“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread…”
1 Cor. 11:23
“Thus they provoked Him to anger with their inventions…”
Order of Contents
Romanism has five more sacraments than protestants do: Confirmation, Penance, Marriage, Ordination and Extreme Unction (or a Last Anointing). As Romanists can cite verses in the New Testament for each of these things (Acts 9:17; Lk. 3:8; Mt. 19:5-6; Acts 13:2-3; James 5:14), why are they not sacraments?
The reason is because a sacrament is “an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, #92) While some of these other rites of the Romanists are ordinances, yet none of them were instituted by Christ (the Mediator of the New Covenant), none of them are signs or seals of the Covenant of Grace (representing Christ or his benefits) and some of them are even held in common with unbelievers.
As one would predict of Antichrist, he pretexts Bible verses, twists and perverts them, adds to them his own man-made traditions, and then sets them forth as of equivelent authority as the very sacraments that Christ actually instituted. Where Romanism gets two of them right, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, yet she even so corrupts these as to greatly mar and deface them.
The standard reformed writings on these important subjects (not always easily found elsewhere), besides showing the Biblical reasons for why protestants are right and the Papal religion is wrong (for your greater benefit in making your way to Heaven), will greatly clear up modern confusion on these topics while very helpfully elucidating their true nature. For instance:
– As Romanism holds that in Confirmation the Holy Spirit is conferred to the youthful recipient through the continuing apostolic authority of the Church through their bishops, this being pretexted on verses in the Gospels and Acts, so protestants here assert and argue for Cessationism.
– In contrast to much modern confusion on marriage, even by the evangelicals, the protestants argued from Scripture and nature against Rome that the firm and habitual consent of a man and woman unto the institution of marriage in fact makes them married, and the Church and State are to recognize, confirm and enforce this.
This correct teaching will become more and more important as civil governments and churches misdefine marriage (as if they can prescriptively make it to be this or or that by their own fiat) and as it becomes more and more entangling and perilous for Christians to get marriage ‘licenses’. See further our section, ‘Mutual Consent Makes a Couple Married’.
– Reformed Christians often hold that laying on of hands in ordination is a religiously symbolic, necessary rite that actually confers the authority of ordination. See numerous classic reformed theologians argue against you, that laying on of hands is a natural symbol signifying who is being prayed for, that it is not necessary or even normative, and that it does not confer the authority of ordination; the consent of presbytery does. See further our section, ‘What is the Nature of the Laying on of Hands, Who May do it & is it Essential, Efficient or Proper?’
– Romanists defend their practice of a priest anointing the dying and performing various superstitious rites in Extreme Unction on James 5:14. While modern evanglical pastors often, in imitation of this verse, anoint sick Christians with oil, as if it were a Christian rite, a means of grace or a mystical sacrament, and Charismatics expect modern miracles of healing on demand out of it, see numerous historic reformed theologians argue that the oil was simply a cultural custom of refreshment, not necessary today, and argue, again, for Cessationism. See also our section, ‘On Anointing with Oil’.
Take the time to read through some of these writings. Become ‘mighty in the Scriptures’ (Acts 18:24); seek out the Lord’s precepts, more than for gold and riches; uphold and preserve the Lord’s teachings; pass them on to your children and make the Lord’s name great in this earth.
Calvin, John – bk.4, ch. 19, ‘Of the Five Sacraments, Falsely so Called. Their Spuriousness Proved & their True Character Explained’ in Institutes of the Christian Religion trans. Henry Beveridge (1559; Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1845)
Vermigli, Peter Martyr – The Common Places… (d. 1562; London, 1576/1583)
pt. 2, ch. 10, ‘The Seventh Precept’, section 63, p. 462
pt. 4, ch. 8, ‘Of Repentance, where also is Treated of Sacraments’, pp. 208-211
Appendix, ch. 7, ‘Of Sacraments, & Namely of Circumcision’, section 4, p. 99
Musculus, Wolfgang – V. ‘Of the Number of the Sacramental Signs of the New Testament’, pp. 273a – 275b ToC in Common Places of the Christian Religion (London, 1563)
Jewel, John – ‘Of the Number of the Sacraments’ to the end of the book in pt. 2 of Two Treatises: I. On the Holy Scriptures; II. On the Sacraments (Oxford: Parker, 1840), pp. 118-251
Jewel was a Calvinistic Anglican.
