Sacraments and Protestants

Why do some mainline Protestant denominations retain Catholic Sacraments?

During the Protestant Reformation according to my understanding most wanted to retain the Sacraments because of what the early Church Fathers was taught that was handed down from Apostolic Tradition. But most importantly,…it’s what Jesus taught things such as baptism, Eucharist, reconciliation, matrimony. Even those that only observe only the Lord’s supper and baptism and marriage though only recognized as ordiances something that comes from God’s authority . If one strays away from Apostolic teaching one is very at risk to be carried about every wind of doctrine. I hope that helps.

Pretty good answer. :thumbsup:

From a Lutheran perspective, they are the means of grace, the way God promised to make His grace available to us. Through the sacraments, we receive forgiveness of sins and strengthening of faith.


Perhaps because they are Christian rites.

Roman Catholics celebrate them in one particular way, with a certain understand of their meaning. Orthodox Christians another, Anglicans and Lutherans another, Presbyterians another. Some focus on Baptism as a primary rite. Some less so.

You need to think of the Protestant Reformation as a continuum. Scholars speak of the Magesterial Reformation (those Protestant churches sponsored by the “magistrates” or governments, including Lutheranism, the Reformed/Presbyterian churches, and the Church of England) and the Radical Reformation (such as the Anabaptists who were persecuted by both Catholic and Protestant state authorities).

Martin Luther wanted to reform medieval Catholicism. He felt that it had lost sight of some essential elements of the gospel, such as justification by faith alone. However, he did not want to destroy Catholicism. Much of it he agreed with, including the sacraments. One thing he disagreed with the Catholic Church was transubstantiation.

John Calvin, the “father” of the Reformed churches agreed with Luther but thought reform should go much further. Within the Reformed churches and Scottish Presbyterian church, Christ was believed to be spiritually present in the Eucharist and baptism was explained less in terms of baptismal regeneration and more in terms of covenant theology (aka baptism is like circumcision).

The Church of England took longer to find its identity. Eventually, during the reign of Elizabeth I, the church settled on a middle road between Lutheranism and Calvinism. This is why Anglicanism can seem to be very Catholic and also very Protestant all at the same time. Since the 19th century, the Anglo-Catholics have become a powerful force, so many Anglicans are even closer to Catholic beliefs than they would have been during Elizabeth’s life time.


That’s an interesting approach to look at the Protestant Reformation as a continuum.
Thanks for responding to the OP.


And look at the Anglicans as a mini-continuum.


Will do, Motley. :smiley:

I bet you have a book on that subject, GKC…


The Marburg Colloquy, in 1529, was an attempt to reconcile Lutheran and Zwinglian doctrine. The German princes had a political motive for wanting to overcome the differences, but they failed to achieve their aim. The sacrament of the Eucharist was the sticking point.

Thinking of writing one.

Can I have “first dibs” to buy it? I would love to learn more.


I’ll guaranteed you one off the first print run.

If and when.

People who don’t understand what a Sacrament is become very confused as to why they are done.

Very good answers and information.
Thank you. :thumbsup:

There are three sacraments , baptism ( of infants), the Eucharist (Sacramental Union view), and holy absolution , the other four are rites , not Sacraments, to answer your question, we accept the sacraments because they are found in the Holy Scriptures.:cool:

Could somebody here explain what a Sacrament is for the lay person?

This link is pretty good from a Lutheran view.

The first sacrament is baptism.

The Lord instituted the Holy Priesthood, or Holy Orders, at the Last Supper, ‘Do this…’ as memorial, the form of worship…just as the Heavenly Father instructed Moses how He wanted to be worshipped, where He was to be publicly worshipped, and in what manner in Exodus.

Likewise at the Last Supper, Christ instituted the Eucharist…the summit of our faith, the Word Made Flesh.

About the sacrament of penance…it was instituted on the evening of the Resurrection, when the Lord gave them the power to forgive sins…and what is bound on earth by the Church…is recognized and bound in heaven…the seat of peter being given the keys to heaven. And the gospels demonstrate a number of times Christ rebuking and correcting…and they confessing He is the Bread of Life, He is the Son of the Living God. The rite of penance was developed over time because people lived in persecution…and any penance was done publicly…in front of members of the Church…and their penance a very long period of time…people lived under threat of death, made vows at the end of Mass not to lie and steal, kill, or commit adultery.

Likewise Christ instituted the sacrament of matrimony where a couple is bound for life.

Christ healed the sick and cast out demons…this formalized in the Sacrament of healing.

At Pentecost, the apostles are strengthened and confirmed in the Holy Spirit…this the sacrament of confirmation.

Revelations speaks of the Lamb with 7 eyes Who watches us…the Lamb is Christ ministering to us through His 7 sacraments.

I drew on Pentecost as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Who strengthened the apostles and they were no longer afraid. Confirmation is a willful, conscious effort on our part to affirm Christ, to die for Him, and we receive a strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

That’s an interesting spin on the seven Sacraments comparing to the seven eye meaning Christ watching us …hmmmmm something that protestants might want to consider instead of just having two ordinances in which I don’t understand because if something is ordinated by God isn’t that the same as saying what Christ instituted… It seems that modern day Evangelicals and Fundamentalist have moved very far away even from the originals rformers of the 16th century concerning the Sacraments.Modern day Evangelicals and Fundamentalist don’t even hardly acknowledge the two ordinances as important.

Hi B

Well what about this, Kathi uses the word “formalize’’ and I would say institutionalize . Then is not a rose , even by any other name ? You know P’s and many evangelicals believe in the gift of healing, and in miracles today. Somebody is healed, even delivered by both ''formalities”/prayers. Should we quibble and say the P’s are without, not being watched by Jesus, because they do not call it a “sacrament”, yet they do like Catholics, and also have miracles, healings, deliverances ?

And what, pentecostals don’t baptize in the Holy Ghost ? P’s do not marry before God, and do not ordain elders and pastors and teachers ? P’s do not "reconcile, or have forgiveness of sins, never confess faults ? Can you tell which married couples were married by rite and which by sacrament ? Can you tell which brother was forgiven by this method or that, by rite or sacrament ? Can you tell which had eucharist by sacrament or rite? When one does something empowered by the spirit, can you tell if it was due to "confirmation’ sacrament’’ or by ordinance of laying of hands ?

While reformers may have held on to some formalities/rites,sacraments, they certainly brought to light again the nature of their efficacy and the danger of misapplication or misunderstanding of that efficacy. That indeed formality and institutionalizing the life in the spirit , may or may not be affective, may or may not distribute the intended grace in an individual. Just as abiding by the laws and customs and ordinances of the OT did not always make a genuine spiritual person.


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