Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fussing about Ordination Being Called a Sacrament

Crab, crab, crab.  "It's Catholic to call ordination a sacrament."  (Wait.  Did you read that last sentence correctly?  "Catholic" has to be spoken with a scrunched-up nose and have a definite tone-of-insult.)

I realize that the Roman Catholic Church teaches some things about ordination that aren't scriptural.  It almost seems to me it's like magic: the priest is given "indelible character" that makes him (in his own person!) able to do things laymen cannot.

But what if "ordination" is "being put under orders" -- and those orders are the commands of Christ to baptize and to preach and to forgive and to administer the Supper and to judge doctrine?  If the pastor's power is entirely in the Word of God, and if those actions are a means through which God gives grace (not particularly to the ordinand alone but to the man's whole congregation), then why would anyone object to a high view of ordination??

The Confessions themselves say:
If ordination be understood as applying to the ministry of the Word, we are not unwilling to call ordination a sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God's command and glorious promises -- "The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to every one that believes" (Rom 1:16).  Likewise, Is 55:11 -- "So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please." If ordination be understood in this way, neither will we refuse to call the imposition of hands a sacrament. For the Church has the command to appoint ministers, which should be most pleasing to us, because we know that God approves this ministry, and is present in the ministry.  (Apology XIII:11-12)

So, what's the problem?  Consider it a sacrament (without consenting to the errors of Rome).  Or consider it not-a-sacrament (without consenting to the errors of the Anabaptists ... a far more prevalent problem in today's society). But why should it be an issue?

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