Sacraments is Latin… it means to mysteriously make sacred.
Ok, so for me, it’s one of those really really difficult ones.
Baptist and similar families just believe in “Ordinances“… just an obedience thing, no real mystery.
Catholics on the other end, believe in these- God acts through the priest and “saves”.
I’m more in line with my Methodist Heritage but i like to grab a bit from the Presbyterians too.
I believe in infant and adult baptism, both. I can support it scripturally, really pretty easy.
I do think something mysterious happens. God’s spirit, combined with faith, and something occurs.
Jesus directed us to do these, utilized a symbol, and we must combine with faith.
Baptism is the “entrance” into the community. I believe, with Presbyterians, that this is a communal, covenant like entrance for babies. They can grow up within the Covenant Community and all the benefits that brings, just like a circumcised Jewish boy could. That child is absolutely “included” and “called” a member of the Christian community. For those that say children can not be full members (actually methodists say that so here i diverge with them) of the Church… wow… it’s just hard for me to grasp that… and truthfully, that’s in my opinion more of a reaction to protect salvation theology. I think we really just need to come to grips with the fact that Jesus really really loved and included kids… and Jewish kids were in the covenant… and whole households were baptized… yikes… i love you that disagree with me… please give me grace on this.
At the age of accountability they are responsbile and must decide for Christ themselves.
I don’t believe that the act of baptism causes rebirth.
On the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist (greek for thanksgiving), Communion: I believe the table is open. Like John Wesley, i think people can meet Christ in that moment. I don’t know why a non-believer would come to the table, but if they are seeking God, i say come. We explain what it’s all about, what Christ has done, and even those like children and those mentally handicapped, who don’t “understand“,… can likewise take.
Jesus loved kids… and how much did i understand as a “baby” Christian when i took communion?
Understanding it i believe is a false limitation. To not let children come to Christ due to a lack of understanding, i think is not good.
I’d rather not allow people to come that come in disrespect… and i think many more “Christians” do that than non Christians come to the table.
But who wants to be the “Table Police“. People may believe in a closed table…but few truly practice it.
The point of all is to be identified with Christ in baptism and communion, to worship him in this sacred community,…. not limit the invitation, but ask all who would earnestly seek God to come.
As the Holy Spirit comes inside, the mystery of transformation begins, with us as aids in discipling.
We should clearly proclaim the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to work.