Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Do You (Orthodox) Recognize Our (Protestant or Catholic) Sacraments?

The short answer is no, but it doesn’t mean we simply refuse to acknowledge your rites as sacraments, as if we were being narrow, stubborn or prideful. It means we literally cannot recognize them, as in, we look at them and know not what we are seeing.

In our experience, for example, the Holy Communion is truly the Body and Blood of Christ. If you don’t believe it is, then what do you mean when you call it a “sacrament”? If you do believe it, well, you aren’t in communion with us, so if we both have the true sacrament, what can that mean? There’s such a thing as divided union? Christ is divided?

By “Holy Baptism”, we mean triple immersion in sanctified water of a person of any age in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, performed within the one, undivided Church, whereby that person is cleansed from his sins, his life is dedicated to God, and he becomes truly grafted into Christ, flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone (= born again). If that’s what Holy Baptism is, how much of it can you or we recognize in what you do?

In Holy Matrimony, Christ marries the couple and that’s what makes it a sacrament. If your denomination’s teaching is otherwise, namely that the man and woman marry each other or that the minister marries them, where’s the sacrament in that?

What do you mean when you say ‘sacrament’? Do you even know what you mean? Neither do we.

If you do know what you mean, it must be different from what we mean, because what we mean is the very thing we can’t find (recognize) in your rites. This doesn’t necessarily by itself signify you do not have the genuine Mysteries; it means if you do, God knows it, but hasn’t revealed it to us, to whom they’re quite literally unrecognizable.


John (Ad Orientem) said...

Good post. I would qualify that slightly when discussing Roman Catholic sacraments though. There is some diversity of opinion on that subject.