What are the differences between Sacraments and Ordenances?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thinkingstuff, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    So what are the theological differences between the sacraments and ordenances of the chruch. Any thoughts?
     
  2. billwald

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    Sacraments are to ordinances as infant baptism is to infant dedication. <G>
     
  3. annsni

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    I agree with Bill. The way I see it, ordinances are things that we're "ordered" to do - and we do them in obedience. Sacraments are more like "sacrifices" - they actually do something in the act beyond what the act is. So baptism as an ordinance is just doing an act in obedience to the Lord's command. Baptism as a sacrament is believing that it washes away our sins.

    Atleast that's my understanding of it.
     
  4. Zenas

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    Thinkingstuff, like you I have never darkened the door of a seminary classroom so this is somewhat simplistic.

    An ordinance is a ritual or rite we are commanded to do. Most Baptists have two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's supper. A few Baptists (mainly of the Freewill variety) add foot washing to their list of ordinances. These are outward symbols and are not intended to convey any form of grace. In other words, nothing spiritual happens when we do these things. They operate as our testimony of faith in obedience to God's word.

    A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of inward and invisible grace. The outward sign (baptism, for example) is the channel through which grace is imparted on the recipient of the sacrament. Scripture contains instances where Jesus used a sacramental kind of approach to performing some of his miracles.
    • Using water to make wine, rather than creating wine out of thin air.
    • Spitting in a blind man's eyes to restore his sight.
    • Casting out demons into a herd of swine, rather than just getting rid or them.
    In general, sacraments are recognized by the RCC, Anglicans and Orthodox, who prefer to call them mysteries. The RCC recognizes 7 sacraments, some of which are easily recognized in scripture, others requiring more discernment. They are
    1. Baptism
    2. Reconciliation (confession)
    3. Confirmation
    4. The Eucharist (communion)
    5. Holy matrimony
    6. Holy orders (ordination)
    7. Annointing of the sick (formerly called last rites)
    All sacraments except baptism and holy matrimony require a priest to perform. I can't really comment on the theology behind excluding these two sacraments from the exclusive purview of the priesthood.
     
    #4 Zenas, Aug 1, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2008
  5. Marcia

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    Sacraments are part of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, and some of the Protestant ones (Lutheran and maybe others).

    The problem with the sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church is that it is supposed to give grace to the recipient - infused grace. This is not a biblical view. Grace is a gift and does not come from something we do.

    Roman Catholics focus on the Mass and the Eucharist and other sacraments because they believe they get infused grace from them. This makes it so that the grace of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is not sufficient.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Typically, sacraments work ex opere operata ... They work of themselves. A sacrament accomplishes what it signifies. An ordinance is a visible symbol of a saving truth.
     
  7. donnA

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    An ordance is a symbol,it is done for obedience, not to earn grace or favor from God, a sacrament is for the purpose of earning grace from God.
     
  8. Thinkingstuff

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    Those words in and of themselves make no sence you have to build on it to make sence for any discussion. What is it you are getting act. Infant baptism is the same thing as infant dedication and if so there is no difference? Is that your point?
     
  9. Thinkingstuff

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    Then as a baptist why must I be baptised? Why can't believe be enough? I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal savior (something I do) and then Grace is passed on to me and I become born again. If this is enough to guarantee salvation whats the point of being baptised?
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

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    That's the best explanation I've heard yet. You must have gone to seminary! Though it doesn't explain why I must be baptised as a baptist.
     
  11. Thinkingstuff

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    I believe you are mistaken. Look at the previous post. The sacraments are an operation of grace nothing is earned.
     
  12. Zenas

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    I wouldn't say it's a way of earning grace because the concept of earning involves a quid pro quo. It is more a way in which you obtain free grace. It's like buying groceries at Kroger. Typically you have to buy (earn) these groceries by paying money when you check out. However, if someone gives you a $100 Kroger gift card, all you have to do when you check out it swipe the card. The groceries are free. They were bought by someone else. All you have to do is pick them up at the store. So in this analogy the sacrament is the trip to the store.

    To carry this analogy a little further, in an economy of nonsacramental grace the person who actually pays for groceries goes to Kroger, lays down cash at the check out, brings the groceries to your house and stacks them in your pantry.

    In neither case are they bought (or earned). With sacramental grace you have to go get the groceries, even though they are free. With nonsacramental grace the groceries are delivered to you.
     
