the Anglican, Orthodox, Coptic believe in Sacraments. Most protestant churches do not believe in sacraments ( they reject them) but they certainly have rituals.

      What makes a Sacrament more than just a ritual, is the fact that we believe that by practicing a Sacrament, a grace is imparted in the process.

      Protestants, because of their rejection of the RC church, will hard pressed to accept that by celebrating a ritual any grace can be imparted.
      It is safe to say that most Protestant churches accept two sacraments. How they define them of course is something else, and that is part of what I was inquiring into with this thread.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      It is safe to say that most Protestant churches accept two sacraments. How they define them of course is something else, and that is part of what I was inquiring into with this thread.
      The do not accept Sacraments. They celebrate the ritual of baptism and of the Lors Supper. To the vast majority of them, it is just symbolic in nature. To most of the baptism is more important than the Lord's Super.

      Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk

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      Many denominations have no sacraments; in the place of sacraments those denominations have "ordinances" or something else that more or less corresponds to baptism and the Lord's supper though some denominations have neither baptism nor the Lord's supper (the Salvation Army, for example).

      One cannot make just "any ritual" into a sacrament of the Church but one can call just about anything a sacrament if one has a mind to.

      There are seven sacraments and the faithful know it from the teaching of the Catholic Church. Those who are separated from the Catholic Church may have a different count and different sources for their count.
      Last edited by MoreCoffee; 11-07-2018 at 02:56 PM.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

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      Lutheran


      Lutherans are “sacramental” (as are Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Christians). Understanding such requires a solid understanding of the concepts of God as love and God as the active one, that God blesses us.


      “Sacrament” is a theological term not used in the Bible but used by Christians to refer loosely to any “means of grace.” A “means of grace” is whatever GOD uses to bring faith, blessings and power into our lives - a means to bless. When the Gospel message of the Bible is preached or read or sung or told – it becomes a “tool” of God, something God can use to GIVE us the “gift of faith” and to guide and empower and bless our lives. Yes, our reading or listening or singing involves some “work” on our part but that’s not the point – GOD is using this like a carpenter using a tool to create something beautiful. While MANY things can be “means of grace” in this loose sense (Lutherans may speak of many things as "sacramental"), historically Christians have especially referenced Word (the Gospel) and Sacraments as the “Means of Grace.” They are “tools in the hands of the Carpenter” for the granting and strengthening of faith and life.


      In and of themselves, they are rather powerless and benign. Like a hammer just lying there. But place that hammer in the hands of a skilled carpenter and GREAT things happen! In the same way, the Bible may seem only like words, Baptism only like water, the Eucharist only like bread and wine. Ah, but they are in the hands of the Carpenter! Who wishes to BLESS us!


      In the past 500 years or so, a small minority of Christians have replaced this concept of God blessing us with and opposite concept: “Ordinances”. The focus is placed on man, where man is the active and critical factor, the emphasis becomes less on God’s unmerited grace and mercy and more on OUR “obedience” and God’s reward of that, thus the redefinition as “Ordinances” (not something God does for us in love but something we do for God in obedience in hopes of reward); OUR jumping through hoops in hopes of pleasing God. Some Christians “talk past” each other on these points because of this different understanding of God and His grace/mercy.


      “Sacrament” is a theological term; we define it as especially something instituted by Christ that utilizes some physical means in order to offer or seal His gift of faith and His power in our lives. Some define the word a bit differently. Lutherans don’t dogmatically number them, but historically we’ve spoken especially of two: Baptism and Holy Communion (they "fit" OUR definition) but we just don't dogmatically number them (that's mostly a Calvinist vs. Catholic thing). In the Small Catechism, Luther himself wrote "there are two Sacraments" but this is understood as "at least two" not dogmatically limited to two."



      - Josiah




      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 11-07-2018 at 03:03 PM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Resources View Post
      The do not accept Sacraments.
      Yes, they do. I don't know where you picked up your misinformation, but they do. There are, in fact, only two denominations that are generally recognized as not having any sacraments: the Quakers and the Salvation Army (not counting whatever stray non-denominational assemblies and religions that are at best marginally Christian might be somewhere out there).

      They celebrate the ritual of baptism and of the Lors Supper. To the vast majority of them, it is just symbolic in nature. To most of the baptism is more important than the Lord's Super.
      Your personal opinion, then, is that unless their definition of a sacrament squares with yours, its not a sacrament. Got it.

      And the same applies to this reply by another poster:

      Many denominations have no sacraments; in the place of sacraments those denominations have "ordinances" or something else that more or less corresponds to baptism and the Lord's supper....
      So the answer there is two. The question of the thread does not concern itself with each denominations preferred terminology.






      .
      Last edited by Albion; 11-07-2018 at 03:24 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      Yes, they do. I don't know where you picked up your misinformation, but they do. There are, in fact, only two denominations that are generally recognized as not having any sacraments: the Quakers and the Salvation Army (not counting whatever stray non-denominational assemblies and religions that are at best marginally Christian might be somewhere out there).


      Your personal opinion, then, is that unless their definition of a sacrament squares with yours, its not a sacrament. Got it.

      And the same applies to this reply by another poster:



      So the answer there is two. The question of the thread does not concern itself with each denominations preferred terminology.






      .
      Unless they belive that the celebration of the ritual imparts grace, they do not believe it is a Sacrament. Sacrament makes holy. Ritual is just an act?

      Do you belive the celebration of a ritual can impart grace?

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