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February 25, 2022 12:01 am
The so-called sacrament of penance rested at the heart of the Reformation controversy over the role that our own merit plays in salvation. Today, R.C. Sproul gives an overview of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.
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In Protestant theology. What is the instrumental cause by which a person accrues to himself appropriates to himself the merits of Christ. What is that instrument face what is the instrumental cause of justification for the Roman church, Baptist, two very different answers to the most question we face will be Renewing Your Mind of this writing, how are we saved faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus or through participation in the sacrament.
Bottom line, what actually saves the other doesn't. Dr. RC Sproul today were going to continue our lecture series on Roman Catholic theology covering those distinctive dimensions of Roman Catholic thought that differ from Protestant bond and are occasions for controversy and issue in the Christian world and in this particular lecture were going to cover very briefly in a broad overview the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church in the last 20 years in the world of theology.
There's been a major interest in certain quarters of the church of a renewal of liturgy and of the renewal of complete understanding of the nature of sacramental religion fact, some theologians have tried to broaden to a great degree the concept of sacrament to include many things beyond what are normally considered sacraments in the technical sense in the life of the church. This movement has sometimes been called the pan sacramental movement that is that all of life is seen to have a sacramental dimension to something especially sacred something in which we see divine significance in commonplace events and dimensions of the created order I give that statement by way of introduction because this whole movement now of renewed interest and concern. In sacrament, is coming at a time when the world is moving rapidly into a posture of secularism and the sacred the sacramental is being restored in some circles as an answer to the whole drift of secularism and modern culture again. I mention this because in the Roman Catholic Church. There has always been a strong view of the sacramental character of life and one of the reasons why the Roman church has seven sacraments, rather than to which is typical in most Protestant communions is that they fundamental sacramental approach to man underlies this whole notion of what a sacrament is what I wanted. The first of all is to say that there are the following basic differences between the Roman Catholic approached the sacrament, and generally speaking Protestant approaches to sacraments. I say generally speaking, because Protestant communities do not always agree on the nature and the function and significance of the various sacraments. In fact, the biggest controversy of the 16th century made it impossible for the reformed churches to be unified with the Lutheran churches was the sacramental controversy most specifically their understanding of the Lord's supper, but the basic differences in general have to do first, the ball was number. Second of all, with nature third of all, with efficacy that is in terms of what sacraments do what they accomplish what their function is and forth a difference in the mode of operation and at fourth point may be the most significant of the mall because the Roman Catholic sacraments are considered by the church to work there affects the do what they're designed to do acts offer offer auto that is literally by the working of the works that is by simply performing the sacrament it does operate and perform what it's designed to perform the popular term for this kind of operation is automatic. That is, that the sacraments automatically convey the grace that they are supposed to convey the English word sacrament comes from the Latin word sacramental which is the Latin word that is used to translate the Greek word mu stay re-on mu stay rearm. You can transliterate that MUSTERION do you have any idea what English word comes from the Greek new stay rearm mystery, a oddity about this is that the term new stay re-on in the New Testament never has reference to what we call sacraments that has entirely different meaning. But there is a sense in which we use the concept of mystery and a broader, more contemporary sense to refer to the hidden dimension.
The mystical dimension the transcendent dimension of the sacraments as they can see how Ron can speak of the holy mysteries or the holy sacraments because the term sacramental. As I said is a translation of the Greek word mystery. Historically, the Roman church has defined seven ecclesiastical rights or sacraments, which have divine signification, the number of seven sacraments was fixed by Rome at the Council of Lyons and that the Council of Florence and at the Council of Trent so as early as the 12th century the Roman Catholic Church had fixed the number of the sacraments at seven and the rationale for the different sacraments and the selection of the seven was seen in terms of the analogy that the sacraments have with the medieval concept of the seven stages of life's existence so that there is sacramental aid. Sacramental grace given to people at every stage of their life. You get sacramental grace at the initial stage of your life in baptism, and then when you make the transition from childhood or from the stage of infancy into adulthood. You have the sacrament of confirmation.
