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Home » CHFWeb Forum » HotTopics » Sacraments
Sacraments [message #528221] Mon, 27 April 2009 01:09 Go to next message
Elizabby  is currently offline Elizabby
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Sacraments[ 27 vote(s) ]
1.I don't believe in sacraments - I think God gives his grace directly 13 / 48%
2.I think the Bible is a sacrament, but nothing else physical. 0 / 0%
3.I believe the Bible and communion are sacraments, but nothing else physical. 2 / 7%
4.I believe that there are many sacraments, as taught by the church. 4 / 15%
5.I think there are lots of sacraments which vary from person to person. 1 / 4%
6.Not really sure... 3 / 11%
7.Something else... 4 / 15%

I was reading a book recently which in passing mentioned the idea of "sacraments" - these are physical earthly things which are used by God as a means of grace. One example is the Bible - a book of printed words written and made by men, but which through study and prayer the Holy Spirit can speak to us. Another example given was that of Communion/Eucharist/Lord's Table/etc - again, physical earthly items (bread, juice/wine) which can be used by God to give grace to us, empowerment and refreshment.

It struck me as I was reading that while the first example would be, I think, generally accepted that the second was probably more controversial?

Anyway, he then went on to say that LOTS of things in life can be seen as "sacramental" over and above the traditional ones taught by the church (Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Communion, Ordination, Last Rites, Anointing of the Sick, Confession) but that any time we minister to each other and God is there, that is God's grace through an earthly medium, so we could all be said to be ministering sacraments to each other. This struck me as even more controversial, so here's a poll on what we CHFWebbers would call "sacramental", if anything... Wink


Your sister in Christ,

Elizabby

Evie is six, Zoe is four, and Benji is two!

Not online as much these days, contact me through email or my blog if you want to talk to me!
Re: Sacraments [message #528247 is a reply to message #528221 ] Mon, 27 April 2009 08:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michele (Queen of Cheap)  is currently offline Michele (Queen of Cheap)
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I think that if you Believe Jesus is your personal savior then you are covered under His grace. However, there are things we can do to be obedient to his word and that includes baptism and communion. They are no REQUIREMENTS but rather a way you can show your love for Him by keeping his commandments.


Michele, The Organic Queen of Cheap!
(aka Shelly the Swamp Frog)

Happily posting on CHF since 1995


Re: Sacraments [message #528261 is a reply to message #528221 ] Mon, 27 April 2009 09:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kate Megill  is currently offline Kate Megill
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I have to confess that I simply do NOT understand the concept of "getting more grace" from God...especially through THINGS. It always sounds like God's grace is like an item in a vending machine...you put in the right THING and get out a grace item. If grace is unmerited favor from God, I don't get how I can DO something (read scripture, partake of communion, whatever) and get more favor like certain things are magic.

I am not being obtuse...this whole "getting more grace through sacraments" thing just doesn't even begin to make sense to my mind. I am His and I am living and walking in His grace...the fulness of His grace. PERIOD. It is part of my state of being and my new life in Christ, it's not a candy bar to be imbibed and gotten out of a vending machine whenever I feel like it.

Please know I'm not trying to offend anyone. This is just how my puny mind wraps unmanagably around this concept.


In His Joy and Grace,

Kate

Re: Sacraments [message #528284 is a reply to message #528221 ] Mon, 27 April 2009 10:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
bwsmith  is currently offline bwsmith
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In the church where we worship, they teach (I think) baptism and communion, preaching, fellowship, prayers, and Bible study are means of God's unmerited Grace.

I don't know how Grace works -- or why -- but I am glad it does. Smile


You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far. ~Uncle Remus

bwsmith
Re: Sacraments [message #528294 is a reply to message #528221 ] Mon, 27 April 2009 10:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
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My understanding theologically is that the two things accepted as sacraments according to the teachings of the Protestant church are baptism and The Lord's Supper (communion). My understanding is that these are considered sacraments because they were commanded by Jesus himself.