  13. Thinkingstuff

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    Thanks for flushing it out a bit.
     
  14. nunatak

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    I think there is something more about Sacraments than simply a means of grace. Sacraments also concern the visible body of Christ. Thus we see in Acts 2 all believers came together with all things in common, and dedicated themselves to teaching, prayers, as well as baptism and the Lord's supper. Thus in this respect the Sacramental idea not only conveys grace to the body of believers, but also signify them as the body of believers.

    This doesn't seem to hold true with the Ordinance camp. They would hold to the visible body of Christ being set apart by grace through faith alone.
     
  15. Marcia

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    You are saved even if you are not baptized. But we get baptized to signify our faith and our identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do it out of obedience.
     
  16. Marcia

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    But isn't it true that one reason Catholics believe they should go to Msss, confess, and participate in the Eucharist (which is quite different from communion or the Lord's Supper in what it means), is because they need this grace?

    They believe they get this grace through the sacraments - there is no biblical support for this view at all. It is one of the snares of the RC Church.
     
  17. annsni

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    Because Jesus said so. He also said to love your neighbor as yourself. If you're saved anyway, why love your neighbor as yourself? Because Jesus said so. That's good enough for me.
     
  18. Zenas

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    Well, yes it is true that this is their way of receiving grace. As far as biblical support, some seem to have more support than others. Also, whether there is biblical support for a sacrament often depends on your understanding of the scripture used in support of them. For example:
    1. Baptism. John 3:5; Romans 6:4
    2. Reconciliation. John 20:23; 1 John 1:9
    3. Confirmation. Acts 8:17.
    4. The Eucharist. John 6:53-58
    5. Holy Matrimony. Mark 10:6-9 (not as clear as some of the others)
    6. Holy orders (ordination). Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3
    7. Annointing of the sick. James 5:14-15 (perhaps the strongest scriptural support for any sacrament).
    Your understanding of scripture may not lead you to conclude that the sacraments have scriptural support, but you cannot deny that a straightforward reading of them does offer some support for a sacramental economy of grace. For instance, you may not think John 3:5 refers to baptism and if you are right there is no scriptural support for sacramental baptism to be found in that verse. If you are wrong, then it is crystal clear that something happens during baptism that enables one to enter the kingdom of God.

    Similarly, you may not believe John 20:23 shows Jesus conferring the power of absolution on His disciples. If you interpret this verse to mean that the disciples were given power to proclaim the gospel and those who responded had their sins forgiven and those who did not had their sins retained, then you will find no support for the sacrament of reconciliation in this verse. But if you believe it means what it literally says, there is strong support in this verse for the sacrament.
     
    #18 Zenas, Aug 2, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2008
  19. Marcia

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    I fail to see how these passages make these actions sacraments.

    I believe in baptism but not as a sacrament. It boils down to the beliefs beind sacraments, as I pointed out. One is not saved or regenerated by water baptism, but by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The word "baptism" in the NT did not always refer to water baptism.

    Of course, John 6 does not support the belief in Transubstantiation, a "sacrament" not included in any creed until 1215 and not defined until the Council of Trent, a Council which declared that any belief in salvation and justification by faith alone is "anathema" (accursed). The RC Church has never reversed this.

    There are many refutations to the use of John 6 as support for Transubstantiation, but that would be another thread. I have read all the pro-Transub. views and none of them fly. I have even debated it (not publicly).


    This power was given to the apostles. I do not believe that such apostolic powers were passed down. But there is even a bigger issue here - the authority of the RC Church, which is too big an issue for this thread.
     
  20. billwald

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    >What is it you are getting act. Infant baptism is the same thing as infant dedication and if so there is no difference? Is that your point?

    Sort of. Not exactly. In their guts, Baptists want to baptize their infants so they invent infant dedication. In the same way, Baptists are not permitted to "believe in" sacraments so Baptists rename them "ordinances."

    When Samuel was dedicated to the Lord, he was turned over Eli. It was a great cost to Samuel's mother. (It was samuel, yes?) When a child is dedicated to God it doesn't cost the parents anything. The relationship between the child and the parent does not change. The parent does not expect the child to go into the priesthood (ministry) or whatever. I would be more impressed if paychecks or personal cars were dedicated to God. Fat chance of that.
     

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