Is marriage a sacrament?

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Stalwart, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I would love to see some quotes from the early fathers to back up this statement. Particularly in the first 200-300 years A.D. Anyone? (I'm rather heavily occupied with work this week to research this, and perhaps someone else has already done so.)
     
  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It doesn’t exist, not only for the first 200-300, or 700, but for the first 1500 years. Confession and Extreme Unction were only declared as sacraments after the council of Trent, ie. they weren’t considered sacraments even at the Reformation.

    Matrimony was made a sacrament only in the 1400s, as I mentioned earlier. Holy Orders was made a sacrament in the 1200s, if I recall correctly.

    It seems that the “7 Sacraments” formula formed out of thin air due to political reasons and “sacred numerology” mysticism, along the lines of “7 virtues” and “7 deadly sins”. In short they’re nothing more than medieval pseudo-science and pseudo-theology psychobabble.

    For these reasons most of the Eastern Orthodox churches utterly reject the 7 Sacraments formula, as our EO resident @Liturgyworks has shown. The only EO who have asserted the 7 Sacraments were the Romeward-looking provinces who themselves were disrespected by their fellow EO brethren. It has no grounding in anything related to authentic theology, violates the definition, and “overthrows the nature of a Sacrament” as our formularies affirm.

    Anyone who still buys the 7 Sacraments formula today basically shows to have deeply bought into the Roman propaganda; which is sad especially as the Roman church itself completely rewrote its “Sacraments” sixty years ago.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    How could they change a sacrament!? Is nothing sacred? :laugh:
     
  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The Eastern Orthodox tradition does not limit the number of sacraments to seven, holding that anything the Church does as Church is in some sense sacramental. However, it recognizes these seven as "the major sacraments" which are completed by many other blessings and special services. Some lists of the sacraments taken from the Church Fathers include the consecration of a church, monastic tonsure, and the burial of the dead. More specifically, for the Eastern Orthodox the term "sacrament" is a term which seeks to classify something that may, according to Orthodox thought, be impossible to classify. The Orthodox communion's preferred term is "Sacred Mystery", and the Orthodox communion has refrained from attempting to determine absolutely the exact form, number and effect of the sacraments, accepting simply that these elements are unknowable to all except God. On a broad level, the mysteries are an affirmation of the goodness of created matter, and are an emphatic declaration of what that matter was originally created to be.

    Baptism and Chrismation, the sacraments of initiation, in an Eastern Orthodox church. Despite this broad view, Orthodox divines do write about there being seven "principal" mysteries. On a specific level, while not systematically limiting the mysteries to seven, the most profound Mystery is the Eucharist or Synaxis, in which the partakers, by participation in the liturgy and receiving the consecrated bread and wine (understood to have become the body and blood of Christ) directly communicate with God. No claim is made to understand how exactly this happens. The Eastern Orthodox merely state: "This appears to be in the form of bread and wine, but God has told me it is His Body and Blood. I will take what He says as a 'mystery' and not attempt to rationalize it to my limited mind". The emphasis on mystery is characteristic of Orthodox theology, and is often called apophatic, meaning that any and all positive statements about God and other theological matters must be balanced by negative statements. For example, while it is correct and appropriate to say that "God exists", or even that "God is the only Being which truly exists", such statements must be understood to also convey the idea that God transcends what is usually meant by the term "to exist".

    The seven sacraments are also accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy, including the Coptic Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Armenian Orthodox Church.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrament#Eastern_Orthodoxy_and_Oriental_Orthodoxy

    If fairness to my brothers and sisters in the East, I suspect that this Wikipedia Passage is more in accord with general Eastern thought on these matters. It is always difficult to compare Eastern and Western Thought and Theology as they go about the process in different ways.
     
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  5. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Extreme unction wasn't a sacrament until Trent?! Bless your heart Stalwart, do you really believe this stuff or are you just hoping we will? Let's consider this, Trent began in 1545. The canons on Extreme Unction were declared in 1551. So no one up until then thought that Extreme Unction was a sacrament. Hmmm.... well in 1537, King Henry VIII published the Institution of a Christian Man as a followup to the Ten Articles of 1536. In it, he said the following:

    "Although the Sacraments of Matrimony, of Confirmation, of Holy Orders, and of Extreme Unction, have been of long time past received and approved by the common consent of the Catholic Church, to have the name and dignity of sacraments, as indeed they be well worthy to have (forasmuch as they be holy and godly signs, whereby, and by the prayer of the minister, be not only signified and represented, but also given and conferred some certain and special gifts of the Holy Ghost, necessary for Christian men to have for one godly purpose or other, like as it hath been before declared); yet there is a difference in dignity and necessity between them and the other three Sacraments, that is to say, the Sacraments of Baptism, of Penance, and of the Altar, and that for divers causes. First, because these three Sacraments be instituted of Christ, to be as certain instruments or remedies necessary for our salvation, and the attaining of everlasting life. Second, because they be also commanded by Christ to be ministered."

