Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This feigned sacrament

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"
14-17 - Penance not a sacrament
14. Public penance in the early church was a good thing - receiving back one who confessed with laying on of hands in the assembly. Later, the church added private confession and absolution. "Although I dare not disallow it or speak too sharply against it, I nevertheless deem [it] less necessary." Neither one is a sacrament commanded by God; both were "ordained by men."

15. A sacrament is "an outward ceremony instituted by the Lord to confirm our faith." There is no outward thing in penance.

16. Why not make absolution the sacrament, instead of penance, by their same logic?

17. But it has no special promise of God regarding the outward act, and the ceremonies are man-made. Baptism is the true sacrament of repentance - Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3.

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