Re: sacraments

Murphy (
Mon, 10 Feb 1997 11:25:51 -0500

Paul Arveson wrote:

> As a Presbyterian, I too agree with our confessions that acknowledge the
> sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. But I think we agree that
> the Word is the key 'channel' -- that is the Bible, especially the
> Gospels.

The _Word_ is, of course, preeminently Christ, who is
"presented" (& here the Spirit is involved) when he is proclaimed. I
would follow Luther (again - I don't in everything!) in giving priority
to the "living voice of the gospel" as the means of grace. The
proclamation of Christ is to be in accord with the prophetic & apostolic
witness - i.e., the _written_ Word - but the NT gives more emphasis to
the efficacy of the spoken Word in bringing about faith than to that of
the written. (E.g., Gal.3:1-2, Rom.10:13-17)
This isn't to deny that people can come to faith through
reading. Its a question of emphasis.
Augustine speaks of the sacraments as "visible words". This
seems very much in accord with both the Incarnation & our belief both as
scientists & Christians in the value of the material world.