Sacramental Theology in Scripture and throughout the Fathers and the Scholastics

Hey everyone, just wanted to open up a thread to discuss the nature of Sacraments (and possibly Sacramentals) in Sacred Scripture and also in the writings of the Fathers, especially Augustine. Also, any comments on the teachings of the Scholastics (like Peter Lombard and Aquinas) in regards to Sacraments would be welcome.

Could anyone comment on Protestant doctrine and its limitation of Sacraments to merely two: Lord’s Supper and Baptism?

One of the things I’ve had difficulty explaining to Protestants is that, the Sacraments are found in Scripture, even if the modern terminology we use to refer to them, is not.

For example:

Operation of God. That term is a direct reference to the Sacrament. The Sacraments are God’s works.

The word “baptisms”. All the Sacraments are outpourings of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

The word “mysteries”.

And in fact, the idea of being “justified apart from works.”

This terminology which is used in the New Testament is simply the Apostles attempting to explain what happens in the Sacraments.

What do you think?


Yes, that is very helpful! I know that Paul refers to marriage as a ‘mystery’ which is also translated in the Vulgate as ‘sacramentum’. I found this to be very enlightening, given that the Eastern Traditions prefer calling the ‘Sacraments’ ‘Mysteries’ instead.

Yes. And the Eastern Traditions as just as ancient as our own. We can use their wisdom to bolster our understanding, as well.

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It’s very difficult to explain to Protestants that the theological language that we use today was developed to explain the mysteries which Jesus Christ revealed.

Yes, it is hard but I always start by pointing to doctrinal development (not making up doctrine I always say) in regards to Christology and also the nature of the Trinity.

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