Adult Bible B.L.A.S.T Week 12: “The Church” cont:12/31/17
VII. Ordinances and Sacraments of the Church
Questions: What are Ordinances and Sacraments in the Church?
Is there a difference between Ordinances and Sacraments?
Are the differences important? Why?
In Protestantism, there are generally only two recognized ordinances:
- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- Some groups will also add foot-washing to this list.
In Catholicism there are seven sacraments:
- Baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper), penance, holy orders (ordination as deacon, priest, or bishop), matrimony, and extreme unction (last rites).
Question: What’s the difference between a sacrament and an ordinance?
Both words are used by Protestants and Catholics.
- According to the Roman Catholic Council of Trent, a sacrament is “something presented to the senses, which has the power, by divine institution, not only of signifying, but also of efficiently conveying grace.” Ordinance, on the other hand, is usually defined as simply as a “prescribed rite or practice,” without the added baggage of conveying grace to the participant.
- However, on a general basis, most people do not make a careful distinction between the two terms, and they have, for most people, become virtually synonymous.
- But, since they have very different definitions, it is important we use the right terms.
Question: What is the purpose of water baptism?
To identify with Jesus and His message.
- Symbolically, in baptism there is identification with Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4)
While the church has had differing practices on the modes of baptism (sprinkling, immersion), the practice of infant baptism is hard to substantiate from the practice of the early church as seen in the New Testament. People were baptized after they believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Question: How are people baptized (water)
This question has and still is a line of division within Christianity. I hold that the best way to baptize is by immersion. But if that is not physically possible, sprinkling or pouring is ok. After all, it’s the heart of the person that matters not the mode.
Question: Who can be baptized?
Along with the first question, this too has divide Christians and still does.
Specifically, should infants be baptized? The arguments in favor of the practice are three:
- An analogy is made between baptism and circumcision, which was performed on infants; as circumcision was a sign of the Old Covenant, so baptism becomes the sign of the New Covenant.
- The New Testament does not make a connection between Baptism and circumcision. In fact, Paul argues that circumcision is of no value (1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:2-6, 6:15). Why would it be necessary to replace something that has been superseded by the “circumcision of the heart” of the New Covenant (Romans 2:28-29.
- In Acts 16:33 it tells us that the jailer’s entire household was baptized. That would surely, therefore, have included infants.
3. Finally, the New Testament appears to promise the sanctification of families with only one believing parent, therefore, surely, baptizing them would be appropriate (1 Corinthians 7:14).
- It is a bit of a leap, to assume that when Cornelius’ household, or the jailer’s household were baptized, that that automatically included infants.
- We don’t know these people’s ages, so their children could easily have all been older.
- And in any case, it is clear from its usage that baptism was reserved for those who had made a profession of faith, something an infant certainly could not do.
Question: Who ‘officiates’ a baptism?
Scripture is silent.
The Lord’s Supper
Question: What is the purpose of the Lord’s Supper / Communion / the Eucharist?
- To remember what Jesus did for us on the cross.
- This is also a mandated practice for the church.
Read: 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.
Like baptism, there are different views on the nature of the Lord’s supper. Referring to the bread, “This is my body” and the wine as, “This is my blood” historically led to debate on what “is” means during the time of the Protestant Reformation.
Question: What is the Catholic view?
The Catholic View is called Transubstantiation, which means that the elements turn into the actual body and blood of Jesus.
Question: What is the Lutheran view?
The Lutheran View is called Consubstantiation, which means that Jesus is with, in, under and around the elements but they do not actually turn into the body and blood of Jesus.
Question: What is the Reformed view?
The Reformed View (John Calvin) is termed the Spiritual Presence View, which means that Jesus is spiritually present during the ceremony.
Question: What is our view?