Sacraments or Ordinances?

“Sacraments” was a term I rejected because of its association with the Roman Catholic Church.  Like many in the Protestant world I was more comfortable with the term “ordinances.”

With the term “ordinances” baptism and the Lord’s Supper were viewed as outward expressions of my faith.  The emphasis was on my performance–what I did.

slide-20-baptism-and-communion.jpgWith the term “sacraments,” however, there has been something of a paradigm shift–it’s no longer what I do. Rather, it is what God does.  I’ve come to believe that at the heart of the sacraments is God’s gracious covenant promise to be our God and we His people–a promise that is confirmed whenever we receive the sacraments through faith.  Simply put, in baptism we are washed and welcomed while in the Supper we are nourished and strengthened.

So I conclude: the term “sacraments” DO NOT belong to Rome.

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3 Responses to Sacraments or Ordinances?

  1. Lon Hetrick says:

    Amen. While walking as similar path as you, I have realized that the sacraments are not focused on my commitment to Christ. They are first and foremost, expressions of His commitment (covenant faithfulness and loving kindness) to his people, you and me included :).

  2. Craig Benno says:

    Good post. Well said. They are a sacrament of grace.

  3. Colin says:

    To quote from the words of distribution of the bread in the Book of Common Prayer; “Feed on him in your hearts, by faith, with thanksgiving” Yes, sacraments of Grace. Places of meeting. In the Institutes I see great wisdom in Calvin’s expressions of mystery, and our limited ability to fully describe and grasp in words what is going on. But I certainly know the real presence of Christ, though I could not describe that as physical in the Transubstantiation and Consubstantiation senses.

    So neither sacrament nor for that matter “real presence” are the exclusive property of our “Catholic” brethren of either West or East.

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