Brès, Guy de – The Staff of Christian Faith Profitable to all Christians… (1577)
Bres (1522-1567) was a Walloon pastor, a Protestant reformer and theologian, and a student of Calvin and Beza in Geneva.
Beza, Theodore – Question 87, ‘That there are Only Two Sacraments of the Christian Church’ 2 pp. in The Other Part of Christian Questions & Answers, which is Concerning the Sacraments (London, 1580)
pp. 246-249 of Sermon 6 in The Decades of Henry Bullinger… trans. H.I. (Parker Society, 1852), 5th Decade Bullinger discusses at length what constitutes a sacrament throughout the whole chapter.
Questions of Religion Cast Abroad in Helvetia [Switzerland] by the Adversaries of the Same, and Answered by H. Bullinger of Zurich, Reduced into 17 Common Places trans. John Coxe (London, 1572)
pp. 83-4 of 9th Common Place, ‘Of Sacraments’, 38th Question
13th Common Place, ‘Of Repentance & Confession’ See specifically the 50th Question, pp. 110-113
Ursinus, Zechariah – 2nd Part, ‘Of Sacraments’, 11. ‘How Many Sacraments there are of the New Testament’, pp. 707-708 in The Sum of Christian Religion… (Oxford, 1587)
Students of Geneva – 57. ‘Principles Touching the Number of the Sacraments of the New Testament’ in Propositions & Principles of Divinity Propounded & Disputed in the University of Geneva by Certain Students of Divinity there, under Mr. Theodore Beza & Mr. Anthony Faius… (Edinburgh, 1591), pp. 169-72
Willet, Andrew – Synopsis Papismi, that is, ‘A General View of Papistry’ (1592)
Controversies on the Sacraments, 3rd Question, ‘Of the Number & Order of the Sacraments’, pp. 422-425
Controversies of the 5 Other Popish Sacraments, pp. 501-553
15. ‘Of Matrimony’
Bucanus, William – 46th Common Place, ‘Of the Sacraments in General…’, ‘How many Sacraments are thereof the Christian Church?’ in Institutions of Christian Religion... (1602; London, 1606), pp. 676-677
Bucan (d. 1603) was a professor of divinity at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Attersoll, William – The Badges of Christianity, or a Treatise of the Sacraments Fully Declared out of the Word of God… (London, 1606), bk. 1, pp. 73-106
ch. 16, ‘Of the Number of Sacraments’
ch. 20, ‘That Orders are No Sacrament’
Du Moulin, Pierre – 35th Article, ‘Of the Number of Sacraments’ in The Buckler of the Faith: or a Defense of the Confession of Faith of the Reformed Churches in France, Against the Objections of M. Arnoux the Jesuit, wherein All the Principal Controversies between the Reformed Churches & the Church of Rome are Decided (London, 1620), pp. 375-461 For a detailed table of contents to this lengthy section, see the table of contents to the whole volume.
Wolleb, Johannes – ch. 22, ‘Of the Seals or Sacraments…’, section VI, pp. 187-90 in Abridgment of Christian Divinity (1626), pp.
Leigh, Edward – Section IX, ‘The Sacraments of the New Testament are Only Two’, pp. 659-661 of bk. 8, ch. 7, ‘Of the Sacraments’ in A System or Body of Divinity… (London, 1654)
Anon. – The Anatomy of Popery, or a Catalogue of Popish Errors in Doctrine & Corruptions in Worship, Together with the Agreement between Paganism, Pharisaism & Popery (London, 1673), ch. 1, pp. 131-143
Rijssen, Leonard – Controversy 2, ‘Are there are only two sacraments: baptism and the holy Supper? Or are there seven? We affirm the former and deny the latter against the Papists.’ in ch. 17, ‘The Sacraments’ in A Complete Summary of Elenctic Theology & of as Much Didactic Theology as is Necessary trans. J. Wesley White MTh thesis (Bern, 1676; GPTS, 2009), pp. 226-27
Sylvester, Matthew – Sermon 21, ‘There are but Two Sacraments Under the New Testament’ in Puritan Sermons at Cripplegate (London: Thomas Tegg, 1844), vol. 6, pp. 427-53
Sylvester was an English puritan.
