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A sacrament is a Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance.There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a channel for God's grace. Many denominations, including the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed, hold to the definition of sacrament formulated by Augustine of Hippo: an outward sign of an inward grace, that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God's grace in a way that is outwardly observable to the participant.
The Catholic Church and the Old Catholic Church recognise seven sacraments: Baptism, Reconciliation (Penance or Confession), Eucharist (or Holy Communion), Confirmation, Marriage (Matrimony), Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction).The Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church also believe that there are seven major sacraments, but apply the corresponding Greek word, μυστήριον (mysterion), also to rites that in the Western tradition are called sacramentals and to other realities, such as the Church itself. Many Protestant denominations, such as those within the Reformed tradition, identify two sacraments instituted by Christ, the Eucharist (or Holy Communion) and Baptism. The Lutheran sacraments include these two, often adding Confession (and Absolution) as a third sacrament. Anglican and Methodist teaching is that "there are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord," and that "those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel."
Some traditions do not observe any of the rites, or hold that they are simply reminders or commendable practices that do not impart actual grace—not sacraments but "ordinances" pertaining to certain aspects of the Christian faith.
The English word "sacrament" is derived indirectly from the Ecclesiastical Latin sacrāmentum, from Latin sacrō ("hallow, consecrate"), from sacer ("sacred, holy"). This in turn is derived from the Greek New Testament word "mysterion". In Ancient Rome, the term meant a soldier's oath of allegiance. Tertullian, a 3rd-century Christian writer, suggested that just as the soldier's oath was a sign of the beginning of a new life, so too was initiation into the Christian community through baptism and Eucharist.
Roman Catholic theology enumerates seven sacraments:Baptism, Confirmation (Chrismation), Eucharist (Communion), Penance (Reconciliation)(Confession), Matrimony (Marriage), Holy Orders (ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, or episcopate) and Anointing of the Sick (before the Second Vatican Council generally called Extreme Unction). The list of seven sacraments already given by the Second Council of Lyon (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439) was reaffirmed by the Council of Trent (1545–1563), which stated:
CANON I. – If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord; or that they are more, or less, than seven, to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; or even that any one of these seven is not truly and properly a sacrament; let him be anathema.
CANON IV. – If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification; – though all (the sacraments) are not necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.
During the Middle Ages, sacramental records were in Latin. Even after the Reformation, many ecclesiastical leaders continued using this practice into the 20th century. On occasion, Protestant ministers followed the same practice. Since W was not part of the Latin alphabet, scribes only used it when dealing with names or places. In addition, names were modified to fit a "Latin mold". For instance, the name Joseph would be rendered as Iosephus or Josephus.
The Catholic Church indicates that the sacraments are necessary for salvation, though not every sacrament is necessary for every individual. The Church applies this teaching even to the sacrament of baptism, the gateway to the other sacraments. It states that "Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament."But it adds: "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments," and accordingly, "since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God."
In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, "the sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions."
The Church teaches that the effect of the sacraments comes ex opere operato , by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it.However, as indicated in this definition of the sacraments given by the Catechism of the Catholic Church , a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block a sacrament's effectiveness in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and, through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.
Though not every individual has to receive every sacrament, the Church affirms that for believers the sacraments are necessary for salvation. Through each of them, Christ bestows that sacrament's particular healing and transforming grace of the Holy Spirit, making them participants in the divine nature through union with Christ.
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|Eastern Orthodox Church|
The Eastern Orthodox tradition does not limit the number of sacraments to seven, holding that anything the Church does as Church is in some sense sacramental. However, it recognizes these seven as "the major sacraments" which are completed by many other blessings and special services.Some lists of the sacraments taken from the Church Fathers include the consecration of a church, monastic tonsure, and the burial of the dead. More specifically, for the Eastern Orthodox the term "sacrament" is a term which seeks to classify something that may, according to Orthodox thought, be impossible to classify. The Orthodox communion's preferred term is "Sacred Mystery", and the Orthodox communion has refrained from attempting to determine absolutely the exact form, number and effect of the sacraments, accepting simply that these elements are unknowable to all except God. According to Orthodox thinking God touches mankind through material means such as water, wine, bread, oil, incense, candles, altars, icons, etc. How God does this is a mystery. On a broad level, the mysteries are an affirmation of the goodness of created matter, and are an emphatic declaration of what that matter was originally created to be.
