Full Text for American Religious Scene- Volume 13 - Quakers and Mennonites on the Sacraments (Video)

No. 13. >> Let me follow up with another question. Suppose I were to hear an argument between a Quaker who says that there is no need for the church to use baptism and the Lord's Supper and a Mennonite who maintains that baptism, the Lord's Supper and foot washing are commanded by Jesus. What should I make of all of this? >>DR. THOMAS E. MANTEUFEL: That would be a very interesting argument, David. An argument between two non-Lutherans. Let me know if you ever do hear an argument like that. But they are saying opposite things. And yet each would be citing Scripture to show the point. And be claiming to be following Scripture. So are they both wrong or what? The Mennonite would be arguing that the commands of Jesus in Scripture are binding on the church. Jesus commanded that all penitent believers who have been born anew must confess their faith and be baptized with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Mennonites use numerous passages about baptism for their proof text on this point. Especially Matthew 28:19. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So according to that, according to the Mennonite, baptism is meaningful for all those who have faith in Christ and are born again of the Spirit. Jesus also has commanded that believers commemorate his death for them by the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper and it is meaningful for all for whom he died, showing his love and teaching us to imitate that love in our communion with God. And here the words of the institution of the Lord's Supper are cited by the Mennonites. And Jesus has also commanded the washing of the feet of the saints, which is a sign of the Christian humiliation. And also a sign of the true washing which is the purification of the soul in the blood of Christ. And here the Mennonites who promote this cite John 13. Where Jesus washed the disciples feet and commanded that they should do as he had done. And also I Timothy 5:9 and 10 which says that the believers in the early church were doing this. What then does the Quaker say? The Quaker refers to New Testament passages about baptism and states that this is a sign of the baptism of the Spirit, which is really rebirth. The baptism of John was a display of this sign. And the baptism of John did not continue forever. Jesus in Matthew 28:19: Go and teach all nations, baptizing them, commanded that this figurative baptism of John should be continued for a time in his church until its use came to an end. Though all who after that would wish to use it as an object lesson are free to do so. Similarly, the Quaker says that Christ commanded that his supper of symbolic bread and wine should be used in the church for a time as a sign for the weak who need such a sign. The Quaker adds that the command to wash the feet of the saints had no less authority than the commands of baptism and of the Lord's Supper. And that these two signs are no more necessary in the church today than it, the foot washing, is. Since the spiritual realities that are symbolized in all three ceremonies is really all that is necessary. Well, what shall the Lutherans say then? We note that both the Mennonite and the Quaker regard all of these ceremonies as no more than symbols. And also we note that we as Lutherans regard baptism and the Lord's Supper at least as means of grace. For example, baptism does now also save us as I Peter 1:21 says. And the Lord's Supper is a new covenant in his blood, which -- that is Jesus' blood -- which bestows forgiveness through that blood. See Luke 22:20. But the Mennonite is right in maintaining that the permanence of the sacraments in the church is what is really indicated by the words of Scripture. And that the Quaker is really not right on that. In instituting baptism, the Lord promised to be with those who were doing it along with the teaching of the nations, supporting them and supplying the power behind their teaching and behind baptism. He said in Matthew 28: Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age. He obviously intended baptism to be used to the end of the age. It is to be done as long as the teaching of the nations is to go on. Similarly with the Lord's Supper in I Corinthians 11:26. Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. And so the Lord's Supper is not to stop before the parousia of our Lord. However, both the Mennonite and the Quaker are in error in thinking that Scripture authority includes a command that a foot washing ceremony should take place in the church. Either permanently or in a temporary way. When the Lord had washed the disciples feet, he said: I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:15. This passage only says that he gave an example of humble service by washing his disciples' feet. And this indicates how his followers then are to live. They are to do many such things. And he was simply exemplifying that with this act of foot washing. So to bring this to a close, the -- both the Quaker and the Mennonite are wrong in some things. But the Mennonite is more right than the Quaker here.