    So in addition to being king, was he psychic? Come on man!
     
  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    By the by, for anyone still questioning whether the Anglican reformers viewed marriage as a sacrament, despite the Articles of Religion listing it among the 5 lesser sacraments, and the Homily on Common Prayer and Sacraments stating that Matrimony along with the other 4 lesser sacraments were retained by the Church of England as sacraments (though not in the same "signification and meaning, as the Sacrament of Baptisme, and the Lords Supper are"), I would point out that the Homily Against Swearing and Perjury, flat out calls Marriage a Sacrament and puts it in the company of the Sacrament of Baptism:

    "By holy promises with calling the name of GOD to witnesse, we be made liuely members of Christ, when wee professe his Religion receiuing the Sacrament of Baptisme. By like holy promise the Sacrament of Matrimonie knitteth man and wife in perpetuall loue, that they desire not to be separated for any displeasure or aduersity that shall after happen."​
     
  7. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Everyone, I am glad to announce that we will be putting up several treatises on the question of Matrimony in the coming months, which may shed further light on this discussion! This has been announced on our twitter and facebook a while back, but in case someone here missed it, here is one of them:

    IMG_1398.JPG
     
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  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I am really disappointed in your flagrant disregard to the context of the quotes you use Stalwart. You misrepresented the teaching of the Formularies when you quote Article XXVIII as somehow teaching that the tradition of seven sacraments "overthrows the nature of a Sacrament". Article XXVIII makes no reference to the numbering of sacraments at all. The quote you use was in regard to the error of Transubstantiation, and that issue only ("Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.") Pulling that quote out of context, at best, appears ignorant and desperate and, at worst, appears incredibly dishonest. You lose credibility when you do that and it lowers the quality of the discussion.

    Remember, a text out of context is just a pretext.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    My only point with that quote was to say, that monkeying or tinkering with the Sacraments, such as changing their nature, adding to their count, or being fast and loose about definitions as you did above (it doesn't fit the definition, but let's call it a Sacrament anyway) is dangerous. The Articles apply the language of "overthrowing the nature of a Sacrament" to anything called a Sacrament but isn't.


    The fact that King Henry VIII was an ardent romanist (until the end of his life) is a well known fact. He died a Roman Catholic, so all of his actions, and his sins with the wives, are frankly Roman Catholic. Ann Boleyn and Jane Seymour are where the English Reformation begins, but especially with his Son Edward VI that the Church begins to return to her Catholic roots.

    Anyway, will you find some medieval theologians stamping approval on what you said? Sure. I'm not claiming there was unanimity for my side; I'm only denying there was unanimity for yours. Consider how even the Catholic Encyclopedia describes last unction (and it is a 100% partial and biased source):

    "long before Trent ... extreme unction had been recognized and authoritatively proclaimed as a sacrament; but in Trent for the first time its institution by Christ Himself was defined. Among the older Schoolmen there had been a difference of opinion on this point, some--as Hugh of St. Victor (De Sacram., Bk. II, pt. XV, c. ii), Peter Lombard (Sent., IV, dist. xxiii), St. Bonaventure (Comm. in Sent., loc. cit., art. i, Q. ii), and others--holding against the more common view that this sacrament had been instituted by the Apostles"

    But then they add:
    "But since Trent it must be held as a doctrine of Catholic faith that Christ is at least the mediate author of extreme unction"
    https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05716a.htm

    So this council had changed what was catholic. Even the medieval scholastics did not agree that Christ was the author of extreme unction; but Trent told you what to think. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits, that even if holy unction was seen as a sacrament, it wasn't seen as established by Christ, but only by the Apostles. The Encyclopedia leaves a thick question hanging in the air -- did the Apostles have an authority to declare new sacraments (channels/vehicles of Grace) ?!

    But anyway that was just a medieval theory (already removed from the Trent theory). Then we go further back into the past. Let's look at the Church Fathers. None of them call it a sacrament. And here again is a RC apologetics website which shoots itself in the foot, by providing the actual quotes from the Fathers on this topic where none of them call it a sacrament:

    https://www.churchfathers.org/anointing-of-the-sick


    And finally, while I'm not a Calvinist, he has a handy reference on this:

    "These men are impiously false in saying that sins are forgiven by their sacred, that is, abominable unction. See how little they gain, even when they are allowed to abuse the passage of James as they list. And to save us the trouble of a laborious proof, their own annals relieve us from all difficulty; for they relate that Pope Innocent, who presided over the church of Rome in the age of Augustine, ordained, that not elders only, but all Christians, should use oil in anointing, in their own necessity, or in that of their friends. Our authority for this is Sigebert, in his Chronicles." (Instit., IV, xix, 18)

    So even according to a medieval Chronicler, in the patristic era this Rite was not restricted to the clergy but open to any Christian. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, its nature was hotly disputed until Trent. And according to another RC website's quotes of the fathers, it shows that none of them called it a sacrament.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I want to point out that the Homilies are not the Anglican Formularies, and were not something one had to swear upon. They aren't included in the oath. The reason for this, is that they contain several time-conditioned statements which are not universally true, as even you would agree: such as the Homily on Idolatry, which states that all images are wicked. I found your own post about this, from back in 2015:

     
  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I never stated in this thread that the Homilies were part of the Formularies or that they were included in anyone's oath, so I don't understand why you're pointing this out. I said earlier that you misrepresented the Formularies by quoting the Articles in a way that makes them say something that they clearly do not. You subsequently did it again. Repetition won't turn your statement from wrong to right so I recommend you stop doing that.

