Non-Catholic Sacramental Christian views

The last thread I started a thread on this question was an effort to specifically glean an understanding of why modern Lutherans do not accept that all seven Sacraments come from Christ. Unfortunately, the thread was invaded and hijacked by Catholic fundamentalists who were more interested in criticizing Lutherans than listening to their point of view.

So, I am going to try this again, and ask that Catholics refrain from posting the same material that is on the other thread, and for non-Catholics to please enlighten me about your views. This time I will not direct it specifically to to Lutherans, because I am motivated by this post:

Specifically I am still curious about the anointing of the sick and the series of posts following # 12 in the other thread. If Jesus did not command the disciples to anoint the sick with oil, and pray that they be healed, what is the origin of this practice?

Hi guan,
If I can make reference the confessions on this:

Lastly, if among the Sacraments all things ought to be numbered which have God’s command, and to which promises have been added, why do we not add prayer, which most truly can be called a sacrament? For it has both God’s command and very many promises; and if placed among the Sacraments, as though in a more eminent place, it would invite men to pray. 17] Alms could also be reckoned here, and likewise afflictions, which are, even themselves signs, to which God has added promises. But let us omit these things. For no prudent man will strive greatly concerning the number or the term, if only those objects still be retained which have God’s command and promises.

Again, I don’t think this a particularly big issue for Lutherans, meaning the numbering. the use, however, was of greater concern:

It is still more needful to understand how the Sacraments are to be used. Here we condemn the whole crowd of scholastic doctors, who teach that the Sacraments confer grace ex opere operato, without a good disposition on the part of the one using them, provided he do not place a hindrance in the way.

This and following of paragraph 18

I also know you want to hear from other communions, so I’ll give others a chance.




The above is from the other thread (post 125) regarding Sacred Tradition, of which sacramental celebration is a part. In this exchange, dronald is saying that there are words of Christ that are not placed directly upon His lips in the Scripture, but that are mentioned in the Scripture, and therefore are considered to be His.

So I am wondering, is the reason that non-Catholic sacramental Christians such as Lutherans don’t accept the anointing of the Sick as a sacrament because all we see is the Church “doing” this rite, rather than Christ actually commanding it?

An thus my question, if Jesus did not command the 70 to go forth and engange in this activity, do Lutherans believe they took this upon themselves to do?

I appreciate the link, again, JonNC.

Can you speak to the question of why the 70 would anoint people with oil to heal them when Christ did not direct it?

Hi Guanophore: For me being a Catholic I accept the 7 Sacraments as valid and was instituted by Christ. I do understand that those from a protestant background have a different idea as to what constitute a Sacrament. Lutheran’s from their confession believe there are two and confession to be linked somehow to Baptism, though I do not see Jesus saying that since after one is baptized one can still sin so I think it separate. St. James said to anoint the sick and I think he got that from Christ who did so.

 We do not know that Jesus did not direct the 70 to anoint oil to heal the sick, just because it was not specific quote from Jesus found in the Gospels, does not mean that he did not since its been said that not everything Jesus said and did was written down. It also seems to me that from the beginning the Apostles preformed the 7 Sacraments so I think that since they did, the 7 Sacraments as we know them are indeed valid.

I don’t know if this answers the question, but I found this.

As a side note, I think you will appreciate the “Means of Grace Window”.


On the bolded, this seems to be why Luther saw the connection. Once baptized, we can still fall from grace. The sacrament of Holy Absolution (Reconciliation) has the effect of restoring us to forgiveness of sins.
I personally see them as separate sacraments, as the Apology describes them, but Lutherans are permitted this diversity.



Hi Jon: Thanks for your response. I see that we agree on this point. I do not see how Luther saw the connection as it to me seem separate from Baptism. I understand that Lutheran’s are permitted to decide if I get that correct from what you are saying, yet, you personally think it a separate Sacrament. Reconciliation does return one to grace after one has fallen into some sin after Baptism, as one is perfect one is indeed prone to fall at many times during one’s life. Maybe you could explain if you like as to how Luther connected Absolution with Baptism Thanks.

I may not be the best to do that, but it seems to that if we understand Baptism as the forgiveness of sins, in a very basic sense, then we can see how Absolution/Reconciliation works in a similar way. Both work forgiveness of sin.


Hi Jon: yes, what you said is true enough but with the Sacrament of Baptism it forgives sins only once; which is the reason why it is only done once. However, with Confession is a Sacrament for us who generally fall at points in our lives after being Baptized. While Baptism, forgives sins it is like I said done only once and confession more than a one time deal. Of course both work in a manor the same way, yet are quite different in approach of how graces are given.

I have no quarrel with what you’ve said here. After all, the Augsburg Confession states as much:

Article XII: Of Repentance.

1] Of Repentance they teach that for those who have fallen after Baptism there is remission of sins whenever they are converted 2] and that the Church ought to impart absolution to those thus returning to repentance.


How do Lutherans see the definition of a sacrament with Absolution? Where do we find the commandment of Christ, and the promise of grace?

Do Lutherans consider their pastors to be “priests”, but they just avoid using that term?

From this article, it would seem that Lutherans believe, as Catholics do, ,that the priest/pastor acts on behalf of the community when giving absolution. Do you also believe that the priest/pastor acts “in persona Christi” in this sacrament?

Not to answer for Jon - because I know he can explain the Lutheran ordained priesthood better than I (as a female, it never seemed overly relevant for me to study that in great detail - just not my vocation :)) But assuredly Lutherans do consider our pastors to act “in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ” when they announce Absolution. As part of individual confession, we are usually asked to affirm “Do you believe that my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness?”

So yes, he acts in the stead of Christ. And I do think that the reluctance to call a priest a priest is mostly an American Lutheran trait.

Yes. Just to piggyback off of what Stilldreamin said, our liturgy is worded the way it is for good reason. It is filled with what we believe. This blog entry might be useful in understanding the Lutheran position of the pastor when he announces Absolution.

The confessions reference Absolution as found in the Keys, the power given to the Church through Peter then the 12 to bind and loose sin.

Don and Still always provide great answers.
In most Lutheran pronouncements of Absolution, the pastor does indeed act* in persona christi*. As an example: “As a called and ordained servant of Christ and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all of your sins. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.+ Amen.”


Ok. Thanks all of you for your help.

Moving forward to other puzzlements, do y’all think that the disciples came up with the anointing with oil on their own, and Jesus just did not stop them, or redirect them?

It depends on whom you ask.

But the confessions do use the terms sacerdos (Latin) and Priester (German).

I just can’t find that Jesus either commanded or forbade it - so if the disciples chose to use anointing oil when healing the sick instead of, say, spittle, that would be a perfectly good tradition.

Here is where I am confused. When I read, it looks like Jesus commanded those He sent to “heal the sick”. They did this by anointing them with oil.

“And he called the twelve; and began to send them two and two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.” Mark 6:7

“Heal the sick…” Matt 10"8

“And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” Mark 6:13

Then there is an Apostolic command from James:

"Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. " James 5:14–15

I am befuddled why the Apostles would engage in this behavior if it was not commanded. It also appears that grace is attached to this rite.

Would it qualify as a sacrament if Matt. said “anoint the sick with oil and heal them”?

It seems to me that the healing is separate from the forgiveness of sins. But, as my signature says, I’m not a trained theologian. If someone were to consider it a Sacrament on its own right, I suppose they could. It’s the use that matters to Lutherans, not the number. Whatever the case, the ‘use’ returns us to the promise of Baptism.

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