The History Of Sacraments, Ordinances, And Sacred Actions

Themes: Biblical, History, Sacraments, Sacred Actions, Scholar

Christian history can be divided into two main epochs: premodern and modern. In premodern culture, ritual, symbol and metaphor were employed to express realities that could not be fully expressed in words. For premodern cultures, symbols were not merely notions; symbols were powerful mediators of divine activity. Patristic Christian writers used words to discuss Christian sacred actions but they did so in a multilayered, metaphorical, evocative manner, frequently employing the symbolic language of Scripture. Patristic influence continued until the rise of university, scholastic theology in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Western Europe. Because Eastern Orthodox churches did not experience this scholasticism, Orthodox practices often more directly reflect the symbolic and metaphoric patristic usage. Between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, scholastic theologians applied Aristotelian logic to theology and systematized all aspects of the church’s life: canon law, doctrinal theology, pastoral care, and worship practice. In the sixteenth century, both Protestants and Catholics defended their views of sacramental worship by means of logical arguments. Anti-sacramental Protestants (Zwinglians, Anabaptists) argued with sacramental Protestants (Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans) using the same logic derived from scholastic methods. Words replaced symbolic rituals as the dominant mode of theological expression. The modern political, economic, philosophical, scientific, and technological culture of the West represents a further development of the logical and systematizing thrust of scholastic theology. The rational order of modern culture leaves little room for divine reality mediated through symbolic rituals. In reaction, several Christian renewal movements emphasize experience: inward, nonsacramental Pietism (seventeenth to eighteenth centuries); Wesleyan Holiness, Pentecostal and charismatic renewals (eighteenth to twentieth centuries); and Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Calvinist sacramental and liturgical renewal (nineteenth to twentieth centuries). In this section, the history of sacred actions is reviewed.

  1. The Meaning Of Sacred Action
  2. Sacred Actions In The Early Church
  3. Sacred Actions In The Medieval And Reformation Eras
  4. Sacred Actions In Modern Catholicism
  5. Sacred Actions In The Eastern Churches
  6. A Comparison Of Eastern And Western Practice Of The Seven Sacraments
  7. Sacred Actions In The Reformation Churches
  8. Sacred Actions In The Protestant Churches After The Reformation
  9. Sacred Actions In The Protestant Churches Today

Have you completed this media item?