Archive for the ‘Sacraments’ Category

Doug Wilson simply being brilliant here.

The problem with most discussions about Baptism is that, beyond exegesis, there is the need to address the way rituals and symbols work and have their effect on human beings and inter-personal relationships. That is, there are linguistic, anthropological and sociological dimensions to them.

It may interest people that it was while reading and studying for my thesis on the chilean indie scene, that I became more and more convinced to the efficacy of the sacraments. And this was fundamentally linked to reading books like The social Construction of Reality by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman. Now, certainly there are many aspects of that book (and others) with which I strongly disagree, coming from a secular worldview that actually seeks to reinforce cultural relativity.

Nevertheless, it was interesting to learn about the essentially linguistic, ritualistic (habitual) and symbolic nature of human beings. We grasp reality, ourselves and others via language and symbols. It is essential for allowing us to “know”, to “learn” and to “relate”. It is the tool with which we interpret and make sense of reality. And symbols and language therefore, have concrete, objective effects on us. If someone I love says “I hate you”, I don’t think “Oh well, she just said that to me, but we know that language really doesn’t ‘do’ anything, therefore I won’t take that seriously”.

And this (at least) seems to be in accordance with Scripture. We see a God that creates, relates, reveals and redeems via language, His Word. And we see in His Word, his creatures, human beings, as the only part of creation that is able to respond to its creator on the level of language as well, and relating to Him in a special way. This is why it is essential for Christians to seek everyday that their worldview, there interpretation and understanding of reality, by shaped by God Word. Christian epistemology is fundamentally Word-based, Word-formed. And ultimately only possible through the sovereign work of God’s Spirit.

Now this doesn’t deny the real danger of the ill-use of language for deception. Satan uses language to bring sin into the world and even attempts to twist Scripture to brake the Son’s march towards the cross. James (amongst others) warns about the destructive potential of the human tongue. But if anything, this actually reinforces the power that language has. What needs to happen to language is the same that needs to happen to all of the fallen created order: it must be redeemed, brought under the Lordship of Christ. Language that used to divide and destroy, must now reconstruct, restore and build up and so on.

Lets be careful in out use of language and symbols. May they clearly communicate the truth of the Gospel. May the practice of the Sacraments in the Church be an opportunity to clearly present Jesus, His death and resurrection, and not an occasion for spiritual confusion and deception.


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I found this old article on “Baptism” by Peter Leithart. Its short and sweet, and very challenging to both the “catholic” AND “protestant” views on Baptism (although, I believe that he’s questioning the “popular protestant” view, not that of the Reformers themselves). He notes the serious problems both camps tend to have, in regards to their presuppositions concerning the “physical” and the “spiritual”. Click on the image below to go to the article.

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Date-Dabitur has posted a real conversation he had with his son, 22 years ago. Quite an outstanding piece, really. Shocking, funny and tragic, all at the same time. Check it out, here.

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From the Church Society, here is the full article.



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When it comes to Ecclesiology and the Sacraments I have been through quite a journey. My Diocese has been strongly influenced by the theology of Moore College and Sydney Anglicanism. Despite it’s internal diversity, SydAngs have been strongly affected themselves by the theology of Donald Broughton Knox. In many ways this is a good thing: DB Knox had a sharp mind and is very encouraging and challenging when it comes to Biblical studies. However, when it comes to the Sacraments, Knox held a view that was quite radical (he in fact, denied that Baptism was commanded by Jesus). This affected my thinking of the sacraments for many years.

Lately however, after a long process and journey (too long and boring to write about), I have come to a position on the sacraments much closer to traditional reformed thinking. Here area few of my personal reflections and ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and the Christian identity (this is not meant to be comprehensive).

1.- Taking into account the role of the Passover meal in Israel, the Eucharist allows the Church in every generation to be afresh, the New people of the New Covenant, renewing the promises associated with it, as well as the commands of Christ.

2.- It flows from the above, that every generation is allowed to participate in the life-giving and redeeming death of the Lamb, and everytime that the Church participates in it, their Apostolic identity is renewed (or reminded, or reinforced): Heralds who proclaim Christ’s death until His Return (1 Cor. 11:26). The act of eating in of itself, is proclamation.

3.-The act, in the present, reflects God’s New Creation on Earth now, inaugurated in the church, that is Christ’s body and the temple of Christ’s Spirit. That is, it is a reflection of the Communion of the Trinity:

3.1 – Communion with God, through Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

3.2 – Comunion with each other as members of God’s Family.

4.- It anticipates the meal (wedding Banquet) in the consumated New Creation. In this sense, it is an expression of the inauguration of God’s New Creation, in the midst of the Old.

5.- It reminds us, (strengthens us) that we a community with a mission to be living sacrifices (which is implied in the BCP Eucharist Liturgy), calling us to both bear the cross, and live life now in the New Creation.

A few remaining questions:

¬ What can the Leviticus sacrifices teach us about the Lord’s Supper (if they have anything to teach us at all). I’m particularily curious about those sacrifices where the sinner eats the food that is burnt. Is all this linked to the “body and blood” references en John 6?

¬ What of the other Old Testament feasts in general? What can they teach us about this?

¬ Is there room for revision in the way we “do” the sacrament?

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