Now that you've raised the idea of receiving grace through the sacraments, I see I need to do a little research. I didn't realize that's what sacraments are supposed to be, and I'm right there with Kate on that--I understand God's grace to be given when we are saved, and it comes by Christ's death, through the Holy Spirit (or however the proper way to phrase that would be). It doesn't come to us through things or actions or rituals.

I looked it up, and dictionary.com says:
Quote:

Ecclesiastical. a visible sign of an inward grace, esp. one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace: the sacraments of the Protestant churches are baptism and the Lord's Supper; the sacraments of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders, and extreme unction.


That's how I understood it..."a visible sign of an inward grace" (at least that's how baptism is always presented in my denomination). Never thought to articulate the Lord's supper that way,necessarily.


I believe God can use various things, people and situations to get our attention and speak to us...but I've always considered that to simply be God leading us, and not some extra "grace" administered through something around us.

So...while in a different context, I'd say baptism and the Lord's supper are the sacraments, given the phrasing of your poll and subsequent question, I'd have to go with #1--I don't believe in sacraments; God gives us His grace directly.

I've never considered it in this context, but I think 1 Tim 2:5 might even apply--"There is but one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." If you have Christ, nothing else is necessary to "access" God or His grace, and "things" have no place in that relationship.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Sacraments [message #528295 is a reply to message #528284 ] Mon, 27 April 2009 10:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Carrie L  is currently offline Carrie L
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I'm with Kate. I don't get it. I don't think I even heard of sacraments until about 7 years ago when we started attending a different church. (I've been saved for 29 years) It all sounds mystical and rather bizarre to me. I wonder if I just haven't heard an accurate definition from someone who believes in sacraments. Confused I voted #1.


Carrie

Only three things are necessary to make life happy: the blessing of God, books, and a friend.
Re: Sacraments [message #528468 is a reply to message #528221 ] Mon, 27 April 2009 20:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Elizabby  is currently offline Elizabby
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Sorry, I obviously haven't explained it well.

In the context of this book "grace" is not "salvation/justification/etc" but is talking more about God's personal revelation, or drawing closer to God. Maybe God's "empowerment" would be a better term? It is not about becoming "more saved" or anything like that. The assumption is that the people who are doing/seeking God are already saved.

So the thesis of the book is that for those who are already saved (that is not at issue) God can use earthly things as a means to teach us more about Himself, God can speak to us and draw us closer to Himself through specific practices, God can use communion or the Bible or whatever to help us experience God or God's revelation. So "grace" isn't about favour or favours from God, or salvation, but about God's own essence and revelation.

Maybe about ways of "listening" for what God has to teach/show us? I've certainly had times where God seemed to be speaking more clearly to me than at other times - that kind of "close encounter".

Argh! The author of the book expresses it much better...


Your sister in Christ,

Elizabby

Evie is six, Zoe is four, and Benji is two!

Not online as much these days, contact me through email or my blog if you want to talk to me!
Re: Sacraments [message #528814 is a reply to message #528468 ] Tue, 28 April 2009 22:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michelle, IL  is currently offline Michelle, IL
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elizabby wrote on Mon, 27 April 2009 19:15

Sorry, I obviously haven't explained it well.

In the context of this book "grace" is not "salvation/justification/etc" but is talking more about God's personal revelation, or drawing closer to God. Maybe God's "empowerment" would be a better term? It is not about becoming "more saved" or anything like that. The assumption is that the people who are doing/seeking God are already saved.

So the thesis of the book is that for those who are already saved (that is not at issue) God can use earthly things as a means to teach us more about Himself, God can speak to us and draw us closer to Himself through specific practices, God can use communion or the Bible or whatever to help us experience God or God's revelation. So "grace" isn't about favour or favours from God, or salvation, but about God's own essence and revelation.

Maybe about ways of "listening" for what God has to teach/show us? I've certainly had times where God seemed to be speaking more clearly to me than at other times - that kind of "close encounter".

Argh! The author of the book expresses it much better...




