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Author Topic: Why Such an Aversion to Anything Sacramental?  (Read 1221 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: January 22, 2013, 04:08:04 AM »

This is something that I've noticed among many Evangelical spheres of Protestantism; why is there such an aversion and rejection of a Sacramental view of anything? Like, we read very clearly in the Scriptures statements which very clearly state that we need the blood of Jesus, that we receive the Holy Spirit, that you cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you are born with water and the Spirit etc. A lot of things like that. Now, being Orthodox, we connect these statements to the Sacraments--the Eucharist, Baptism, Chrismation etc.--but Protestants have such an issue with this. Why? Many of them prefer to interpret those things in an odd abstract or symbolic way that really makes no sense. The reason for their rejection of the connection of these statements to the Sacraments seems to always be rooted in a fear that if someone does not physically participate in the Sacrament, then they are "not saved" (whatever that means). But in retrospect, wouldn't you actually find the abstract, symbolic-y understanding of these things MORE troubling because you have no way of knowing for sure if you have participated in/received them yet? Why is it so hard and troubling to believe that Jesus--out of His great grace and mercy--has made these things easily attainable and identifiable for us to participate in via physical Sacraments?
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 04:11:29 AM »

Rabid anti-Catholicism. To such groups, anything that remotely smacks of Rome is anathema.
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 04:15:06 AM »

There seems to be a belief that ritual gets in the way of communication with the Divine. Over time, of course, they've found out that the human mind and soul need ritual, so they've turned them into something purely symbolic, rather than sacramental, that ironically is precisely what they tried so hard to avoid.
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 07:51:32 AM »

There seems to be a belief that ritual gets in the way of communication with the Divine. Over time, of course, they've found out that the human mind and soul need ritual, so they've turned them into something purely symbolic, rather than sacramental, that ironically is precisely what they tried so hard to avoid.

I get two for one.

Sacrament and symbol are basically synonyms, if you have a passing understanding of English and those words' roots in Greek and Latin or go crazy and go all the way with PIE. (What's that crazy Greek word Orthodox often use instead of creed? A place where people make such a big deal over language, Greek in particular, you would think we could avoid all this.)

And there is nothing ironic about that phenomenon.
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2013, 07:53:01 AM »

Rabid anti-Catholicism. To such groups, anything that remotely smacks of Rome is anathema.

Well, they are mysteries after all.
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2013, 01:39:48 PM »

This is something that I've noticed among many Evangelical spheres of Protestantism; why is there such an aversion and rejection of a Sacramental view of anything? Like, we read very clearly in the Scriptures statements which very clearly state that we need the blood of Jesus, that we receive the Holy Spirit, that you cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you are born with water and the Spirit etc. A lot of things like that. Now, being Orthodox, we connect these statements to the Sacraments--the Eucharist, Baptism, Chrismation etc.--but Protestants have such an issue with this. Why? Many of them prefer to interpret those things in an odd abstract or symbolic way that really makes no sense. The reason for their rejection of the connection of these statements to the Sacraments seems to always be rooted in a fear that if someone does not physically participate in the Sacrament, then they are "not saved" (whatever that means). But in retrospect, wouldn't you actually find the abstract, symbolic-y understanding of these things MORE troubling because you have no way of knowing for sure if you have participated in/received them yet? Why is it so hard and troubling to believe that Jesus--out of His great grace and mercy--has made these things easily attainable and identifiable for us to participate in via physical Sacraments?
Have you ever read Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli?
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 07:43:05 PM »

A lot of contemporary Evangelical Protestants believe that the material is bad/neutral at best, and that only the spiritual is what really matters. Therefore, for God to use the material for our salvation simply doesn't compute.
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 07:49:22 PM »

A lot of contemporary Evangelical Protestants believe that the material is bad/neutral at best, and that only the spiritual is what really matters. Therefore, for God to use the material for our salvation simply doesn't compute.

This is an important and often neglected point. Many times there is some disagreement on more fundamental/underlying issues, yet apologists go full steam ahead with more particular points as though everyone agrees with certain assumptions.
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 09:36:50 PM »

It is a conglomeration of different reasons which range from the polemical (the RCs do it, therefore we must do something else because everything they do is heretical/pagan) to reinforcement of their faulty theology (all you need is to accept Jesus in your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, no need for baptism or the Eucharist) to the fact that personally interpreting scripture can result in anything and everything, which is what we have today.  Or the fourth one, they just got it from another group whom they decided to agree with and assume that is the correct teaching.
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 12:11:18 AM »

A lot of contemporary Evangelical Protestants believe that the material is bad/neutral at best, and that only the spiritual is what really matters. Therefore, for God to use the material for our salvation simply doesn't compute.