à Brakel, Wilhelmus – ch. 38, ‘The Sealing of the Believer…’, ‘The Number of Sacraments’ in The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 2 trans. Bartel Elshout (1700), pp. 484-85
Willard, Samuel – Sermon 231, Question 93, ‘Which are the Sacraments of the New Testament’ in A Complete Body of Divinity in 250 Expository Lectures on the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism (d. 1707; 1726)
Willard was a New England puritan.
Pictet, Benedict – Ch. 4, ‘The Sacraments in General & the Eucharist in Particular’ in The Roman Catholic Religion Examined, & its Errors Refuted (d. 1724; London), pp. 27-31
Pictet (1655–1724) was the professor of theology at Geneva after Francis Turretin.
ed. Gibson, Edmund & John Cumming – A Preservative Against Popery, in Several Select Discourses upon the Principal Heads of Controversy Between Protestants & Papists, being written & Published by the Most Eminent Divines of the Church of England, Chiefly in the Reign of King James II [1685-88] (London, 1848), vol. 8, ‘The Popish Doctrine Concerning the Sacraments Confuted’
Bk. 1, ‘The Number & Nature of Them in General’
I. ‘No Catholic Tradition for Seven Sacraments’, pp. 98-134 Dr. Stillingfleet
Bk. 2, ‘The Pretended Sacrament of Extreme Unction’
Bannerman, James – Pt. 3, Division 2, Subdivision 4, ch. 1, section 1, ‘Differences Between the Sacraments & Non-Sacramental Ordinances’ in The Church of Christ… (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1868), pp. 15-20
Hodge, Charles – ch. 20, ‘The Means of Grace’, section 3, ‘The Number of the Sacraments’ in Systematic Theology (NY: Charles Scribner, 1872), vol. 3, pp. 492-497
Dabney, Robert L. – Lecture 61, ‘The Sacraments’, section 5, ‘But Two New Testament Sacraments. Rome has Seven.’ in Syllabus & Notes of the Course of Systematic & Polemic Theology (St. Louis: Presbyterian Publishing Co. of St. Louis, 1878), pp. 732-36
Heppe, Heinrich – ch. 24, ‘Sacraments in General’, section 30, ‘Regarding the Number of the Sacraments…’ in Reformed Dogmatics ed. Bizer, trans. Thomson (d. 1879; 1950; Wipf & Stock, 2007), pp. 609-610
Heppe block quotes Rijssen.
Aretius, Benedict – 6th Place, ‘Of the Number of the Sacraments’ in Examination of Theology: A Brief and Clear, Written Out Method (Morgiis, 1584), pp. 115-119
Szegedin Pannonius, Stephan – Common Places of Pure Theology, of God & Man, Explained in Continuous Tables & the Dogma of the Schools Illustrated (Basil, 1585/93) The work is in the form of outlines. Szegedin (1515-1572) also was known as Stephan Kis.
3. Of Popish Doctrine
Sacraments in General 481
Discrimination & Division of Sacraments 482
Mass, or the Supper 484
Extreme Unction 485
Priesthood, or Ordination 486
Oral Confession 490
Piscator, Johannes – Theological Theses, vol. 2 (Herborn, 1606-1607)
14. Of the Number of the Sacraments
15. Of Baptism
16. Of the Holy Supper of the Lord
17. Of the Words of the Lord’s Supper, ‘This is my body’, and ‘This is my blood’
18. Of the Papal Mass
19. Of the Sacrament which they call Penance, where it is displayed that Penance is not a Sacrament
20. Of the Falsely-Named Sacrament, Extreme Unction
Tilen, Daniel – 58. ‘Of the Sacraments, Disputation 4, which is on their Number’ in An Ordered Arrangement of Theological Disputations held in the Academy of Sedan, vol. 2 (1607, 1611), pp. 668-83 Tilen (1563-1633)
Pareus, David – Collection 9, ’40 Disputations on the Controversies of the Jesuit Cardinal, Robert Bellarmine’ in Theological Collections of Universal Orthodox Theology, where also All of the Present Theological Controversies are Clearly and Variously Explained (1611/20) Pareus (1548-1622)
Collection 2, Disputations
vol. 2, Collection 9, Contra Bellarmine
21. Of the Effect, Difference & Number of the Sacraments 498
22. Of the Sacrament of Baptism & of Confirmation 503
23. Of the Eucharist 510
24. Of the Possibility of the Presence of the Body of
