Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merely playacting

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 19 - Rome's five other "sacraments"
18-21 - Extreme unction not a sacrament
18. Rome anoints the deathly sick with oil, praying for their forgiveness and healing. See James 5:14-15. This is "playacting... to resemble the apostles... without reason and without benefit." Jesus and the apostles healed with varying outward methods. The oil in James 5:14 points us to the source of healing and forgiveness, the Spirit - Ps 45:7. "That gift of healing, like the rest of the miracles, which the Lord willed to be brought forth for a time, has vanished away in order to make the new preaching of the gospel marvelous forever."

19. God still heals today, but not through the hands of apostles.

20. The criteria for a sacrament - "a ceremony instituted by God," with His promise - must also apply to us today. Circumcision doesn't count, since it has been replaced. Same with healing, which applied only in the apostolic age.

21. If they really have a sacrament of healing, "it is cruel of them never to heal in time," but only at the last life breath.

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