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The Promise of the Sacraments

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The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.


The Promise of the Sacraments

Luther, the Pastor: Mark 16


The tension between the theology of the cross and glory.

God reveals himself in the stuff of earth.

Luther on word and sacrament: a little foreign to our evangelical ears.

Perceptions of Luther:

hero of the faith

not finished with the reformation, too close to Catholics

Luther stands alone on sacraments removed from Catholics and Anabaptists.


I. The Sixteenth Century Context

A. Peter Lombard - Most popular theological text of the middle ages

B. Sacraments of the New Law - 7 sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Unction, Eucharist, Orders, Marriage, Penance

C. Remedy against sin, assisting grace.

Lull pg. 527-528 - Luther breaks with his 16th century context.


II. The movement is from God to Man

A. The definition of a Sacrament as a sign plus the Word.

1. "Baptism is nothing but the word of Christ in water..."

2. Lull pg. 484

B. The receiving of a Sacrament is a receiving of God's action.

C. It is properly used in faith

Elaboration of the movement of God to man.

1. Words of institution

2. Words of consecration - origin of hocus pocus (hoc est corpus meum, this is my body spoken to the elements. Luther said let's speak this to the people instead.


III. The Sacraments keep the Word from Disappearing into the Inner Life

God always deals with us in the external and this confirms an inner reality.

Discussion of Carlstadt's notion of remembrance being an internal focus.

Smalcald Articles Part III, Article VIII - All this is the old devil and the old serpent who made enthusiasts of Adam and Eve....

Theology is for Proclamation - Ferde

Luther's Debate w/ Carlstadt

Book of Concord 440, 28 Part 4 on Baptism "Our know-it-alls, the new spirits, assert that faith alone saves and that works and external things contribute nothing to this end..."

A. The Fall is enticement away from the external Word to subjectivity.

B. The Sacraments stand as guard against this subjectivity.

C. They are an attack on the Old Adam.

What we find is that Luther's view is:

1. tied into the theology of the cross

2. the words of institution

3. movement from God to Man

4. external tie between Spirit and the Word. These are not separate.

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