XXV. Of the Sacraments

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61 Responses

  1. I just had my own sacraments – dinner and Miami Vice on Netflix. 🙂 Love that show – I am going to be both Crockett & Tubbs when I grow up.

  2. Fly on a Wall says:

    MLD: Personally I think you’re hilarious, but I’m afraid your humor may be lost on some and downright insulting for others.

  3. Fly on a Wall says:

    For us Theologian babies, here’s the wiki definition of Sacrament

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrament#Roman_Catholic_teaching

    Originally, the Catholics believed in seven. Luther said it was corrupt and reduced it to two, the baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    Oh boy, I don’t know… I have an opinion, but it’s a fairly-bigoted Evangelical one. No thanks. I’m going to sit back and stay out of the carnage.

  4. Alex says:

    I’ve been baptized twice, which gives me hope of Salvation.

    I’ve taken the Sacraments a ton of times, and it always serves as a time of self-reflection and begging God for mercy on me a sinner.

    Is it “saving” me? Is it sanctifying me? Is it for assurance? Is it for remembrance only? A time for repentance? Dunno. I know it usually makes me feel good, though I always wonder how many folks sneezed or coughed in my juice and cracker.

  5. Fly on a Wall says:

    Bigoted is a strong word, I meant to say prejudice.

    Methinks Sacraments is one of those things that could tear people apart. When in reality… is this essential to our salvation? I know Lutherans will say “ABSOLUTELY.” and I’ll go, “okay.” And the argument is done. Is it really worth it to tell a Lutheran that a sacrament is not essential? What’s the payoff? They’re not in danger of losing their salvation.

    It’s like telling a Calvinist that salvation is available to everyone. If they want to believe they’re elect, is it worth the argument to convince them otherwise?

    That’s all I’m going to say. Like I said, I’ll let the pros duke this one out. I’m nowhere in my league.

  6. “They’re not in danger of losing their salvation.”

    Lutherans do not teach OSAS

  7. It’s sad that churches with hold the sacrament of the Table from their people – and they do it on purpose. Talk about spiritual abuse.

  8. Fly on a Wall says:

    OSAS: Once saved always saved.

    Ok. Now I can go toe-to-toe with you.

    That I can disagree. I believe once you’re saved, you are always saved, unless you chose to not abide in the faith.

  9. Alex says:

    Fly said, “That I can disagree. I believe once you’re saved, you are always saved, unless you chose to not abide in the faith.”

    That’s basically MLD/The Lutheran position.

    God gives you these prosthetic arms to grab a hold of faith, however you can choose to drop your prosthetic arms, or something like that, according to MLD 🙂

  10. Fly,
    So where did you disagree with me. God saves you and it is impossible to sin your way out of salvation.

    However, you can stop abiding in the faith, quit feeding your faith (and this is where the sacraments come in) you starve your faith until it shrivels and dies.

    But you still are not beyond salvation and the holy spirit will begin to work on you all over again – just like the first time..

  11. Jtk says:

    ” I believe once you’re saved, you are always saved, unless you chose to not abide in the faith.”

    Can you explain this paradox further?

  12. Kevin H says:

    Honest question here just trying to gain a greater understanding of what some mean when certain terms or phrases are used. So for those who care to weigh in, what does it mean when it is said that we “receive God’s grace” at the Lord’s Supper and/or baptism, or they are a “means of grace”, or they are “effectual signs of grace” as this article states?

  13. Kevin H,
    Good question – and you knew that I would weigh in. 🙂

    To use simple and non theological terms, the main difference is – is there something REALLY happening during baptism and the lord’s supper?

    Is God at work giving / delivering something to his people, or are we just doing something out of obedience to God to show that we were listening?

    Even though everyone likes to use the word sacrament they don’t believe they are. Sacraments are a mystery – how does God deliver, grace, salvation and forgiveness of sin through bread, wine and water. That is what you are getting from those elements… as promised by God.

    Evangelicals are better to use the word Ordinance (and they once did with pride to get away from sounding too Romanish – but now they seem to want to go back to using the more liturgical words.Ordinances are more like taking an oath to a godly proclamation.

  14. Now I will add, that even though I agree with the article above, which again is speaking almost exclusively against the RCC view of sacraments – the article is written with a Reformed bent and the Lutheran view of the 2 sacraments is quite different from the Reformed.

