The Sacraments

.

Subsections

Baptism

The Lord’s Supper

.

.

Order of Contents

How the Sacraments Work
Articles
Book
Whether Local Church Membership is Necessary to Partake of the Sacraments?

.

.

How the Sacraments Work

Rutherford, Samuel – The Efficacy of the Sacraments  1644  5 pp.  being pp. 211-215 of his Due Right of Presbyteries

This is perhaps the best concise explanation of how the Sacraments work.  Rutherford gives the standard, widely prevalent, vanilla reformed view of the Reformation.  The Sacraments work:

(1) as signs
(2) as seals
(3) are instruments by which faith works
(4) they are means of grace to be used in obedience to Christ’s command

What is noteworthy about these distinctions is that one could not fully explain the sacraments without all four distinctions (the distinctions are necessary).  Nor does one need more distinctions than these four in order to explain the Biblical material (these distinctions are sufficient to account for all of the Biblical data).  Thus, one may rest assured that here is the Biblical view of how the Sacraments are means of grace.  May it stir us up to greater faith in our Savior as we see Him represented and sealed to us in baptism and the Lord’s Supper!

.

.

Articles 

Berkhof, Louis – The Sacraments in General, 1950, 12 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology 

Binnie, William – The Sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, p. 68, 14 pages, from his The Church

Buchanan, James – The Sacramentalism of the Tractarian Movement, 1843, p. 61, 13 pages, in the context of the Oxford Tractarian Movement of the mid-1800’s, from his On the “Tracts for the Times”

Cunningham, William – Sacramentalism, 1863, p. 121, 11 pages, from his Historical Theology, vol. 2

Cunningham, William – Zwingli and the Doctrine of the Sacraments, 1862, p. 212, 79 pages, from his Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation

.

.

Book

Bullinger, Henry – Sermons on the Sacraments  d. 1575  300 pp.

Bullinger (1504-1575), the Swiss reformer, gives four sermons on the sacraments.  The first two are on the sacraments in general.  The third is on Baptism and the fourth in on the Lord’s Supper.


.

.

Whether Local Church Membership is Necessary to Partake of the Sacraments?

Articles

Rutherford, Samuel – Whether the Seals of the Covenant can be Denied to Professors of Approved Piety, because they are not Members of a Particular Visible Church, in the New Testament?  in The Due Right of Presbyteries, Pt. 2, pp. 185-203  1644

Ball, John – 3rd & 4th Positions  in A Trial of the New-Church Way in New England  1644

Daniel, Cawdrey – The Inconsistency of the Independent Way, with Scripture and itself, Manifested in a Threefold Discourse…  3.  A Diatribe with the same Mr. [Thomas] Hooker Concerning Baptism of Infants of Non-Confederate Parents, ch. 2 of his Third Part  ToC  Buy  1651

.

The Westminster Confession of Faith  1646

Intro

Notice that the Confession does not make being a member of a local Church, under the government of the Church, to be a requirement to having a right to the sacraments.  When the Confession speaks of the visible Church, it had already defined this in 25.2 as “all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children,” as the government of the Church is not of the essence of the Church.  Likewise, those externally in the Covenant of Grace are not simply all persons on the rolls of the government of the Church, but are all visible, professing believers and their children.

.

27.1  ‘Of the Sacraments’

“Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him; as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the church and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.”

28.4, ‘On Baptism’

“Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents, are to be baptized.”

[Notice the obligation that the Confession places upon ministers to baptize such qualified persons.]

.

See Also

The Baptism of the Children of Adherents

This question, amongst other things, involves the issue of baptizing children of professing believers who are members of the universal, visible Church, but are not under the government of a local church.

.

.

.

Related Pages