Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gospel as Center: chapter 13

Since this chapter discusses what The Gospel Coalition considers to be the key elements of the Sacraments (Baptism and the Lord's Supper), there are several key places where the material diverges from a Lutheran-Missouri Synod understanding. As such, I found reading it thought-provoking, so I went back to Luther's Large Catechism to examine more closely the Biblical rationale for why I believe what I believe.

Where TGC and the LC-MS agree:
  • Both Baptism and the Supper give grace to those who partake.
  • The Lord's Supper is only for believers, though most especially to strengthen weak faith.
  • Baptism is a seal that confirms God's ownership of us for our good.
  • The elements are "visible words" of God.
  • We should have a daily habit of "improving our Baptism" - that is, meditating on the gifts received and walking humbly that day and each day with our God.
  • The Lord's Supper attests to our unity as the body of Christ, so holding sin close to us as we come to eat and drink is not acceptable.
Where we digress:
  • TGC holds that there is no promise connected to the waters of Baptism, since water alone cannot convey spiritual life. This is qualified by the statement that "Baptism is God's means not to regenerate or justify us but to confirm his [sic] promise to us, put his [sic] mark on us, and assure us of his [sic] love, all of which serve to increase and strengthen the faith of the believer and thus promote our growth in grace" (p. 241).
  • TGC also holds that Christ is not bodily present in the Supper, since "not one of the . . .narratives focuses our attention" on this aspect (p. 250).
  • Lutherans hold that water baptism, because it is instituted by Christ (Matthew 28:19-20) and connected with God's efficacious name (Isaiah 55:10-11 and Psalm 54:1), does in fact give salvation.
  • Likewise, we also hold that Christ is truly ("real" i.e. bodily) present in the Lord's Supper, since He says, "This is My body. . .this is My blood" and, through Paul, that we participate in His body and blood as we eat and drink the elements.

1 comment:

High School Diploma Online said...

Great post and some really useful tips there. I love resource lists like this. Have social bookmarked it in the hope that others can also benefit.