  15. Means of Grace = the vehicle which God has chosen to deliver his grace.

    It also includes the spoken and written word.

    God does not deliver his grace to us unmediated – it just does not come out of the air – it always comes through physical means.

  16. Kevin H says:

    MLD, so in your understanding, God in some manner that is beyond our ability to fully understand as humans, delivers grace, salvation, and forgiveness through His Supper and baptism. Now what for the believer who may not be baptized or who rarely if never takes the Lord’s Supper? (I am not advocating that this should happen, just drawing up a hypothetical.) A believer who has repented of their sins before God and has placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Do they still receive grace, salvation, and forgiveness? And if they do, if they were then to get baptized and begin taking the Lord’s Supper, do they then receive extra measures of grace, salvation, and forgiveness, above what they already have, as a manner of speaking? Again, not trying to provoke, just trying to learn and understand.

  17. Fly on a Wall says:

    ” I believe once you’re saved, you are always saved, unless you chose to not abide in the faith.”

    Can you explain this paradox further?

    Your salvation is not based upon works. Therefore you cannot lose it.
    But you can decide not to receive it anymore. In other words, you can walk away from the faith, but your salvation was not taken from you.

    Kevin H: You commented you attend a Calvary Chapel, which is Evangelical and Armenian. I know the doctrine well. I recommend not getting into it with MLD, or worse, let him influence you.

    It’s a Lutheran thing, they believe that the bread and wine literally become the flesh and blood of Christ. So the sacrament is very holy and precious to them. They have their go-to verses to back it up.

  18. Alex says:

    Well, regardless whether one “correctly understands” what is Truth regarding this matter…it either happens as a “means of Grace” or it doesn’t. Can’t hurt to take the Sacraments.

    If it is a “means of Grace” then I’m sure God imparts it upon participation, whether one has a “correct understanding” of it or not. My guess is that Evangelicals who participate in taking the Sacraments get some Grace when doing so…and conversely, when Lutherans take the Sacraments expecting they are receiving “means of Grace”…and if Truth is they are wrong…at least they are “remembering” the death and resurrection of Jesus during those moments, so regardless, doesn’t hurt to do it.

    Neglecting doing it can only be a net negative in the sense one is either “not” taking it as an opportunity to “remember” what Jesus did as commanded in Scripture…or one is “not” receiving a means of Grace. Either way, I’m eating the juice and cracker 🙂

  19. Alex says:

    MLD, do you believe one must have a “correct understanding” of the Sacraments in order to receive the “means of Grace” you describe?

    Can one take the Sacraments believing it is “in remembrance” and not a mystical “body and blood” thing…and still receive the “means of Grace”? Or, does an “incorrect” understanding of this “mystery” you describe, nullify the magic?

  20. Fly, you had better quit while you are ahead. Twice now on this thread you have stated “what Lutherans believe” (salvation and now the elements) and in both cases you have been not just wrong – but absolutely wrong. This is why you should get into with me – at least to learn what other believe and not what you think they believe.

    Lutherans believe that Jesus’ body and blood are really present in the bread and the wine – we do not, now listen, we do not believe that the bread turns into the body and we do not believe that the wine turns into blood.

    However, we are actually eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus – just like he said.

    We say that the body and blood are “in, with and under” the elements – it’s a mystery – but we just believe what Jesus said – call us silly.

  21. Alex,
    “at least they are “remembering” the death and resurrection of Jesus during those moments, so regardless, doesn’t hurt to do it.”

    To you, is the mixture of wine and bread some magic elixir that cures memory loss. Is that the way you remember that you forgot about Jesus?

  22. Alex says:

    MLD, dunno.

    Does one have to have a “correct understanding” of the “mystery” you describe that occurs in the Sacraments in order to receive the Lutheran “means of Grace”?

    Can one correctly understand a “mystery”?

    Does a misunderstanding nullify the magic?

  23. “MLD, do you believe one must have a “correct understanding” of the Sacraments in order to receive the “means of Grace” you describe?”

    I don’t believe you can just make something up and substitute it for what the text says.

    My take on the Supper is exactly what the text says – others have an understanding that fits their reason and not the text.