Despite this broad view, Orthodox divines do write about there being seven "principal" mysteries. On a specific level, while not systematically limiting the mysteries to seven, the most profound Mystery is the Eucharist or Synaxis, in which the partakers, by participation in the liturgy and receiving the consecrated bread and wine (understood to have become the body and blood of Christ) directly communicate with God. No claim is made to understand how exactly this happens. The Eastern Orthodox merely state: "This appears to be in the form of bread and wine, but God has told me it is His Body and Blood. I will take what He says as a 'mystery' and not attempt to rationalize it to my limited mind". [ citation needed ]The emphasis on mystery is characteristic of Orthodox theology, and is often called apophatic, meaning that any and all positive statements about God and other theological matters must be balanced by negative statements. For example, while it is correct and appropriate to say that "God exists", or even that "God is the only Being which truly exists", such statements must be understood to also convey the idea that God transcends what is usually meant by the term "to exist".
The seven sacraments are also accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy, including the Coptic Orthodox Church,Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Armenian Orthodox Church.
Anglican and Methodist sacramental theology reflects its dual roots in the Catholic tradition and the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic heritage is perhaps most strongly asserted in the importance Anglicanism and Methodism places on the sacraments as a means of grace and sanctification,while the Reformed tradition has contributed a marked insistence on "lively faith" and "worthy reception". Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians participating in an Anglican/Roman Catholic Joint Preparatory Commission declared that they had "reached substantial agreement on the doctrine of the Eucharist". Similarly, Methodist/Roman Catholic Dialogue has affirmed that "Methodists and Catholics affirm the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This reality does not depend on the experience of the communicant, although it is only by faith that we become aware of Christ's presence." The Catholic Church and the World Methodist Council jointly understand the word "sacrament" as referring not only to the sacraments considered here, but also to Christ and the Church.
Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles in Anglicanism and Article XVI of the Articles of Religion in Methodismrecognise only two sacraments (Baptism and the Supper of the Lord) since these are the only ones ordained by Christ in the Gospel. The article continues stating that "Those five commonly called Sacraments ... are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel ... but have not the like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, for they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained by God." These phrases have led to a debate as to whether the five are to be called sacraments or not. A recent author writes that the Anglican Church gives "sacramental value to the other five recognised by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches" but these "do not reveal those essential aspects of redemption to which Baptism and Communion point". Some Anglicans maintain that the use of "commonly" implies that the others can legitimately be called sacraments (perhaps more exactly "Sacraments of the Church" as opposed to "Sacraments of the Gospel"); others object that at the time the Articles were written "commonly" meant "inaccurately" and point out that the Prayer Book refers to the creeds "commonly called the Apostles' Creed" and the "Athanasian" where both attributions are historically incorrect.
Anglicans are also divided as to the effects of the sacraments.Some hold views similar to the Roman Catholic ex opere operato theory. Article XXVI (entitled Of the unworthiness of ministers which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament) states that the "ministration of the Word and Sacraments" is not done in the name of the minister, "neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness," since the sacraments have their effect "because of Christ's intention and promise, although they be ministered by evil men". As in Roman Catholic theology, the worthiness or unworthiness of the recipient is of great importance. Article XXV in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Anglicanism and Article XVI in the Articles of Religion in Methodism states: "And in such only as worthily receive the [sacraments], they have a wholesome effect and operation: but they that receive them unworthily purchase for themselves damnation," and Article XXVIII in Anglicanism's Thirty-Nine Articles (Article XVIII in Methodism's Articles of Religion) on the Lord's Supper affirms "to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ". In the Exhortations of the Prayer Book rite, the worthy communicant is bidden to "prepare himself by examination of conscience, repentance and amendment of life and above all to ensure that he is in love and charity with his neighbours" and those who are not "are warned to withdraw".
This particular question was fiercely debated in the 19th century arguments over Baptismal Regeneration.
Lutherans hold that sacraments are sacred acts of divine institution.Whenever they are properly administered by the use of the physical component commanded by God along with the divine words of institution, God is, in a way specific to each sacrament, present with the Word and physical component. He earnestly offers to all who receive the sacrament forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. He also works in the recipients to get them to accept these blessings and to increase the assurance of their possession.