    As for the quote from 2015, I don't understand what that has to do with Marriage being a Sacrament? Can you explain?
     
  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I have read this back and forth with interest. From my understanding the Homilies though are nothing more than some official sermons that contain pious teaching but very well could contain error and most probably do contain error
     
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  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I would respectfully disagree about them being "nothing more than" official sermons. Article XXXV, says they "contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times ... and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may he understanded of the people."

    Clearly, they discuss doctrines that were of such import to the Anglican reformers that they intended them to be read throughout the Church of England. So I think we ignore the wisdom they offer at our peril. But they need to be understood in the proper context of the time and place they were designed for and taking them out of that context can equally lead us astray. I 've made that mistake myself on a couple of occasions.

    Could they contain error, sure! I only know of one infallible source of truth and the Homilies ain't it, lol

    The good reverend Highchurchman (God rest him!) once gave me this advice on reading the homilies:

    Like with most things,we have to thread the needle when it comes to the Homilies.
     
  14. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Well first of all I don't want to run afoul of the rules of this site, showing that I'm in no way challenging the texts considered to be the hallmarks of Anglican orthodoxy.

    Okay, so if you are quoting the Homilies to show that it was possible for an Anglican in the early 1500s to call marriage a sacrament, then I wouldn't disagree with you. However, the question revolves around whether that position was a stable one, or a transitory moment with remnants of medieval Romanism.

    The way we can know the answer to that is from everything which followed the death of Bloody Mary and the return of the catholic Church to Britain under queen Elizabeth. The monolithic consensus was to strictly delimit a sacrament to what fell under the definition of a sacrament.

    Anything which fell outside was excluded, without losing anything of its sacrality or holiness.

    We still perform confirmations, without it being a sacrament. Marriage is holy, and sacred, and indissoluble until death, without being a sacrament. Holy orders and apostolic succession are essential, without being a sacrament. We have restored the ancient catholic constitution. Meanwhile the Roman church feels like it can make new sacraments, and rewrite the nature of those sacraments.


    It simply has to do with the fact that you cited the Homilies as support for your standpoint. I cited them back at you, to show them saying something you would vehemently refuse, because it was time-conditioned and not taken as universal for all time.

    Therefore, if you can refuse the time-conditioned elements of the Homily on Idolatry (as would I), so you should refuse the time-conditioned elements of the Homilies which still called Matrimony a sacrament in the early years of the Reformation, before a cleaner break was made later on.

    The Articles of Religion were adopted in 1570 btw, and so firmly under the reign of queen Elizabeth. The Articles have a strong affirmation of what falls under a sacrament, and the Catechism explicitly says what it considers to be sacraments. It was taken in the literal sense for the following centuries, where no one called Matrimony a sacrament. Then in the 19th century, the Romeward movement found a colloquial phrase in the Articles "commonly called Sacraments" and used that as a crack to drive a whole train through.
     
  15. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    With all due respect Stalwart, that is absolute bonk!

    The Anglican reformers' statement that the lesser sacraments were indeed sacraments (though not of the same nature as the sacraments of the Gospel) in Article XXV of the 39 Articles in no way represented a "transitory moment," with the reformers moving away from the "remnants of medieval Romanism." I know for a fact that the Anglican reformers had considered the Calvinistic idea that there were only 2 Sacraments for a transitory moment and explicitly rejected it. I know for a fact that the stance laid out in the article is a deliberate about-face move to re-embrace the 5 lesser sacraments.

    And here's how I know. I compared the first draft of the Articles of Religion with the final version. What was added, and more importantly, what was deleted, from one version to the other is both revealing and dispositive. Article XXVI of the 42 Articles of Religion of 1553, reads as follows:

    When the 39 Articles were drawn up ten years later in 1563, the reformers added the clause about the lesser sacraments, which was nowhere found in the 1553 version, and deliberately deleted the first sentence limiting the number of sacraments to 2. Keep peddling the notion that there are only 2 sacraments all you want, but Anglicans have embraced the tradition of the 7 sacraments not in the 19th century but since before the Elizabethan Compromise. In the 39 Articles we see that the deliberate and informed monolithic consensus of the reformers was to include all 7 sacraments, even those which did not fall under the definition of a sacrament. The facts just are not with you on this, my friend.
     
  16. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Oops, just remembered that the Elizabethan Settlement is slightly older than the 39 Articles. Got my dates mixed up....mea culpa
     
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