    I gotta jump in the shower and get ready for work – but when I shower, I do so and remember my baptism … because between showers, I forget. 🙂

  24. Can one correctly understand a “mystery”?

    Does a misunderstanding nullify the magic?

    No, but you have to understand that it is a mystery – not understand the mystery. Memorialists do not see any mystery – take so grape juice, and bread – give a toast in remembrance of good ol’ Jesus and for your hymn sing “for he’s a jolly good fellow” and be dismissed.

  25. Alex says:

    OK, well, then it sounds like you’re cool with my thesis above that regardless it’s a good thing to take the Sacraments even if it is from a Memorialist understanding…as the Lutheran “means of Grace” is still in effect, even if the person taking the Sacraments doesn’t realize it, no?

  26. “it’s a good thing to take the Sacraments even if it is from a Memorialist understanding…”

    I don’t

    Do you have to understand the difference between Yahweh and Allah to be a Christian? or is it just good nuff to use the word God? It’s the same type of thing. I think the text is clear they way it is – you think you need to add human reason.

    Which is fine – we can be brothers and sit in different buildings on sundays. 🙂

  27. One other thing – so that there is less mystery – before you can take the supper with us, we teach you “the what and why” of what you are doing vs. the evangelical who announces right before the supper “if you are not a Christian you can’t take the supper – but if you become a Christian right now (and we will explain that to you later) you can take the supper (and we will explain that to you later also.”)

  28. Kevin H says:

    Fly, I am not looking to be influenced by MLD. I am seeking to better understand from a tradition outside of mine. My questions would hold to others, too, if anybody would want to interject, not just MLD. I know that MLD can get pretty argumentative at times with some here, but I am not seeking an argument or debate. I’m seeking to learn from someone who is well versed in their tradition.

    My church background is much deeper than Calvary Chapel but I have always been in churches that take a memorialist view. That is why I’m seeking to understand better other perspectives. As for Arminian/Calvinist, I have never taken a label for myself as it is a subject I have never totally settled in my mind. And I’m also not Armenian at all; my heritage is mostly German. 🙂

  29. Kevin H says:

    MLD, my questions at 16 still stand if you get the chance.

  30. PP Vet says:

    To some, the definition of “mystery” is … a mystery.

    A mystery is not something that cannot be understood.

    A mystery is something that can be understood only by revelation.

  31. PP Vet says:

    I suppose one could argue that a mystery can be “known” by revelation but still not “understood”.

  32. Kevin H,
    I will get back to your !6 – I need to leave for work

    Why do people always talk of the Arminian / Calvinism views as if they are the only views – Lutherans are neither.

  33. Michael says:

    I’m a Calvinist…and I affirm this statement of faith. We have the Lords table every Sunday in my church.

  34. Alex says:

    So, MLD, do you believe that a Memorialist who takes the Sacraments is “receiving the means of Grace”? yes or no?

  35. Alex says:

    If your answer is “no”…then the magic you describe hinges entirely on “a correct understanding” of the doctrine you are espousing regarding the Sacraments…and there are huge implications from a Philosophical Logic framework for taking that position…and it opens a whole can of worms (LOL, Diet of Worms vague reference intended)…

    Think it all the way through bro. Leads to some interesting Conclusions.

  36. Alex,
    “So, MLD, do you believe that a Memorialist who takes the Sacraments is “receiving the means of Grace”? yes or no?”

    I think that memorialist would deny that they are receiving the means of grace – as they do not believe that ANY thing let alone grace, salvation and forgiveness of sins is attached.

    So, and this is only a maybe… when Jesus said “do this” perhaps they are not doing the “do this”

  37. Alex,
    “then the magic you describe hinges entirely on “a correct understanding” of the doctrine”

    You are not the first to tell me I believe in magic – but that is not it at all. To one such as yourself who attributes as much to human reason as to revelation, what I describe would seem like magic.

    But is it magic that if you hear or the word of God you get saved? What makes hearing any different than getting wet?

  38. if you hear or the word of God

    Should be

    if you hear or read the word of God

  39. Alex says:

    The use of the word “magic” seems to be a hangup in our communication.

    Insert “mystery” for magic.

