Why I Think Baptists (and “baptists”) Have It Wrong about the Sacraments

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Rob Fall's picture

I think much of the error the author points out arises because many B(b)aptists treat the ordinances like sacraments (a means of gaining grace).

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

pvawter's picture

With the number of caveats Olson includes at the beginning, there is simply no way of responding to what he says without being simply labeled as outside his target area.

Bert Perry's picture

...have referred to our churches' meeting halls as "sanctuaries"?  Think about it a moment; as Rob notes, there are a lot of us who haven't completely eliminated the assumptions of the "high church", and we're quietly understanding the ordinances as sacraments.  

But as another noted, baptistic fundagelicals are so broad a category, it's hard to pigeonhole us.  Perhaps better to note what is true, acknowledge the tendencies we'll have towards sacramentalism in all its forms, and go from there.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

alex o.'s picture

Its obvious that Olson takes "body" in 1Cor. 11.29 as meaning congregation instead of the contextual meaning of elements of The Lord's Supper. The divisions in vss. 18, 19 refer to not gifting people with the means to observe the ordinance. However, in vs. 29 the issue is contempt of Christ by not recognizing that observing the ordinance one is giving a testimony and worshipping Christ. The poor person without elements cannot "proclaim Christ's death until He comes." The drunk person is giving a bad picture and is contemptuous possibly like Nadab and Abihu. "Do this in remembrance of Me" is worship. Remembrance in the NT essentially means "worship." 

Most Christians think they are receiving something when observing TLS and in some ways it is a two way street. If the observance is done in faith while walking in The Spirit they may sense a special blessing which is fine but generally the focus should be what we are giving: testimony and worship. Attention to oneself should not be sought while observing since the focus is on what Christ has done for us.

The Didache and other early sources indicate weekly observance which moderns (us) have supplanted. Weekly observance would motivate congregants to dedicate themselves toward purity since they would have to take a stand in their participation of the ordinance. All the singing that is done today was never a feature in the early church. Some may object and point out the music in the First Temple and prior with David's use of singers and music. However, it should be pointed out that the function of the Tabernacle and Temple were sacrifices not congregational singing in any sense. So music was made while the sacrifices were performed and it would not be wrong, at least in my thinking, to have appropriate music during observance of TLS.

Here is the section in Olson:

But what did Paul mean by “unworthy” participation in the Lord’s Supper? The context clearly indicates he was referring to people within the church actively undermining the unity of the church–whether intentionally or by their attitudes (e.g., self-superiority).


"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield