Full Text for American Religious Scene- Volume 15 - Quakers and the Sacraments (Video)

No. 15. >> I hope these questions are not so obvious as they may first appear. But what do Quakers lose by not using the sacraments? And why are they so opposed to the sacraments? >>DR. THOMAS E. MANTEUFEL: Well, first of all, we should say that Quakers are not exactly opposed to the sacraments. They are willing to say that the sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, served as good object lessons in the early church when they were still being used. Actually they regard the use of sacraments as optional. And so you will find a few Quakers today here and there who opt to make use of them as object lessons of the Gospel as they understand the Gospel. That is object lessons in their devotion. But Quakers say that the ceremonies here are only externals. The important thing is to have the spiritual realities which they symbolize. That is to say the important thing is to have the substance that is behind these externals and these symbols. What the Quakers are opposed to really is the claim which they consider false and misconceived and presumptuous that the sacraments are means of grace and means of salvation through which God works. And that they are necessary for the church. They are opposed to that kind of teaching. And they say that this is really confusing spiritual substance with physical externals. And as we've already been pointing out under other questions, Lutherans do, indeed, believe that the sacraments are means of grace and means of salvation through which God does work powerfully. And so what do Quakers actually lose by not using the sacraments? And that's true of many of them, that they do not use the sacraments. That's the usual Quaker approach. We can say that they lose the very effect which the sacraments were intended to have. That is spiritual upbuilding, which the Lord intends to work through his sacraments. In baptism we have many glorious promises about what baptism does. "Baptism does also now save us." I Peter 3:21. We know from Scripture that God acts through baptism and thereby creates a clear conscience which can stand before God in making it's appeal. That's what I Peter 3:21 actually says. God creates new life in baptism. And the believer dies to sin and rises to new life in baptism. That's what Paul is talking about in Romans 6. There he says that we are incorporated into Christ's death and resurrection through baptism. Mercy comes into our lives through the washing of rebirth and renewal. Titus 3:5 says that. The words of Saint Paul. Baptism justifies us and makes us righteous in God's sight and makes us heirs in sure hope of eternal life. The letter to Titus says that in the passage that I just referred to, Titus 3:5. The Holy Spirit comes to us through the Word combined with water and by this one enters God's kingdom. That was what Jesus said in John 3 to Nicodemus when he said that some are born of water and of the Spirit. And that no one can enter the kingdom of heaven without that. The church is cleansed in baptism. Ephesians 5:25 to 27 says this. Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it that he might cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. And the people of the nations are made disciples of Jesus through baptism. Matthew 28. The words of the Great Commission: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We also know from scriptural teaching that the Lord's Supper is a wonderful and glorious and powerful means of grace through which God works with us and gives us blessings. He wants to give us communion with himself in our feelings of loneliness which so often afflict us. He gives us communion with himself and with our fellow believers in connection with him. In our enslavement to sin, he wants to give us deliverance from that by giving us the very body and blood which was -- which were given and shed in order to deliver us, to redeem us. Against the fear of death he wants to give us assurance that we will rise again. Here he gives us the very body which was given into death for us in order that he might conquer death and take away the curse of death. That we might rise with him. He wishes to give us the benefit of an inspiration for thanksgiving when we receive the very body of Christ given for us and the blood of Christ shed for us. We cannot help but be aware of the great love of the Savior for us. That is the Savior who did -- who made such a sacrifice for us. And so we are, indeed, moved to heart felt thanks giving. And for this reason the Lord's Supper is often called a Eucharist, which means in Greek a thanksgiving. And in our tendency to forget what God has done for us through Christ, the Lord wants to bless us with a remembrance and a memorial of what he has done. That's why the Words of Institution have the words of remembrance. Take. Eat. This is my body. Do this in remembrance of me. And take. Drink. This is my blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do as often as you drink it in remembrance of me. And in our home sickness he wants to give us the promise of an eternal home. We often have the feeling of being strangers and pilgrims here on this earth. And that heaven is really our home. And the Lord's Supper certainly reminds us of this. Because this supernatural reality here that shows us that there is a glorious life beyond this. And God has provided for us a way in which we may enter this glorious life. That is to say he has provided for the remission of our sins by this shedding of the blood of Christ on the cross. By this forgiveness then, we are made acceptable to God. And it is possible for us to then live forever in the heavenly home, which would not be possible without the Savior of the cross.