    Does the “mystery” still occur in the Sacraments if I take them from a Memorialist understanding? Is the “mystery” that occurs contingent upon my “correct understanding”? Or, does it happen regardless? Is it God’s work…or does it require my Synergy…my “correct understanding” for the mystery to occur and for the “Grace” to occur?

  40. Alex says:

    You could also insert “miracle” for magic as well…

  41. Alex says:

    My position is that “Correct Understanding” cannot trump the mystery that occurs when one takes the Sacraments…if there is in fact some miraculous that occurs.

    Otherwise, the “miracle” of the Sacraments is contingent on Man’s Understanding of what you describe as a “mystery”. Seems a pretty difficult paradox to resolve.

    It lends me to believe that “if” the Lutheran position is in fact correct, that the mystery/miracle occurs when one takes the Sacraments…whether they realize/understand it or not.

    Does it take a “correct understanding” of all points of doctrine/Theology for one to believe in Jesus for Salvation?

    If so, then we better make sure we pick the right Doctrinal/Theological Box…or we might be toast…

  42. Well you beat on “all points” which goes back to satisfying man’s reason.

    Look, if you don’t believe God is delivering anything, then how are you going to receive? This is like saying, “when it rains, if you get wet you are baptized.”

    I am saying that you (memorialists don’t ask for anything in the Supper – so that’s probably what you get.

  43. If someone has a bible in their house do they get the benefit if they never read it? They literally have the word of God.

  44. Kevin H says:

    Hey MLD, don’t forget about my #16.

    I know Alex keeps distracting you and all. But that’s okay. My alma mater (for grad school anyway) just knocked out Alex’s Boise State Broncos from the NCAA tournament last night. So I’m one up on Alex right now anyway. 🙂

  45. Sorry Kevin H,
    Just the short version. Whatever God delivers, he delivers by physical means. The means of grace are not just baptism and communion. They also include the spoken word and the written word.

    The cross was 2,000 yrs ago and many many miles away. In fact, the cross isn’t even there any longer. God has set up ways that he is present in our life that he may do a continual work in us.

    People’s faith grows weak and weary, people need assurance that their sin is forgiven etc.

    No one would suggest that people keep their faith strong etc by neglecting the word – why the sacraments? Do we just read the word to remember Jesus like a reference book – or does something real happen when God’s word is preached or read – and I mean to the believer?

    I know many evangelicals think that once a person is saved they no longer need to hear the gospel preached to them – but the gospel being preached has the same effect on the believer as it does the unbeliever.

    If someone is not baptized or does not take the Lord’s Supper, I guess they can be saved, but I would want to know why they neglect. Some neglect because they were told “no big deal.”

  46. Fly on a Wall says:

    MLD says: “I know many evangelicals think that once a person is saved they no longer need to hear the gospel preached to them – but the gospel being preached has the same effect on the believer as it does the unbeliever. ”

    I believe that Scripture is a mystery. I believe the actual words of Scripture create change in your spirit. That’s why I believe QT and reading the Bible are essential. Is my Calvary Chapel background showing?

    But you’re right, most Evangelicals do not. That’s why I feel these hip-happening new mega-churches, who do not rely on scripture, but rather personal testimonies, are not as potent.

    So I very much believe in mystery. As for the sacraments? Ok MLD, you’ve convinced me to take Sacraments more seriously. I’ve always taken it but never paid close attention. Must I go to a Lutheran church to take sacraments properly? What is your beef? What are we doing wrong?

  47. Alex says:

    Kevin H said, “My alma mater (for grad school anyway) just knocked out Alex’s Boise State Broncos from the NCAA tournament last night.”

    Grrrrrrrrrrrr 🙂 Thanks for picking at the fresh scab 😆

  48. No beef Fly. I am just pointing out a monumental theological difference between us. I look at the sacraments as we state “the means of grace” – that God is delivering something to us.
    You (I will use the plural you here) look at the sacraments as obedience that you deliver back up to God.

    So, without saying right or wrong – no one can say that we are close on this issue.

  49. Alex says:

    MLD said, “Look, if you don’t believe God is delivering anything, then how are you going to receive? This is like saying, “when it rains, if you get wet you are baptized.”

