Sacramentalism

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Sacramentalism is the teaching that the sacraments possess an inherently efficacious grace that is necessary for salvation.  A sacrament is...

  • "A sensible sign, instituted by Jesus Christ, by which invisible grace and inward sanctification are communicated to the soul."1
  • "A religious ceremony or ritual regarded as imparting divine grace, such as baptism, the Eucharist and (in the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) penance and the anointing of the sick."2
  • "The doctrine that observance of the sacraments is necessary for salvation and that such participation can confer grace." (ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=sacramentalism).

Sacramentalism is taught in Roman Catholicism and the Easter Orthdox. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there are seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, marriage, and holy orders.  The sacraments of the Eastern Orthodox Church are baptism, chrismation, communion, holy orders, penance, anointing the sick, and marriage.

A sacramentalist affirms that God provides saving grace to people by means of their participation in the sacraments.  The problem with this position is it tends to view grace is a substance that can be infused, something affirmed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1999, “The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification.” (Underline added)

Sacramentalism is dangerous because it places saving grace in the hands of priests and the authority of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

 

 

 

  • 1. Hardon, John. Catholic Dictionary: An Abridged and Updated Edition of Modern Catholic Dictionary (p. 441). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  • 2. lexico.com/en/definition/sacrament
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.