Baptists sacrament of the lords supper

A while back I had an argument with my Baptist dad and he stated they claim the lords supper which the do once a year is considered by them to be a sacrament even if they don’t believe its the real presence. I found this very odd. Can someone explain why we would not call what they do a sacrament?

Because they have a different definition of sacrament. A Catholic sacrament is an outward symbol that cause a real effect, spiritual and otherwise. The Baptist communion rite uses only symbols to commemorate the Last Supper. But they believe it conveys no grace, at least not sanctifying grace. In other words, the bread and juice they use a simply and always bread and juice and they affect no grace in the participant other than the desire to follow Gods Word. That alone is powerful, but that is NOT the definition of a sacrament.

Yes, they have a communion service only as often as they think it necessary, solely because Our Lord commanded that we “do this in remembrance of me.” They translate that as “do this to remember me and what I did for you on the cross,” not as “do this to re-present the one sacrifice I will offer to the Father for your sins.” They have rejected all sacramental meaning to communion, so they don’t see it as vital because they don’t have a theology of receiving God’s grace. It’s all very vaporous in that regard. Like all stripped down theologies, it’s meaning has been reduced until it’s nothing more than a metaphor. They believe in once saved always saved so seeking God’s grace is unnecessary to them, since they believe they’ll already received saving grace and cannot lose it. Thus sacraments are unnecessary and have no real meaning.

I was Baptist for many years and still have a number of Baptist friends. I personally have never heard the word “sacrament” used by a Baptist. The churches I’ve been to refer to baptism and communion as “ordinances.”

I know of no Baptist who would call baptism or the Lord’s Supper a sacrament. The various Baptist denominational websites (SBC for example) refer to them as ordinances.

Why are they not a sacrament? First and foremost because they do not have a priesthood. Without the priesthood, those sacraments that can only be brought about by the priest or bishop-- Eucharist, Anointing, Reconciliation, Orders-- do not exist.

Baptism and marriage are valid sacraments from the Catholic Church’s perspective. Lay people can baptize and witness marriages, and therefore these are valid for Baptists.

The bolded is true from a Catholic POV, as you say, but that’s not the reason they don’t use the term “sacrament”.

Baptists usually use the term “ordinances” rather than “sacraments” when referring to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Even if “sacraments” is used, it is never intended to imply that either of these two is necessary for a person to be saved.

Baptists consistently declare that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbols and are not necessary for salvation. They are nonetheless a significant part of Baptist practice and worship.


Yes of course, I was responding to the question posed by the OP, “Can someone explain why we would not call what they do a sacrament?”

I understand. I was just trying to clarify that, even in baptism, where clergy is not required, they would not call it a sacrament.


Baptists come in a number of varieties and confessional adherences (or lack thereof). They generally refer to baptism and the Lord’s Supper as ordinances, rather than sacraments (the preferred term among Lutherans and Reformed Protestants). Baptists generally hold to a memorialist view of the sacraments, in line with the earlier theology of Zwingli. The modifications that the section on Sacraments underwent from the Westminster Confession of Faith to the 1689 London Baptist Confession are instructive, at least with respect to free grace (rather than “free will”) Baptists.

Baptists also used wine in the Lord’s Supper until the 19th century, only changing to non-fermented juice after being influenced by the Temperance Movement.

My baptist friend laments that they don’t have communion very often at her church. I thought they would have it like once a month. I was shocked to hear they don’t have a regular schedule for it.

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