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The Lutheran Sacraments are "sacred acts of divine institution".[1] Whenever they are properly administered by the use of the physical component commanded by God[2] along with the divine words of institution,[3] God is, in a way specific to each sacrament, present with the Word and physical component.[4] He earnestly offers to all who receive the sacrament[5] forgiveness of sins[6] and eternal salvation.[7] He also works in the recipients to get them to accept these blessings and to increase the assurance of their possession.[8] Though the Lutheran Church only teaches two sacraments, most churches still practice the "seven sacraments" of the Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Church (though they are referred to as "rites").

Contents

Characteristics of a sacrament

Martin Luther defined a sacrament as an act or rite:

  1. instituted by God;
  2. in which God Himself has joined His Word of promise to the visible element;
  3. and by which He offers, gives and seals the forgiveness of sin earned by Christ.[9]

Baptism

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which one is initiated into the Christian faith. Lutherans teach that at Baptism, they receive God's promise of salvation. At the same time, they receive the faith they need to be open to God's grace. Lutherans baptize by sprinkling or pouring holy water on the head of the person (or infant) as the Trinitarian formula is spoken. Lutherans teach baptism to be necessary, but not absolutely necessary, for salvation.[Mark 16:16]

Eucharist

The Sacrament of the Eucharist (also called the Sacrament of the Altar, the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Table, Holy Communion, the Breaking of the Bread, and the Blessed Sacrament) is where communicants eat and drink the true Body and Blood of Christ Himself, in, with and under the forms" of the consecrated bread and wine. This Eucharistic theology is known as the Sacramental Union. (It has been called "consubstantiation", but most Lutheran theologians reject the use of this term, as it creates confusion with an earlier doctrine of the same name.[10])

Non-sacramental rites

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Holy Absolution

Holy Absolution (confession) is considered the "third" sacrament by some; but most reject this teaching, saying it does not have a visible element. Holy Absolution is done privately to a pastor, where, following the person (known as the penitent) confessing sins that trouble them and making an Act of Contrition, the pastor announces God's forgiveness to the person, as the sign of the cross is made.

Holy Absolution, however, is different from the general confession that is done at the beginning of the Eucharistic service. In this case, the entire congregation says the Confiteor, as the pastor says the Declaration of Grace (not absolution). In historic Lutheran practice, Holy Absolution is expected before first partaking of the Eucharist. General confession, as well as Holy Absolution, are still contained in all Lutheran hymnals.

Confirmation

Confirmation is a public profession of faith prepared for by long and careful instruction. In English, it is know as the "affirmation of baptism", and is a mature and public profession of the faith which "marks the completion of the congregation's program of confirmation ministry". The German language uses for Lutheran confirmation a different word (Konfirmation) from the word used for the same Sacrament in the Catholic Church (Firmung). Confirmation teaches Baptized Christians who want to become Lutheran Martin Luther's doctrine on the The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and The Sacrament of the Eucharist. An average catechism class takes around two years.

Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony is a union between a man and woman, acknowledging the grace of God in their life. Though the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) allows contraception to be used in the event the potential parents do not intend to care for a child[11], more conservative Lutheran denominations (such as the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod) teach a similar doctrine as the Catholic Church on the use of contraception, teaching that contraception, as well as means of non-procreative sex acts are ruled out as ways to avoid pregnancy.[12]

Holy Orders

Lutherans reject the Roman Catholic teaching of Holy Orders because they do not think sacerdotalism is supported by the Bible. Martin Luther taught that each individual was expected to fulfill his God-appointed task in everyday life. The modern usage of the term vocation as a life-task was first employed by Martin Luther.[13] In Luther's Small Catechism, the holy orders include, but are not limited to the following: bishops, pastors, preachers, governmental offices, citizens, husbands, wives, children, employees, employers, young people, and widows.[14] Though in some Lutheran churches, Holy Orders refers to the three orders of bishop, priest and deacon, or the sacrament or rite by which candidates are ordained to those orders.

Anointing of the Sick

The Lutheran Church, like others, use James 5:14-15 as biblical reference for Anointing of the Sick.[15][16] The process of this rite consists of laying on of hands and/or anointing with oil; while the form consists of prayers.[15]

References

  1. ^ Matthew 28:19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 161. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  2. ^ Ephesians 5:27, John 3:5, John 3:23, 1 Corinthians 10:16, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 162. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  3. ^ Ephesians 5:26, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 162. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  4. ^ Matthew 3:16-17, John 3:5, 1 Corinthians 11:19, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 162. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  5. ^ Luke 7:30, Luke 22:19-20, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 162. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  6. ^ Acts 21:16, Acts 2:38, Luke 3:3, Ephesians 5:26, 1 Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:26-27, Matthew 26:28, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 163. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  7. ^ 1 Peter 3:21, Titus 3:5, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 163. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  8. ^ Titus 3:5, John 3:5, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 163. http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/graebneral/soteriology.txt.  
  9. ^ Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation, St. Louis: Concordia, 1991, 236
  10. ^ F.L. Cross, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, second edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), 340 sub loco.
  11. ^ When a woman and man join their bodies sexually, both should be prepared to provide for a child, should conception occur. When that is not their intention, the responsible use of safe, effective contraceptives is expected of the male and the female."Journey Together Faithfully: ELCA Studies on Sexuality, Part One" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 2002. http://www.elca.org/faithfuljourney/pdf/study01.pdf. Retrieved 2009-11-09.  
  12. ^ "Christian News is one of the few religious publications which still defends the position most of Christendom took opposing birth control until the resolution of the Anglican’s Lambeth Conference in 1930." Otten, Herman, Larry Marquardt: Founder—Christian Life Resources. Christian News Vol. 46., No.47. p.5 (December 8, 2008)
  13. ^ Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Talcott Parsons, Ch.3, p. 79 & note 1.
  14. ^ See Luther's Small Catechism
  15. ^ a b ELCA Anointing, Retrieved 09 November 2009
  16. ^ LCMS Anointing, Retrieved 09 November 2009

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