Lecture 7ME

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Introduction to Lutheran Theology: 

Introduction to Lutheran Theology Lecture 7 “God did it, and continues to do it His way” Means of Grace : Baptism and Holy Communion


Reflection on Journal entries from previous session Respond to this comment: “Some people seem so enthusiastic and confident about their faith. They put it down to the work of the Holy spirit in their lives. I wish I had the Holy Spirit like them!”

This Session: 

This Session Today we look at what are the ‘means of grace’? what is a sacrament? what is Holy Baptism? what is the ‘Lord’s Supper’?

What are the ‘means of grace’?: 

What are the ‘means of grace’? “the means by which God’s grace or his gifts of salvation come to us.” i.e. Word and sacraments - it is God’s activity - it is where we meet him by tangible means - it is for our eternal good

What is a Sacrament?: 

What is a Sacrament? A sacred rite… - commanded by our Lord - uses physical elements - brings forgiveness, life and salvation Includes (in the Lutheran Church) Baptism & Holy Communion (some may include Absolution)


The Word is ‘married’ to the rite The Lutheran Church is a ‘sacramental church’ both in Word and deed The sacraments bring the past to the present – the cross comes to us here and now (c.f. Rom 6) The sacraments are objective means

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism: 

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism Please read/study “Reading 6:1 Lutheran Seminary Faculty (1998) The Teaching and practice of baptism. Luther Seminary, Adelaide.” for a concise summary of the Lutheran doctrine and practice of Baptism. http://www.alc.edu.au/publications/general/baptism.asp Discussion concerning infant/adult baptism

What is Baptism?: 

What is Baptism? BAPTIST STATEMENTS Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change Submission to God A symbolic retelling of the Gospel An act of obedient discipleship. A public declaration of a person’s faith God comes to the believer and grants faith, while the believer gratefully receives the gift of faith and celebrates it in baptism. LUTHERAN STATEMENTS What God does for me God’s gift, God’s action God claims me as his own God washes me perfectly clean My old life is “drowned” (buried with Christ) and replaced with new life (resurrected with Christ) Rom 6:1ff Gospel made visible The gift of faith itself!

This means…: 

This means… What I do and how I do it is of primary importance The person’s faith is important It would be strange indeed to baptise infants What I do and how I do it is of secondary importance The emphasis is on God’s gift of faith rather than the person’s faith It would be strange indeed not to baptise infants Lutherans baptise infants as if they are adults and adults as if they are infants.

What is Holy Communion?: 

What is Holy Communion? n.b. different terms : “Lord’s Supper”, “Mass” “Sacrament of the Altar”, “Eucharist” “Breaking of Bread” Biblical basis – Gospel accounts (e.g. Matthew 26:26ff; Mark 14:22ff; Luke 22:19ff) , and 1 Corinthians 11:23 - 25


Background The Passover Meal – the special Old Testament meal (Exodus 12) (Unleaven Bread, Wine, Lamb of God, remembering) celebrated by Christ with his disciples before he died.

H.C. in worship: 

H.C. in worship a high-point of worship a central aspect of earliest Christian worship – (Acts 2:42) celebrated on Sunday to commemorate the resurrection (origins of Sunday worship) where God meets human beings

The Incarnate Christ is present!: 

The Incarnate Christ is present! His REAL presence! consensus until Reformation fundamental difference between most Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches 2 critical texts - John 6:51 – 58 – counter to gnostics; offence to many (6:66) Problem (6:63) - 1 Cor. 10:16 & 17 (‘in, with and under..’)


his incarnation is still a reality ‘remembrance’ (anamnesis) is more than recollection remains a real mystery! God is tangible in his presence a comfort


Luther: “It is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine instituted by Christ himself for us Christians to eat and drink” (Small Catechism)

Other views: 

Other views a memorial sacrifice meal of representation (Zwingli) a mystical union with Christ in heaven (Calvin) no longer bread/wine, only body/blood , even if not received (Roman & Eastern Churches) (???? not quite) 4. unimportant human tradition (Salvation Army)

Why do we receive the sacrament?: 

Why do we receive the sacrament? it is based on Christ’s promise and comfort brings past and eternity to the present we need support it is Gospel made visible we are worthy when we come unworthily (recognising our need) c.f. practices of ‘close communion’ and ‘responsible communion’

HC offers We need to: 

HC offers We need to God’s Grace Forgiveness Life Salvation The true body and blood of our crucified Lord for the strengthening of our ………. acknowledge our need for God’s grace recognize our sin desire new life recognize we can’t save ourselves ……


Nothing is required of a person in the sacrament that God does not give in the sacrament. That is to say, here God only gives and he requires nothing. Since the Lord’s supper requires faith and gives faith, it is altogether a gift. We need add nothing to God’s grace. We need merely accept and receive his gift. It is literally placed in our mouth. (Luther)

Journal Topic/Reflection: 

Journal Topic/Reflection “There's this guy who suffers from autism. He comes to our church, but I am sure that he does not understand much of what is going on. But he rocks up each Sunday and joins in with the service and receives Holy Communion. I wonder what he gets out of it?”

Next Week – Lecture 7: 

Next Week – Lecture 7 Subject : “God establishes His people” The Church

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