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Re: Part Two of the Course, Fourth Assignment, Question 1
by Marvin Fitchett - Sunday, 29 July 2012, 12:03 PM

A comparison of the Protestant’s and Catholic Church’s view of the sacraments during the reformation shall be performed. In this venture, an illustration will be drawn to show the similarity and differences of the Protestant’s and the Catholic Church’s perspective regarding the theological sacraments.

Initially, the Reformists began to rise up against the Catholic Church due to abuses surrounding the sacraments. Those abuses involved indulgences, and they were associated with the sacrament of penances. The Catholic clergy started out with harsh punishment of believers to re-enter the community as their acts of penance. Next, the abuse escalated to Catholic clergy taking money in exchange as special indulgences. Then, the clergy began selling indulgences to cover the sins of individuals.

One of the chief Protestant Reformist was Martin Luther, and his dispute with the Catholic Church centered round the abuse of the indulgences. The Catholic clergy’s participation in the abuse signaled the difference between the Protestant’s and Catholic sacramental beliefs. It became noticeable to Martin Luther the sacramental power of the sacraments could not prevent or curtail the escalation of the abuse of the indulgences, so Luther concluded, the sacraments themselves were ineffective. Luther’s view establishes the differing views, where the reformers announce their beliefs about the sacraments on the authority of the Holy Scriptures, and the Catholic Church maintained their traditional position of the sacramental theology which was developed from the patristic fathers.

Luther presented the concept that the Holy Scriptures spoke to the heart and conscience of an individual resulting in personal revelation and experience with the sacred. Whereas, the Catholic Church declared it was a metaphysical experience, where God spoke through the church to its members.

Additionally, there were other reformers, Calvin and Zwingli, who preserve the Protestant’s sacramental views. John Calvin’s sacramental theology was centered on the concept that the sacraments were testaments to remind the participants of the grace of God. Next, Ulrich Zwingli sacramental premise involved the believer’s faith to receive God’s salvation. As the believer participates in the Christian social signs of belief, or their sacraments, they were reminded of their personal involvement with God because of their faith. The views of Calvin and Zwingli are unlike the Catholic Church.

In light of the aforementioned sacramental differences, the Protestants and Catholics possessed some sacramental similarities. The Protestant affirm the Holy Scriptures as the foundation authority for their beliefs (ordinances) and similarly the Catholic Church teaching authority was based on God’s word. They both referred to the scriptures for their foundational authority. When sacramental theology enters the discussion, we find that two of the seven Catholic sacraments are similar. The Protestant’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper ordinances and the Catholic Church Eucharist and baptism sacraments are identical in their origin. They both recognized the Lord Jesus as the individual instituting the Protestant ordinances and Catholic sacraments. Finally, the Protestants and the Catholics used similar sacramental gesture, and acts in administering their rites or rituals. During their worship services, Protestants and Catholics declared God’s word to their congregations, used prayer, and they performed the act of laying hands on their members.

Although, there are notable differences between the Protestant and Catholic believers, there are similarities in the primary sacraments and sacramental practices. The similarities between the two faith communities can be launch point to build relationship and strength the Community of Jesus Christ.

Grade 2 (Could have described theological positions more accurately. Needed to show why both sides thought they were right.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Thursday, 26 July 2012, 07:09 PM)