Melanchthon's Apology of the Augsburg Confession defines sacraments, according to the German text, as "outward signs and ceremonies that have God's command and have an attached divine promise of graces". His Latin text was shorter: "rites that have the command of God, and to which is added a promise of grace".This strict definition narrowed the number of sacraments down to three: Holy Baptism, the Eucharist, and Holy Absolution, with the other four rites eliminated for not having the ability to forgive sin, although at least one or two have the command of God. Lutherans do not dogmatically define the exact number of sacraments. In line with Luther's initial statement in his Large Catechism some Lutherans speak of only two sacraments, Baptism and the Eucharist, although later in the same work he calls Confession and Absolution "the third sacrament". The definition of sacrament in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession lists Absolution as one of them. It is important to note that although Lutherans do not consider the other four rites as sacraments, they are still retained and used in the Lutheran church (with the exception of Extreme Unction although some Lutheran churches do practice it ). Luther himself around the time of his marriage and afterwards became one of the greatest champions of Marriage (Holy Matrimony), and the other two (Confirmation and Ordination) were kept in the Lutheran Church for purposes of good order. Within Lutheranism, the sacraments are a Means of Grace, and, together with the Word of God, empower the Church for mission.
John Calvin defined a sacrament as an earthly sign associated with a promise from God. He accepted only two sacraments as valid under the new covenant: baptism and the Lord's Supper. He and all Reformed theologians following him completely rejected the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the treatment of the Supper as a sacrifice. He also could not accept the Lutheran doctrine of sacramental union in which Christ was "in, with and under" the elements.
The Westminster Confession of Faith also limits the sacraments to baptism and the Lord's Supper. Sacraments are denoted "signs and seals of the covenant of grace".Westminster speaks of "a sacramental relation, or a sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other". Baptism is for infant children of believers as well as believers, as it is for all the Reformed except Baptists and some Congregationalists. Baptism admits the baptized into the visible church, and in it all the benefits of Christ are offered to the baptized. On the Lord's supper, Westminster takes a position between Lutheran sacramental union and Zwinglian memorialism: "the Lord's supper really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance as the elements themselves are to their outward senses."
Members of the Latter-day Saint movement often use the word "ordinance" in the place of the word "sacrament", but the actual theology is sacramental in nature.Latter-day Saint ordinances are understood as conferring an invisible form of grace of a saving nature and are required for salvation and exaltation. Latter-day Saints often use the word "sacrament" to refer specifically to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, also known as the Lord's Supper, in which participants eat bread and drink wine (or water, since the late 1800s) as tokens of the flesh and blood of Christ . In Latter-day Saint congregations, the sacrament is normally provided every Sunday as part of the sacrament meeting and, like other Latter-day Saint ordinances such as baptism and confirmation, is considered an essential and sacred rite. Latter-day Saint ordinances which are considered "saving" include Baptism, Confirmation, Sacrament of the Lord's Supper (Eucharist), Ordination (for males), Initiatory (called Chrismation in other Christian Traditions), Endowment (similar to a monastic initiation involving the taking of vows and reception of priestly clothing), and Marriage. .
In the Community of Christ, eight sacraments are recognized, including "baptism, confirmation, blessing of children, the Lord's Supper, ordination, marriage, the Evangelist Blessing, and administration to the sick".
The enumeration, naming, understanding, and the adoption of the sacraments formally vary according to denomination, although the finer theological distinctions are not always understood and may not even be known to many of the faithful. Many Protestants and other post-Reformation traditions affirm Luther's definition and have only Baptism and Eucharist (or Communion or the Lord's Supper) as sacraments, while others see the ritual as merely symbolic, and still others do not have a sacramental dimension at all.[ citation needed ]
In addition to the traditional seven sacraments, other rituals have been considered sacraments by some Christian traditions. In particular, foot washing as seen in Anabaptist, Schwarzenau Brethren, German Baptist groups or True Jesus Church,and the hearing of the Gospel, as understood by a few Christian groups (such as the Polish National Catholic Church of America ), have been considered sacraments by some churches. The Assyrian Church of the East holds the Holy Leaven and the sign of the cross as sacraments.