Then when you enter into the adult stage of marriage you have matrimony. The sacrament of matrimony. Then you reach the end of your life and at the end of your life, you have to pass the great transition to go across the veil into death, and so there to prepare a person for that final departure that last stage we have extreme unction and then as you have these four earthly stages, so to speak. You have, in addition to those four earthly stages three special graces available that are most significant that are divine assistance for the living of life on this planet. You have the sacrament that is restricted not to everyone but is given to those who are entering into a special ministry of the church who are instruments of God to assist us all in this process of living and that comes through the sacrament of holy orders for ordination. Then there are the two sacred sacraments that are designed to give the most assistance for the progress of life in grace in this world. The first is the sacrament of penance, which is of special importance because it gives assistance for the whole life after baptism for sins committed after baptism. The second plank of grace is the sacrament of penance and again will look at that in more detail a moment and then finally the sacrament that is seeing to be the supreme sacrament. The sacrament that is above all other sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church is the sacrament of the Lord's supper. I would like to do then is to look briefly at the nature of the different sacraments that I've mentioned already and give us an overview of the separate sacraments and what they accomplish what they do have other understood. First of all, we have the sacrament of baptism. The sacrament of baptism, of course, is the first sacrament to be administered in life, and according to the Roman Catholic Church. The sacrament of baptism confers ex opera offer auto the grace of regeneration so that regeneration being born of the spirit being born a second time.
Having the guilt and the corruption of Original Sin, cleansed, and the disposition of the soul changed through the grace of baptism a person who receives this sacrament is then in a redeemed state is in a state of regeneration. Original Sin has been cleansed and a person is placed in a state of justification in Protestant theology. What is the instrument of justification the necessary prerequisite for justification list; known that without which there is no justification what is the instrumental cause, not the meritorious cause but the instrument by which a person accrues to himself appropriates to himself the merits of Christ. What is that instrument face so that the Protestant community believes that the instrumental cause of justification is faith and faith alone. What is the instrumental cause of justification for the Roman church faith and works may be the difference in the formula between the two, but the instrumental cause is defined by the church and particularly the Council of Trent to be Baptist. Baptism is the instrumental cause of justification in the Roman church Protestant church. Faith is the instrumental cause of justification even though a person has been baptized and cleansed of the power and guilt of Original Sin through the sacrament has now we infused grace of justification and regeneration by means of the sacrament of baptism.
Still, there is something of the nature of sin that is left over. Baptism does not sanctify perfectly. It leaves a person with concupiscence concupiscence of you heard of that word before concupiscence is defined by the Roman Catholic Church as a sort of inclination towards sin.
The definition is this that concupiscence is obscene and and inclines towards sin, but is in itself not sin. This is not a remaining sin, but a remaining disposition to sin or an inclination toward sin that accounts for the fact that baptized people do frequently fall back into sick and understand that with the Reformation deal with the concept of concupiscence from the reform perspective. Anything that is a disposition to sick his sin had so they don't like this distinction of that which is obsidian's of the nature of sin. It disposes toward sin and inclines consent in and of itself is not sin.
So you do have a difference there following baptism is the sacrament of confirmation regarding the Roman Catholic Church. This is not a new infusion of grace. In addition to baptism, but an increase in grace and to maturity is a very difficult concept to understand is not a know a second baptism not a new filling of grace by means of the sacrament of confirmation, but it strengthens it undergirds it moves towards maturity. The grace that is given in baptism.
It's kind of a booster shot. If I can use a popular notion confirmation is distinguished from baptism as a separate right, but confirmation presupposes baptism. You cannot have confirmation without baptism because the word confirmation itself suggest what that which was done earlier is now being confirmed and firmed up as it works through a process of confirmation we can again spend great deal of time confirmation, but in light of the time I have to be selective. Someone just continue. If we can the sacrament of matrimony again involves an infusion of grace and let me just take a second to distinguish between the words impute and infuse as you've learned in terms of the reformed doctrine of justification of man is justified according to Protestant theology by having the merits of Christ, the righteousness of Christ imputed or transferred to the account of the believer. If I am the believer here that we have the merits of Christ appear the merits of Christ is given over into the account of the believer and we think of imputation.
Another way and that is in terms of the cross where the sin of man is imputed to Christ laid upon him transferred to his account and he dies for our sins are sins are imputed to him counted upon him and there's a double transfer our sin goes to Christ, his merit comes to us by means of this transfer of accounting that's imputation in infusion here in the Roman Catholic view the righteousness of Christ is actually more or less put into the believer. If I can use this kind of ivory grass analogy fused into so that there is a real, substantial presence of grace of justification in the righteousness of Christ within the person but just counting for the person but actually becomes the person's possession, but now when we talk about the sacrament of matrimony we see again the notion of infused grace being given to the couple that are presenting themselves for marriage and the special grace of marriage is designed by God and given to strengthen the union of the two people so that what is going on in marriage is not merely an external rights involving promises and sanctions, and authoritative. The creeks, but during the commitment. There is grace given to people special grace to enable them to accomplish a real mystical union between the two people write the sacrament of holy orders also gives an infusion of grace which gives special powers to those who receive holy orders there to powers of holy orders of coordination that are most significant.
