[quote=Britta]This is an interesting statement because sacraments are defined as a “physical sign of an invisible reality.” Yes, we are saved by grace at the time we profess faith and if we die before being baptized, we are still saved. However, when we profess faith, we have a responsibility to get baptized into the family of God, much like the old covenant children who were circumcised into the family of God.
As far as being efficacious, it’s similar to (although on a very minute level) eating our vegetables. We are told that if we do, our body will be healthier. Even though we don’t see anything really happening, we know something is. Through the sacraments, God pours out His grace for us to receive. We cannot see anything happening, but something is.
Is baptism necessary for salvation? I would imagine only God can really make that judgment. However, when scripture and the Church clearly state that to be the next step, I’m listening. :yup:
Doing Protestant theology is like breeding dogs. (Mind you I am a Protestant! ) If you take one breed and mate it with another, you get a third type of dog that combines elements of the first two but is, itself, something different. So most Protestant theology has some points in common with Catholic theology even if the result is “different.”
I am a Reformed Protestant and we would confess that “grace is mediated through the Sacraments” which is closer to the Catholic doctrine than the “purely symbolic” stance of Anabaptists. I have personally argued with Baptists on what happens during baptism and communion and suggested that there is “deeper mystery here than you realize, whether you intend it as a symbol or not.”
I, too, trust God will sort it out in the end. I just think it is sad to see so much division until then. Surely this isn’t what Christ intended when he prayed “that they all may be one.”
Either something happens during the sacraments or it doesn’t. I want to know what the answer is because my very soul might depend on it.