. Christ under the Appearance of the Eucharist 515
25. Of the Substance, Rite, Effect, Integrity & Veneration of
. the Sacrament of the Eucharist 520
26. Of the Mass 525
27. Of the Pseudo-Sacrament of Penitence 530
28. Of Indulgences, Extreme Unction, Ecclesiastical Order
. & Matrimony 536
Hommius, Festus – 70 Theological Disputations Against Papists (Leiden, 1614)
43. Number, Effects & Ceremonies of the Sacraments 262
44. Baptism 267
45. Baptismal Ceremony 273
46. Confirmation 277
47. Supper of the Lord 281
48. Right Use & Effects of the Lord’s Supper & the Communion Under Both Kinds 289
49. Mass 296
50. Penitence 305
51. Oral Confession & of Satisfaction 311
52. Indulgences & of Release [Iubilaeo] 318
53. Extreme Unction & of the Order 326
54. Marriage 332
Scharp, John – 36. ‘Of the Five Spurious Sacraments’ in A Course of Theology, in which all the Dogmas & Controversies of Faith agitated in this generation between us and Papists are handled one by one and the arguments of Bellarmine are responded to (Geneva, 1620), vol. 1, cols. 1523-1574
Alsted, Johann Heinrich – Polemical Theology, Exhibiting the Principal Eternal Things of Religion in Navigating Controversies (Hanau, 1620; 1627) Alsted (1588-1638)
Sacraments in General 465
Baptism & Confirmation 475
Sacrament of the Eucharist & the Sacrifice of the Mass 483
Penitence & Indulgences 502
The Three Other Sacraments: Extreme Unction, Ordination & Matrimony 513
Panstratiae Catholicae, or a Body of the Controversies of Religion Against the Papists, vol. 4 (Sacraments) (Frankfurt, 1627-1629)
Book 4, Of the Number of the Sacraments, of Confirmation, of Penance, of Extreme Unction, of Ordination, of Marriage 69
Book 5, Of Baptism 115
Book 6, Of the Eucharist & of the Elements 145
Book 7, Of the Adoration of the Eucharist 165
Book 8, Of Both Species: Catholic Arguments 197
Book 9, Papal Arguments 228
A Body of Theology, or Theological Common Places (Geneva, 1653) Chamier (1564–1621)
Gomarus, Franciscus – Disputation 39, ‘Of the Five False Sacraments of the Papists’ in All the Theological Works (Amsterdam, 1644), vol. 2, Part 3, Part 1, Theological Disputations, pp. 152-155
Forbes, John – bk. 9, ‘Of the Sacraments in General, where is of the Nature, Efficacy & Number of the Sacraments of the New Testament’, pp. 441-73 ToC in Historical & Theological Instructions on Christian Doctrine, the Varied State of Things, on the Errors & Controversies that have Arisen… (Amsterdam, 1645)
Revius, Jacobus – 331 Disputations of Compendious Theology, vol. 2 (1649), no page numbers Revius (1586-1658)
Marck, Johannes à – ch. 29, ‘The Sacraments of the Covenant of Grace; in particular: Circumcision, Pascha & Ones Falsely Named as such from the New Testament’ in A Compendium of Christian Theology, Didactic & Elenctic (Amsterdam, 1696; 1722), pp. 551-78
Heidegger, Johann Heinrich – The Marrow of Christian Theology: an Introductory Epitome of the Body of Theology (Zurich, 1713), ch. 25, ‘Of External Worship…’
7-8. Of the Sacraments of the New Testament
30. Of the Additional Rites of Baptism
57. Of Bodily Chewing
58. Of the Change of the Supper upon the Pronouncement [tesseram] in the Service
59. Of the Spurious Sacraments, even of Confirmation
60. Of Penance
61. Of Extreme Unction
62. Of Ordination
63. Of Marriage
Rodolph, Johann R. – bk. 4, ch. 18, ‘Of the Number of the Sacraments’ in Christian Theology, Things of the Faith, or Things to be Believed about God & his Ways in the World & Church, under Diverse Temporary Economies (Bern, 1714), pp. 509-515 Rodolph (1646-1718)
On Anglican Confirmation
‘To the next section in the 197th page’ in A Reply to an Answer made of Mr. Doctor Whitgift Against the Admonition to the Parliament (1573), pp. 199-200
2nd Part, ch. 4, 2nd Part, ‘Of Confirmation of Children & Women’s Churching’ in The Rest of the Second Reply of Thomas Cartwright Against Master Doctor Whitgift’s Second Answer Touching the Church Discipline (Basel, 1577), pp. 232-34
