Two thoughts on the sacraments

Posted on August 28, 2009

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The Rutherford House Edinburgh Dogmatics conference this week, which is always a highlight. Amongst many good things, I came away with two passing comments which might yet between them change the way I think about the sacraments.

The first was from Bruce McCormack. Bruce simply pointed out in passing in a paper that there is no obvious NT linkage between baptism and Eucharist – they are not described using the same word, or spoken of together, or… There is thus no good reason for us to assume that we can deal with them under a common head, ‘sacramentology’ – it might turn out to work, but we should not assume a priori that it is the best way forward.

The second was from Henri Blocher, who suggested the key question to be asked of baptism and the Supper is ‘what do [they] give us that we cannot obtain otherwise?’ This seems to me a great question, which takes us helpfully to the heart of the issue, and maintains a useful experimental and soteriological focus.

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