Yes God can use the Bible to "reveal" Himself to us, if by "using the Bible" you mean that through reading and studying the Word of God that God reveals Himself to us; but if you mean that we can use A Bible as an object or any other object to get closer to God then I would say, "No". The Lord's Supper was given to us as a remembrance of Him and a showing forth of His death to the world. Baptism and communion were initiated and commanded by the Lord, not as ways to satisfy the participant, but to represent the sacrifice and redemption of Christ. We have access to God through Christ.

Quote:

Hbr 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;


Quote:

Eph 2:17-18 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.


We come to God through Christ. Scriptures tell us to "walk by faith not by sight". We are not to walk by sight or touch of things/practices. Looking for/initiating an experience can cause one to happen, but it doesn't mean anyone is closer to God. Seeking experiences through things/practices is man-oriented not God-oriented.

Experiences with/through things/practices are not the measure of truth. People, even nonbelievers, can have a good feeling "spiritual" experience and not be close to God. Experiences/feelings acheived through "things" or "practices" are not the gauge of truth. Our closeness to God can be determined by the fruit in our lives. Since no Scriptures tell us to use anything but faith in Christ to come to God, I don't think we can use "things" or "practices" to draw closer to God. The Bible does not teach the use of man-originated tools for such drawing closer to God.

Pagan religions use rituals, incantations, and techniques to evoke their gods. Christianity is the opposite - God has reached down to us and given us the means for reaching Him – faith in Jesus Christ. It is God who laid out the pattern for communication and relationship with Him.

Is it not enough that we have a Savior - the Word made flesh - who died for us and left us His written Word that is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."? 2 Tim. 3:16-17 Why should we seek a "feeling of closeness" through a thing or practice?

The Word of God is so powerful. Why is it not enough to bring us closer to God?
Quote:

Hbr 4:12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


From what I've read of the Emergent Church it seems like it is believed that we must go back in time and reintroduce mystical techniques that include the introduction of candles, incense, icons, statues, prayer stations, and the sacraments. Sola Scriptura

Michelle






Wife to 1. Mom to 4 dds ages 20, 18, 8 & 8 and 1 one wonderful ds (age 15) right in the middle of those 4 girls.
Re: Sacraments [message #528834 is a reply to message #528814 ] Tue, 28 April 2009 23:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
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Michelle, you've eloquently expresses my concerns with what i was reading, but struggling to articulate.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Sacraments [message #528847 is a reply to message #528834 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 00:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Elizabby  is currently offline Elizabby
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This wasn't what I was getting at either, but I'm obviously making a complete hash of explaining it. Never mind. I'll finish the book and come back to this later maybe.


Your sister in Christ,

Elizabby

Evie is six, Zoe is four, and Benji is two!

Not online as much these days, contact me through email or my blog if you want to talk to me!
Re: Sacraments [message #528867 is a reply to message #528221 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 07:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lunchlady  is currently offline lunchlady
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My denomination believes that baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances and not sacraments. It's part of what differentiates us from another denominantion. I voted #1, b/c we don't believe in sacraments.

Lisa
Re: Sacraments [message #528887 is a reply to message #528847 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 08:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
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elizabby wrote on Wed, 29 April 2009 00:09

This wasn't what I was getting at either, but I'm obviously making a complete hash of explaining it. Never mind. I'll finish the book and come back to this later maybe.



I'm sorry...Sometimes cyberspace is so frustrating! There are a couple of topics I've tried to work through and I can just never get my point understood for some reason. So, while I may not get your point, I do understand your frustration. Smile


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Sacraments [message #528888 is a reply to message #528887 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 08:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
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To get back to the definitions: is the word 'sacrament' a Biblical word?


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: Sacraments [message #528896 is a reply to message #528888 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 09:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
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Sherry in NH wrote on Wed, 29 April 2009 08:54

To get back to the definitions: is the word 'sacrament' a Biblical word?


Doing a search in every version of The Blue Letter Bible, I found the actual word is NOT in any version.

Is that what you mean?

The question, then would be, is it like "trinity" where the word itself isn't there, but the concept clearly is?

