Sacraments: 2 or 7?

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Lowly Layman, Aug 17, 2013.

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Does the Anglican Church recognize only 2 sacraments or 7?

  1. 2 sacraments only: Baptism & The Lord's Supper

    15.0%
  2. 7 sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation,Eucharist, Confession, Extreme Unction, Matrimony, & Orders

    20.0%
  3. The church recognizes all 7 but holds that only 2 were ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel

    30.0%
  4. Only 2, the other 5 rites may be used but are not to be counted as Sacraments of the Gospel

    35.0%
  1. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    Lux, I did like your "little glitch"! Made me smile.

    But it's not entirely flippant. Each week, along with a few other oldies, I attend our Wednesday eucharist. There are normally as many of us there as there were at the Last Supper. Afterwards we meet for coffee (not available after the Last Supper!) and it's a way of continuing our fellowship. But it's an odd thing you know. We talk about shopping, gardening, sport, the weather (but of course), illnesses and the pills we're on. But hardly ever religion:think:. Is that because we're Anglican?

    Coffee after the Sunday 10:00 service has a degree of team building, not least welcoming newcomers and occasional attenders. No, not a sacrament (;)) but important.
     
  2. Cable

    Cable New Member

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    I voted for "The church recognizes all 7 but holds that only 2 were ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel." That's the official position of our priests and our parish. I suppose if we were "splitting hairs," we could probably say that Confession was also ordained by Christ; but regardless, we speak of 7 Sacraments and highly emphasize 2 of them.
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I agree Cable. I think that the Anglican reformers would say that although Confession was ordained by Christ, it was not generally necessary for salvation and had no outward and visible sign, such as water or bread, although I would argue that the Priest's declaration of absolution is a visible sign of Christ's forgiveness of one's sins, qhich happens inwardly and invisibly.
     
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  4. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I get confused about the 2 versus 7 discussion regarding sacraments.

    1. Other ancient churches seem to hold to 7, how did we come up with 2?

    2. I deem all the sacraments to be necessary to and for those who must receive them e.g ordination for priesthood, holy matrimony for couples, absolution for penitents etc. Why is the church narrowing down the definition of sacrament to only those necessary for salvation?

    I know this is an old thread but would love your point by point thoughts.
     
  5. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I get confused about the 2 versus 7 discussion regarding sacraments.

    1. Other ancient churches seem to hold to 7, how did we come up with 2?

    2. I deem all the sacraments to be necessary to and for those who must receive them e.g ordination for priesthood, holy matrimony for couples, absolution for penitents etc. Why is the church narrowing down the definition of sacrament to only those necessary for salvation?

    I know this is an old thread but would love your point by point thoughts.
     
  6. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I get confused about the 2 versus 7 discussion regarding sacraments.

    1. Other ancient churches seem to hold to 7, how did we come up with 2?

    2. Aren't all the sacraments necessary to and for those who must receive them e.g ordination for priesthood, holy matrimony for couples, absolution for penitents etc. Why is the church narrowing down the definition of sacrament to only those necessary for salvation?

    I know this is an old thread but would love your point by point thoughts.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    The problem, I think, comes when we begin to discuss what the sacraments are by a pre-defined understanding of the term "sacrament." If we begin our discussion with an understanding of the term "sacrament" as "an outward visible sign of an inward invisible grace" (St. Augustine) explicitly instituted by our Lord in the gospels, then we will end up with three: Holy Baptism (e.g., Mt. 28:19), the Holy Eucharist (e.g., Mt. 26), and Holy Confession & Absolution (e.g., Jn. 20:23). The reason why the latter is typically denied as a Sacrament by Protestants is because of its extraordinarily shallow view of the pastoral/priestly office. The priest acts and speaks, not upon the authority of his own person, but in the person of Christ Himself (in persona Christi).

    The idea of seven sacraments is particular to the Roman Catholic Church, though Eastern Orthodoxy often cites the number as well (the understanding of "sacrament" is, however, much broader in the East).

    In the end, I do not believe that we can count the sacraments with any exactitude. As long as we mean the same thing--even when we use slightly different terminology--I do not think that our sacramental numbering should be a cause for division. What becomes dangerous in sacramental numbering is the tendency to treat them as successive "stages" in a Christian's development, as if Holy Baptism was somehow "incomplete" or "insufficient" in itself. The whole Christ is given to us in Holy Baptism, with all that He has and is. The same is true of the Holy Eucharist. The same is true of Holy Confession and Absolution. From this a posteriori definition of a sacrament (as any means through which we receive Christ and His benefits), a numbering of the sacraments could be possible--but it could never of itself be dogmatic or binding upon Christians.
     
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  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yeah the idea of seven sacraments is nowhere in sacred Scriptures laid out or even enumerated. We know from history the Church kept adding sacraments, the seventh not added until the 1400s believe it or not. Thus the question of 2 or 7 is a red herring to the truth of revelation.

    I believe we must have the 2 Scriptural Sacraments defined by our Lord, and there are several other sacred rites and rituals (as Anglican theology describes) which include Holy Orders, Holy Matrimony, and the like. But like, for instance Extreme Unction is just a regular Sacrament of the Eucharist, and why Rome has created a new number for is quite unclear. We have the sacred rite and ritual ('The Annointing of the Sick', BCP) but it's a waste of taxonomy to call it a brand new Sacrament. Absolution can be seen as a return to Baptism, thus not so much a brand new Sacrament as a spiritual return to the old.
     
  9. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    If the definition of a sacrament is "An outward sign instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ for the imparting of grace [in the Church]", then Lord very specifically used the imperative case with only two actions that we commonly call "sacraments": Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

    He said: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

    and: Do this in remembrance of me.

    Do we find this imperative command with relation to confession, matrimony, confirmation, ordination, or anointing? We may, perhaps, infer ordination & anointing from the actions of the Lord, but He certainly neither confirmed nor married anyone, and there is no record of Him having absolved people of their sins through the Apostles -- only those who came to He Himself. Of course, He also told His disciples to fast, cast out demons, and pray. Tertullian called the sign of the Cross a "sacramentum". These are not called Sacraments.

    Of course, I believe everything is a sacrament because God is everywhere present, filling all things. :)
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    That is how Luther often spoke of Absolution: as a continuation of Holy Baptism--daily dying to sin (confession and repentance) and rising to newness of life (absolution). But he is inconsistent, referring to it sometimes as a sacrament, and other times as a living out of Baptism. Which testifies to the inherent difficulty in numbering the sacraments in any absolute way.
     
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  11. Rev2104

    Rev2104 Active Member

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    When I found myself going down the road to being an Anglican I got the book the Catholic Religion by Staley. It is the book my parish uses to teach out of so I will go with that. There are seven sacraments, but only two are instituted by Christ and needed for salvation.