The two special powers given to the priest in ordination are the power of absolution and the power of consecration. Again, we recall Luther at the celebration of his first mass immediately following his ordination, and how he stood over the elements and became paralyzed and frozen in the midst of the mass and was unable to continue stood there and froze. While the whole congregation was his embarrassed silence when he came to the time to say the words of consecration that he was utterly terrified and thunderstruck in a state of all at the contemplation in his own mind his own understanding at the exercise at this new power that he had never had before the power of consecration by which the normal elements of bread and wine are transferred substantially into the body and blood of Christ that power.
That's a supernatural power of consecration comes to the infused grace of ordination or holy orders side, then there is the sacrament of extreme unction, which the institution is seen in terms of James chapter 5 where we read if anyone is sick they are to call the elders and the elders are to anoint the person and pray etc. originally, extreme unction was constituted in the church as a healing right, not as a last right and it's interesting that the Roman Catholic Church has redefined the sacrament of extreme unction to call attention to its historic origins and to see function not only as a last resort of healing for those who are about to die, ostensibly, that the extreme unction is a gift of grace that is to be used any time a person is seriously ill, not with a view simply to prepare them for death, but hopefully to bring grace of healing upon the person let's look then at the two sacraments that are most significant and most divisive in terms of the issues that separate the Roman church from the Protestant church. I mentioned that the differences include number efficacy mode of operation and the nature of the sacrament itself. Most people think that the big difference between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant church is the fact that Rome has seven sacraments and Willie have two but the biggest difference.
The most controversial differences are found in the two sacraments of penance and of the Lord's supper. The sacrament of penance is so crucial to the division between process systems and Rome because it touches on the two central issues of the debate between the reformers and the Roman Catholic Church. The issue of justification. Specifically, in the broader question of the issue of merits and grace.
This is in the eye of the tornado. This is the real issue that divides Rome from the processes as I mentioned before, I think when Luther responded to the diatribe of a Rasmussen the 16th century and was dealing with the concept of merit and grace and the sovereignty of God throughout that particular volume.
Luther responded at the end of his book by saying to arrest Miss after annihilating the arguments of a Rasmussen carrying on a very heated polemic with a Rasmussen nevertheless thanks Erastus at the end of the book pricing I thank you Dr. Erastus, then you have not bothered me with trifles but you haven't bothered me with questions like the authority of the pope or the function of Mary or the liturgical rites of the church are relics or any of that business, but that you've touched the core place.
The heart of the church that you've dealt with the article upon which the church stands or falls with central motif of the grace of God in our redemption.
That's the issue. The Pope thing could be negotiated. No scriptural tradition that can be negotiated, not the were about to give up. I mean those kinds of things you can release it.
Donna talk to his intramural debates between Christians when you're talking about the question of how a person is reading how a person is justified.
You're talking about the heart of the matter because again is another set as the article upon which the church stands or falls. And if it is the article upon which the church standard falls is the article upon which you stand or fall for eternity. Hearsay issue is simply that if justification is in fact by faith alone. If justification only comes by trusting in the righteousness of Christ and entrusting in the righteousness of Christ alone.
Let me ask you the question what happens to a person who trusts not in Christ. But in his own works. What happens to a person who trusts partly in Christ and partly in his own merit. If it's true, is the Protestants claim that justification is by trusting in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone were talking not about ecclesiastical debates of form are not talking about subtle points of theology were talking about the eternal destiny of human doings. The difference is that why'd we need to pay attention and understand what hangs in the balance. You're listening to Dr. RC Sproul series on Roman Catholicism today here on Renewing Your Mind would like to provide you with a digital download of all five messages from the series when you contact us today with a donation of any amount will be glad to send it your way will include Dr. Sproles book are we together in it he takes his stand on the foundational doctrines that the Bible teaches, while pointing out the errors that are found in the Roman Catholic Church, you can request both of these resources for your donation of any amount when you call us at 800-435-4343.
You can also reach us online to make a request at Renewing Your Mind.word may also invite you to browse our expanding library of podcast you can travel back in time with Dr. Steven Nichols on his podcast five minutes in church history also receive insight from Dr. Sproles lifetime a Bible study on ultimately with RC scroll and to confide biblical and theological answers on ask Ligon near. I encourage you to subscribe in your favorite podcast out to take distrusted teaching with you on the go well in their struggle against Roman Catholic error. The reformers risk persecution and even death. When they stood for biblical doctrine. What are the fundamental truths that they sought to defend his next reproductive school series. What is reformed theology starts Monday here on Renewing Your Mind