(And then the question would be back to the struggle we're having...*what* is the concept? Smile)

[Updated on: Wed, 29 April 2009 09:11]


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Sacraments [message #528923 is a reply to message #528221 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 10:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lunchlady  is currently offline lunchlady
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Elizabby,

Going back to your original post, I don't know that most Protestants would categorize the Bible as a sacrament. I've never heard the Bible referred to as a sacrament. I agree with you that God works in us through his Word, but don't know that this makes it a sacrament. I'd have to think and study more deeply the implications of labeling it a sacrament., Anyway, since it's not often referred to as a sacrament, it actually might be more controversial than you first thought.

The Lord's supper of course, as you mentioned, is more in dispute. Of the different sacraments practiced by the established medieval church, the Reformers kept 2 of them (today most protestants recognize these two only--as either a sacrament or as an ordinance)-- the Lord's Supper and Baptism. But the Reformers (Luther and Calvin for example) also differed from the RC church on the details of these two sacraments. And then Luther and Calvin even differed among themselves, especially on the Lord's supper. And then later the protestant church rejected these two as actual sacraments, but instead called them ordinances.

And there are today some denominations that recognize such things as foot washing or annointing with oil as sacraments.

But I think this is an area that we as Christians don't have agreement. I think the average protestant church today doesn't recognize sacraments, so I think that's what the poll will show.

Lisa
Re: Sacraments [message #529085 is a reply to message #528923 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 21:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michelle, IL  is currently offline Michelle, IL
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lunchlady wrote on Wed, 29 April 2009 09:31



The Lord's supper of course, as you mentioned, is more in dispute. Of the different sacraments practiced by the established medieval church, the Reformers kept 2 of them (today most protestants recognize these two only--as either a sacrament or as an ordinance)-- the Lord's Supper and Baptism.
Lisa


Lisa, I think I disagree with an apparent premise - but maybe I'm reading it wrong. I don't it see as sacraments being "kept" after the protestant reformation. I see churches who practice baptism and the Lord's supper as doing so because the Scriptures tell us to - not as hold overs from Catholic sacraments. I don't think the protestants protested enough; so I'm not one. I would definately say that non-protestant churches like fundamental Bible and those of the Baptist bent have baptism and the Lord's Supper because they are Biblical.

Michelle


Wife to 1. Mom to 4 dds ages 20, 18, 8 & 8 and 1 one wonderful ds (age 15) right in the middle of those 4 girls.
Re: Sacraments [message #529103 is a reply to message #529085 ] Wed, 29 April 2009 22:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lunchlady  is currently offline lunchlady
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Michelle,

I agree the Lord's Supper and Baptism were different after the Reformation. I'm not quite sure what I said that you disagree with. I have an elementary understanding so maybe I'm missing something.

I see the use of the word sacraments in the work of the reformers and the reformed. I thought Luther viewed the Lord's Supper as a sacrament, a means of God communicating his grace to the faithful. And the Westminster Confession refers to sacraments. And there's lots of other vague stuff from my history readings, but maybe I'm not understanding something correctly???

This is from the Westminister

"1. 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 Chirst, according to his Word."
"2. There is in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other."
"3. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it: but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precent authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers."
"4. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospel; that is to say, baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispense by any, but a by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained."

And if you have time, this is what Tim Challies blogged about one time.

http://www.challies.com/archives/articles/baptism-sacrame.ph p

Tim does a good job of explaining the difference that I was trying to say. Did I say something in my first explanation that didn't convey this? Or do you disagree with this?




Lisa





Re: Sacraments [message #529251 is a reply to message #528261 ] Thu, 30 April 2009 12:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa M.
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Kate Megill wrote on Mon, 27 April 2009 08:04

I have to confess that I simply do NOT understand the concept of "getting more grace" from God...especially through THINGS. It always sounds like God's grace is like an item in a vending machine...you put in the right THING and get out a grace item. If grace is unmerited favor from God, I don't get how I can DO something (read scripture, partake of communion, whatever) and get more favor like certain things are magic.

I am not being obtuse...this whole "getting more grace through sacraments" thing just doesn't even begin to make sense to my mind. I am His and I am living and walking in His grace...the fulness of His grace. PERIOD. It is part of my state of being and my new life in Christ, it's not a candy bar to be imbibed and gotten out of a vending machine whenever I feel like it.