    Alex: No, IMO, it’s like saying that you followed the command in Scripture by Jesus to “do this in remembrance of me”…and then whatever happens, happens from God, whether one has a “correct understanding” or not.

    MLD said, “I am saying that you (memorialists don’t ask for anything in the Supper – so that’s probably what you get.”

    Alex: Maybe, maybe not. I think that if your position is correct, then God does the miracle/mystery regardless of a “correct understanding”…when one obeys the command to “do this in remembrance of me”.

    MLD said, “If someone has a bible in their house do they get the benefit if they never read it? They literally have the word of God.”

    Alex: In the context of the “miracle” of Salvation…yes. One doesn’t have to “read the bible” to be saved. Salvation appears to be a monergistic act of God through the Holy Spirit and can happen upon hearing the Gospel from a missionary making a drawing and not being able to communicate the language of the new convert…that is if you believe natives are saved when missionaries crudely communicate the Gospel to them, even though they don’t have a “correct understanding” of what they told them other than something about God and Jesus.

  50. Alex – “upon hearing the Gospel from a missionary making a drawing and not being able to communicate the language of the new convert…”

    Me – It is still God using physical means.

    Alex – “do this in remembrance of me”…

    me – What I am saying is that we are not doing the same “do this”. – think about it – are we doing the same thing? My do this is receiving – you do this is giving.

  51. Kevin H says:

    Thank you MLD.

  52. Kevin H says:

    Alex, I could pick at old scabs and post something from the 2008 or 2009 NLCS’s instead, if you like. I’m sure MLD would appreciate that, too. 🙂

  53. Alex says:

    MLD, thanks for the responses, there is certainly nuance and you articulate your position very well. I’ll let it go, I think we covered it pretty thoroughly and others are probably sick of it by now 🙂

    Kevin H, OUCH! 🙂 We’ve spent enough money this year to at least break .500! 😆

  54. Babylon's Dread says:

    Imagine three thousand years of prohibition against eating the meat with the blood in it. Then this man comes speaking of the ancient covenant and tells you that you that the new covenant spoken about by Jeremiah is in HIS BLOOD and instructs you to drink it.

    Imagine the faint echo of David wafting through his words remembering David speaking of the sacrifice of the mighty men who secured the waters of Bethlehem for him, “I will not drink the blood of these men.” Jesus however comes as the living water of Bethlehem sacrificing his blood that we might drink. What shock and horror might indeed MUST have filled those disciples as they contemplated a cup with the blood of Jesus. I want to ask them what they felt. The best I can do is ‘remember’ Jesus and enter into the same covenant by faith eating and drinking this man’s flesh and blood.

    Yes I think it is a sacrament and more if a word can carry more. No wonder we fight so much over this covenant meal. But how can we?

  55. Beautiful Babs.

    I’ve said before, I don’t believe in sacraments. I do believe that communion should be taken very seriously, and practiced regularly.

  56. Goose says:

    Morning all –

    Honest question here….

    Aren’t all the Lord’s Supper passages really just Passover passages?

    Thanks!

  57. Babylon's Dread says:

    Judaizers are multiplying like rats.

  58. Goose says:

    BD –

    “Judaizers are multiplying like rats.”

    If this answer is in response to my question at 56, I am disappointed.

    When this rat reads the Lord’s Supper passages in the Gospels all I see is Passover.

    What am I missing?

    Thanks!

  59. Eating the flesh and drinking the blood should not have been an issue – Jesus had already wiped out all of the OT dietary laws by this time.

  60. Babylon's Dread says:

    Goose,

    You probably are only missing my suspicion of all things that smack of the “roots” movement. Every day some new Messianic cult arises from the Hebraic Roots. Each one is a new revelation of how the LORD wants to be worshiped and followed. Each one is just a re-establishing of Torah as the means of pleasing God.

    If you see the Passover in the Supper that is OK except that I see every covenant meal in the scriptures in the Lord’s Supper not just Passover. And by doing that we avoid the inevitable drift toward some OTHER piece of the Law that we need to practice.

  61. Goose says:

    BD –

    Thanks for your response.

    However, the Gospels don’t seem to support the “Passover in the Supper” as you have alluded too. If anything, they seem to support the “Supper within the confines of the Passover celebration”, at least as reckoned by a simple reading of the Gospel accounts.

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