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Sacrament v. Ordinance

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I believe baptism and the Lord's Supper are sacraments not just ordinances.

R.C. Sproul states that "Though Protestants recognize other rites such as marriage as special ordinances, they are not recognized as attaining the level of sacraments. Sacraments are limited to: (1) those ordinances directly instituted by Christ, (2) ordinances that are by their very nature significant, (3) ordinances designed to be perpetual, and (4) ordinances designed to signify, instruct, and seal the believers who receive them in faith."

1.) How else can I justify, prove, or back what Dr. Sproul notes above that baptism and communion are weightier than just ordinances?

2.) I also believe that when believers are baptized they do nothing. In other words it is not a public profession of faith. In my Presbyterian upbringing a believer's profession of faith is typically done before they are baptized.Baptism is a marking (a seal) of God's people into the Covenant Family. How can I defend that baptism is a seal or the marking of God's people vs. it is a public profession of faith?


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Solution Preview

I do have to say that I find both positions to be of value. I even tend to think that both views are necessary in order to have a fuller understanding of the Eucharist itself.

For example, the group that prefers to view it as an ordinance has a very important point that I think many of those who view it as a sacrament need to keep in mind: the Lord's Supper is an act of obedience. Even those with perhaps the highest sacramental view, the Catholic Church, have noticed that this high view of the bread and wine has led to a sharp decline in parishioners' participation. The act is not just proclaiming the Lord's death before he comes again, but also their own oneness with the Lord Jesus Christ as a fully functioning member of his body. We do well to remember that obedience to the Lord is important - especially in the act which he instituted himself to point specifically to his crowning act of ...

Solution Summary

The definition of baptism and eucharist as 'sacraments' vs. 'ordinances' is explained, with examples drawn from established, published theological works.