Please know I'm not trying to offend anyone. This is just how my puny mind wraps unmanagably around this concept.



AMEN


Lisa

Re: Sacraments [message #530090 is a reply to message #529103 ] Sun, 03 May 2009 14:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michelle, IL  is currently offline Michelle, IL
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lunchlady wrote on Wed, 29 April 2009 21:30

Michelle,

I agree the Lord's Supper and Baptism were different after the Reformation. I'm not quite sure what I said that you disagree with. I have an elementary understanding so maybe I'm missing something.

I see the use of the word sacraments in the work of the reformers and the reformed. I thought Luther viewed the Lord's Supper as a sacrament, a means of God communicating his grace to the faithful. And the Westminster Confession refers to sacraments. And there's lots of other vague stuff from my history readings, but maybe I'm not understanding something correctly???

This is from the Westminister

"1. 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 Chirst, according to his Word."
"2. There is in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other."
"3. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it: but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precent authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers."
"4. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospel; that is to say, baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispense by any, but a by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained."

And if you have time, this is what Tim Challies blogged about one time.

http://www.challies.com/archives/articles/baptism-sacrame.ph p

Tim does a good job of explaining the difference that I was trying to say. Did I say something in my first explanation that didn't convey this? Or do you disagree with this?

Lisa




Hi Lisa,

Sorry I haven't been online much the last few days. What I disagreed with - and it may only be semantics - was when you said, "the Reformers kept 2 of them". I don't see those 2 activities as being kept from Roman Catholicism. I think/know that baptism and the Lord's Supper would exist in Bible-believing churches even if the R.C. church had never existed.

Michelle


Wife to 1. Mom to 4 dds ages 20, 18, 8 & 8 and 1 one wonderful ds (age 15) right in the middle of those 4 girls.
Re: Sacraments [message #530142 is a reply to message #530090 ] Sun, 03 May 2009 18:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lunchlady  is currently offline lunchlady
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Okay, I understand now. I agree with you Smile My phrasing wasn't quite right Smile


Lisa


Re: Sacraments [message #531111 is a reply to message #528221 ] Wed, 06 May 2009 13:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Linda Lee  is currently offline Linda Lee
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I think there's a big jump form #3 to #4. I understand there to be 3 sacraments: The Word, The Lord's Supper, and Baptism. So I don't believe in "many" as is stated in #4, but would add Baptism to #3.


Linda
wife to dearest Tom for 25 years,
mom to Lydia (21), Samuel (18), Logan (13), and Silas (4)
Re: Sacraments [message #531115 is a reply to message #528261 ] Wed, 06 May 2009 13:57 Go to previous message
Linda Lee  is currently offline Linda Lee
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Kate Megill wrote on Mon, 27 April 2009 09:04

I have to confess that I simply do NOT understand the concept of "getting more grace" from God...especially through THINGS. It always sounds like God's grace is like an item in a vending machine...you put in the right THING and get out a grace item. If grace is unmerited favor from God, I don't get how I can DO something (read scripture, partake of communion, whatever) and get more favor like certain things are magic.

I am not being obtuse...this whole "getting more grace through sacraments" thing just doesn't even begin to make sense to my mind. I am His and I am living and walking in His grace...the fulness of His grace. PERIOD. It is part of my state of being and my new life in Christ, it's not a candy bar to be imbibed and gotten out of a vending machine whenever I feel like it.

Please know I'm not trying to offend anyone. This is just how my puny mind wraps unmanagably around this concept.


Kate, I look at it this way...Jesus used mud to heal a blind man's eyes, He used water to make wine, He laid hands upon the sick, etc. He uses means to give grace, but it isn't a vending machine. We can't just take mud and be healed any more than we can drink wine and eat bread to receive communion. It is something that must be accompanied by His Word and faith. I see sacraments as a tangible touch of God, a special gift, for a special time. Just my 2cents. I don't want a debate or anything. Smile


Linda
wife to dearest Tom for 25 years,
mom to Lydia (21), Samuel (18), Logan (13), and Silas (4)
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