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Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction

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1 Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction
Chapter 16 The Doctrine of the Sacraments Wiley-Blackwell 2010

2 The Early Development of Sacramental Theology
Roman North Africa, 3rd and 4th centuries Tertullian Greek mysterion (mystery) to Latin sacramentum (sacrament) Sacrament and sacraments Parallel between sacraments and military oaths Augustine of Hippo “visible forms of invisible grace” Sacraments both signify and evoke or enable Wiley-Blackwell 2010

3 The Definition of a Sacrament
Augustine A sacrament is a sign The sign resembles the thing it signifies Hugh of St. Victor ( ) A physical or material element A likeness to the thing that is signified Authorization to signify the thing Efficacity: the sacrament is able to confer the benefits it signifies Peter Lombard (c ) Omit reference to physical or spiritual element Seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, marriage, ordination, extreme unction Martin Luther The Word of God An outward sacramental sign Two sacraments: baptism and Eucharist Wiley-Blackwell 2010

4 The Donatist Controversy: Sacramental Efficacy
Cyprian of Carthage: no true sacraments outside the church Donatists validity of sacraments depend on personal qualities of the person who administers them Augustine Insufficient weight to the grace of Jesus Christ Ex opere operantis (on account of the work of the one who works) Ex opere operato (on account of the work which is done) Wiley-Blackwell 2010

5 The Multiple Functions of the Sacrament
Sacraments convey grace Ambrose of Milan, Augustine Peter of Aquila: sacraments are the precondition, not cause, of grace Protestant reformers Sacraments strengthen faith Philip Melanchthon ( ) Gracious divine accommodation to human weakness Martin Luther Second Vatican Council Sacraments enhance unity and commitment within the church Huldrych Zwingli Baptism and circumcision Public declaration of loyalty to the church Wiley-Blackwell 2010

6 Sacraments reassure us of God’s promises toward us
Martin Luther A sacrament as a “testament” A case study in complexity: the functions of the Eucharist Recollection: looking backward Continuity between church and Israel Remembrance of the death of Jesus on the cross Anticipation: looking forward The return of Christ The hope of the New Jerusalem and the heavenly banquet Affirming individual faith Affirming corporate belonging Wiley-Blackwell 2010

7 The Eucharist: The Question of the Real Presence
“This is my body” (Matthew 26:26) Cyril of Jerusalem (c ) The ninth-century debates over the real presence Paschasius Radbertus and Ratramnus of Corbie Candidus Medieval views on the relation of “sign” and “sacrament” The sign itself Something that is both a reality and a sign The sacramental reality Thomas Aquinas Transubstantiation The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) Aristotelian categories Substance and accidents Wiley-Blackwell 2010

8 Transignification and transfinalization
Transfinalization: consecration alters the purpose of the bread and wine Transignification: consecration changes the meaning of the bread and wine Edward Schillebeeckx, The Eucharist (1968) Consubstantiation Martin Luther Simultaneous presence Genuine presence A real absence: memorialism Huldrych Zwingli Remembrance, memorial Metaphorical/figurative Wiley-Blackwell 2010

9 The Debate Concerning Infant Baptism
The New Testament Karl Barth’s criticisms Lacks biblical foundation Devalues the grace of God Weakens the link between baptism and discipleship Infant baptism remits the guilt of original sin Augustine Infant baptism is grounded in God’s covenant with the church Huldrych Zwingli: baptism and circumcision Infant baptism is unjustified Believer’s baptism Benajah Harvey Carroll ( ) Proper authority Proper subject Proper act Proper design Wiley-Blackwell 2010

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