Perth Assembly... ([Leiden, 1619]), pp. 87-95
“Imposition of hands used in so diverse actions, civil and religious, was no sacrament… it was only a simple rit and sign of limitation or restraint, specifying or setting forth the party on whom we desire God to pour his blessing: that is, it was only an indicant [indicator] and demonstrative sign of the person on whom the blessing was poured, and not a significant or declaratiue sign of the blessing or grace itself bestowed…
The confession of Wirtemburg has these words, ‘Of a temporal and personal fact of the apostles, a general and perpetual sacrament cannot be ordained in the Kirk without a special command of God.’” – p. 87
“The gesture of imposition of hands other reformed Kirks, and ours also, have omitted [in praying for youth being admitted to the Table]: because it was a rite indifferent: for it was but an indicant sign of the person admitted: and because it has been, and is still abused to make up a bastard sacrament, the sacrament of confirmation, which we have condemned, not only in the [Scottish] Confession of Faith, but also in the [2nd] Confession of Helvetia approved in the general assembly [of the Church of Scotland] holden at Edinburgh, anno 1566.” – p. 89
“Is not the Lord’s Supper the true sacrament of confirmation of our faith, as well as confirmation of charity?” – p. 91
‘Of Confirmation’ in A Re-Examination of the Five Articles Enacted at Perth, Anno 1618… ([Holland?] 1636), pp. 209-221
For Anglican Confirmation
Hall was a reformed Anglican and divine right epsiscopalian.
Baptist Works for a Baptist Confirmation of Believers
Chamberlain, Peter – A Discourse Between Captain Kiffin & Dr. Chamberlain about Imposition of Hands (London, 1654)
The context of this document appears to have been amongst the sects in London during the mid-1650’s. The parties distinguish themselves from the presbyterians. They also mention that they at one time had discarded baptism (as some of the sects had done), though no longer. (p. 1)
Chamberlain argues for the imposition of hands in prayer with regard to all baptized believers, as a sort of confirmation, associated with the giving of the Holy Ghost. Kiffin argues against it.
A Sigh for Peace, or, The Cause of Division Discovered, wherein the Great Gospel Promise of the Holy Ghost, & the Doctrine of Prayer with Imposition of Hands, as the way Ordained of God to Seek for it, is Asserted & Vindicated… ([London] 1671)
Grantham (1634-1692) was an English general baptist.
The Fourth Principle of Christ’s Doctrine Vindicated, a Brief Answer to H. Danvers’ Book, intituled, A Treatise of Laying on of Hands, Plainly Evincing the True Antiquity & Perpetuity of that Despised Ministration of Prayer, with the Imposition of Hands for the Promise of the Spirit… (London, 1674)
Keach, Benjamin – Darkness Vanquished: or, Truth in its Primitive Purity, being an Answer to a late book of Mr. Henry Danvers, entitled, A Treatise of Laying on of Hands. Wherein his mistakes & cloudy apprehensions about it, are in a faithful and friendly manner rectified, his grand obiections answered, & Imposition of Hands upon Baptised Believers, as such with Prayer for the Spirit of Promise is Proved, to be a Holy & Divine Institution of Jesus Christ, and Accordingly Practiced by the Apostles & Primitive Saints. Together with the Testimony of many Famous Writers, both Ancient, & of later times concerning it (London, 1675) 39 pp.
Malcom, Howard – Theological Index... (Boston, 1868)
‘Confirmation’, p. 120
‘Imposition of Hands’, p. 233
‘Auricular Confession’, p. 39
‘Penance’, p. 351
‘Absolution’, p. 13
‘Marriage’, pp. 286-7
‘Ordination’, p. 333
‘Extreme Unction’, p. 181
“And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her:”
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord…”
“Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance…”