Since some post-Reformation denominations do not regard clergy as having a classically sacerdotal or priestly function, they avoid the term "sacrament", preferring the terms "sacerdotal function", "ordinance", or "tradition". This belief invests the efficacy of the ordinance in the obedience and participation of the believer and the witness of the presiding minister and the congregation. This view stems from a highly developed concept of the priesthood of all believers. In this sense, the believer himself or herself performs the sacerdotal role.[ citation needed ]
Baptists and Pentecostals, among other Christian denominations, use the word ordinance rather than sacrament because of certain sacerdotal ideas connected, in their view, with the word sacrament.These churches argue that the word ordinance points to the ordaining authority of Christ which lies behind the practice.
Some denominations do not have a sacramental dimension (or equivalent) at all. The Salvation Army does not practice formal sacraments for a variety of reasons, including a belief that it is better to concentrate on the reality behind the symbols; however, it does not forbid its members from receiving sacraments in other denominations.
The Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) also do not practice formal sacraments, believing that all activities should be considered holy. Rather, they are focused on an inward transformation of one's whole life. Some Quakers use the words "Baptism" and "Communion" to describe the experience of Christ's presence and his ministry in worship.
The Clancularii were an Anabaptist group in the 16th century who reasoned that because religion was seated in the heart, there was no need of any outward expression through the sacraments.
Members of the Chinese new religious movement known as The Church of Almighty God, or Eastern Lightning, do not practice formal sacraments per the Church's theology. [ better source needed ]
Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing or "unction" for the benefit of a sick person. It is practiced by many Christian churches and denominations.
The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during a Passover meal, Jesus commanded his disciples to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.
Transubstantiation is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, "the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of his Blood. This change is brought about in the eucharistic prayer through the efficacy of the word of Christ and by the action of the Holy Spirit. However, the outward characteristics of bread and wine, that is the 'eucharistic species', remain unaltered." In this teaching, the notions of "substance" and "transubstantiation" are not linked with any particular theory of metaphysics.
Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church, as well as in Anglican, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches.
Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.
Penance is repentance of sins as well as an alternate name for the Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. It also plays a part in confession among Anglicans and Methodists, in which it is a rite, as well as among other Protestants. The word penance derives from Old French and Latin paenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven. Penance and repentance, similar in their derivation and original sense, have come to symbolize conflicting views of the essence of repentance, arising from the controversy as to the respective merits of "faith" and "good works". Word derivations occur in many languages.
In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism, confirmation is seen as the sealing of Christianity created in baptism. Those being confirmed are known as confirmands. In some denominations, such as the Anglican Communion and Methodist Churches, confirmation bestows full membership in a local congregation upon the recipient. In others, such as the Roman Catholic Church, confirmation "renders the bond with the Church more perfect", because, while a baptized person is already a member, "reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace".
A rite is an established, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:
The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a term used in Christian theology to express the doctrine that Jesus is really or substantially present in the Eucharist, not merely symbolically or metaphorically.
In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two main but separate meanings: it may refer to Jesus' words over the bread at the celebration of the Jewish feast of Passover that "This is my body" in Luke 22:19–20, or it may refer to all individuals who are "in Christ" 1 Corinthians 12:12–14.
The means of grace in Christian theology are those things through which God gives grace. Just what this grace entails is interpreted in various ways: generally speaking, some see it as God blessing humankind so as to sustain and empower the Christian life; others see it as forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Eucharistic discipline is the term applied to the regulations and practices associated with an individual preparing for the reception of the Eucharist. Different Christian traditions require varying degrees of preparation, which may include a period of fasting, prayer, repentance, and confession.
Eucharistic theology is a branch of Christian theology which treats doctrines concerning the Holy Eucharist, also commonly known as the Lord's Supper. It exists exclusively in Christianity and related religions, as others generally do not contain a Eucharistic ceremony.
Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
In keeping with its prevailing self-identity as a via media or "middle path" of Western Christianity, Anglican sacramental theology expresses elements in keeping with its status as a church in the catholic tradition and a church of the Reformation. With respect to sacramental theology the Catholic tradition is perhaps most strongly asserted in the importance Anglicanism places on the sacraments as a means of grace, sanctification and forgiveness as expressed in the church's liturgy.