This is a VERY interesting point that is often overlooked, and it initially attracted me to Orthodoxy. Before my conversion, I was used to everyone around me demonizing the material world, talking about the flesh being evil, the world going to be destroyed, knowing God is some abstract spiritual thingy etc. Whereas in Orthodoxy, we believe that the physical world has been redeemed because Christ assumed material, and thus is used in our Salvation. We use Icons that are made of real material to serve a Godly purpose, we use real bread and wine for the Eucharist and believe that our body will be glorified someday.
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 12:52:32 AM »

At least one of the Reformers, according to a book on the Reformation I've been reading, argued for only two sacraments - baptism and communion. They argued against matrimony as a sacrament because it was referring to in the New Testament Greek as a "mystery," which was incorrectly translated in the Latin as a "sacrament." Therefore, marriage was not a sacrament at all.

I shouldn't have to explain why that's amusing.

Anyway, more directly to the OP. I think most Protestants are sacramental to some degree, and it's a minority of Protestants that are more like Zwingli in sacraments being merely memorials and the like.
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 05:31:57 PM »

A lot of contemporary Evangelical Protestants believe that the material is bad/neutral at best, and that only the spiritual is what really matters. Therefore, for God to use the material for our salvation simply doesn't compute.

I agree this a very good point. Folks forget Christ became a literal physical human being and died a real physical death on a real physical cross and shed real physical blood for our salvation.

There is also the idea among many in Evangelicalism that anything that smacks of works can have nothing to do with salvation.  The reasoning is that since baptism and communion are WORKS (ie, these are something we DO), they can't possibly be a means of grace or be necessary for salvation.
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 05:44:15 PM »


There is also the idea among many in Evangelicalism that anything that smacks of works can have nothing to do with salvation.  The reasoning is that since baptism and communion are WORKS (ie, these are something we DO), they can't possibly be a means of grace or be necessary for salvation.
That's certainly very true as well. Yet I'm still trying to figure out why the Evangelical Protestants I know who reject a salvation by works will still tell you that they know they are saved and will get into heaven because: "I said the sinner's prayer; I gave my heart to Jesus; I have lived for Him all my life; etc."
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2013, 11:40:20 PM »


There is also the idea among many in Evangelicalism that anything that smacks of works can have nothing to do with salvation.  The reasoning is that since baptism and communion are WORKS (ie, these are something we DO), they can't possibly be a means of grace or be necessary for salvation.
That's certainly very true as well. Yet I'm still trying to figure out why the Evangelical Protestants I know who reject a salvation by works will still tell you that they know they are saved and will get into heaven because: "I said the sinner's prayer; I gave my heart to Jesus; I have lived for Him all my life; etc."

When I was a Lutheran, my pastor used to say of such folks "they make believing into the one good work you have to do to be saved."

It is a bit ironic -- that the ones most averse to works talk about what you "have to do" to be saved.
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 10:38:21 AM »


There is also the idea among many in Evangelicalism that anything that smacks of works can have nothing to do with salvation.  The reasoning is that since baptism and communion are WORKS (ie, these are something we DO), they can't possibly be a means of grace or be necessary for salvation.
That's certainly very true as well. Yet I'm still trying to figure out why the Evangelical Protestants I know who reject a salvation by works will still tell you that they know they are saved and will get into heaven because: "I said the sinner's prayer; I gave my heart to Jesus; I have lived for Him all my life; etc."

That's a good point, and I reckon most Evangelicals don't consciously think about that.  OTOH, Calvinists would get around that by stating that God monergistically regenerates the person BEFORE they have faith so that 'God get's all the glory and credit'.  Otherwise, they state that if a person has ANY DECISION at all in regards to exercising faith, then that person "turns faith into a work" and "can claim credit for saving himself"  (yada yada).
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2013, 06:48:21 PM »

Because water can't possibly be holy, nuh uh.
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2013, 07:04:17 PM »

Because water can't possibly be holy, nuh uh.
I've been told exactly that. Same words.
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2013, 05:06:15 PM »

I recommend two books:

The American Religion by Harold Bloom

Against the Protestant Gnostics by Phillip Lee
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