Anglican eucharistic theology is diverse in practice, reflecting the comprehensiveness of Anglicanism. Its sources include prayer book rubrics, writings on sacramental theology by Anglican divines, and the regulations and orientations of ecclesiastical provinces. The principal source material is the Book of Common Prayer, specifically its eucharistic prayers and Article XXVIII of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Article XXVIII comprises the foundational Anglican doctrinal statement about the Eucharist, although its interpretation varies among churches of the Anglican Communion and in different traditions of churchmanship such as Anglo-Catholicism and Evangelical Anglicanism.
Baptismal regeneration is the name given to doctrines held by major Christian denominations which maintain that salvation is intimately linked to the act of baptism, and that salvation is impossible apart from it. Etymologically, the term means "being born again" "through baptism" (baptismal). Etymology concerns the origins and root meanings of words, but these "continually change their meaning, … sometimes moving out of any recognisable contact with their origin … It is nowadays generally agreed that current usage determines meaning." While for Reformed theologian Louis Berkhof, "regeneration" and "new birth" are synonymous, Herbert Lockyer treats the two terms as different in meaning in one publication, but in another states that baptism signifies regeneration.
An ordinance is a religious ritual whose intent is to demonstrate an adherent's faith. Examples include baptism and communion, as practiced in the Christian traditions such as Anabaptists, all Baptist churches, Churches of Christ groups, and Pentecostal churches. Ordinance is not to be confused with sacrament.
Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.
The Lutheran sacraments are "sacred acts of divine institution". Lutherans believe that, whenever they are properly administered by the use of the physical component commanded by God along with the divine words of institution, God is, in a way specific to each sacrament, present with the Word and physical component. They teach that God earnestly offers to all who receive the sacrament forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. They teach that God also works in the recipients to get them to accept these blessings and to increase the assurance of their possession.
87. What is a sacrament? A sacrament is an outward sign, appointed by Christ, of an inward grace. (Rom. 4:11.)
A sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace.
Augustine defines a sacrament as "an outward sign of an inward grace". Reformed tradition subscribes to this definition (see McKim 2001: 135).
The Old Catholic Church accepts seven sacraments, the intermediaries of salvation.
The Augsburg Confession drawn up by Melanchton, one of Luther's disciples admitted only three sacraments, Baptist, the Lord's Supper and Penance. Melanchton left the way open for the other five sacred signs to be considered as "secondary sacraments". However, Zwingli, Calvin and most of the later Reformed tradition accepted only Baptism and the Lord's Supper as sacraments, but in a highly symbolic sense.
In the first place I deny that the sacraments are seven in number, and assert that there are only three, baptism, penance, and the Lord's Supper, and that all these three have been bound by the Roman Curia in a miserable captivity and that the Church has been deprived of all her freedom.
Baptism and eucharist are 'not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession,' (Anglican and Methodist). ... They are that, but they are also 'certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace' (Anglican), or 'certain signs of grace and of God's good will toward us' (Methodist) ... Thereby, they not only 'quicken but also strengthen and confirm our faith.' ... they are 'means of grace,' a point agreed on in other sources by both Anglicans and Methodists. Sacraments are thus seen as being 'from above' That is, they are divine acts directed toward humanity as a way of ultimately sanctifying us.
The idea of a sacrament is ideally suited to holding together internal and external, visible and spiritual, and both Catholics and Methodists have begun to speak of the Church itself in a sacramental way. Christ himself is "the primary sacrament", and, as the company of those who have been incorporated into Christ and nourished by the life-giving Holy Spirit, "the Church may analogously be thought of in a sacramental way." United Methodists and Catholics both proclaim that the church itself is sacramental, because it effects and signifies the presence of Christ in the world of today.
The Community of Christ acknowledges the Book of Mormon and Doctrines and Covenants, but they do not replace the Bible, which now tends to be used exclusively during worship as the church's Scripture. Congregations roughly follow the mainstream churches' Revised Common Lectionary. From the 1960s, doctrinal reassessment took place, and the Community of Christ affirms the doctrine of the Trinity and acknowledges eight sacraments: baptism, confirmation, blessing of children, the Lord's Supper, ordination, marriage, the Evangelist Blessing, and administration to the sick.
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