This page - just begun - may be controversial, and is designed to stimulat discussion and thought. It lists and discusses a number of things that do not seem to come across clearly in a broad-sweep view of God's communications to us yet seem important to Christians. Many of these things have provoked wars. But, if they do not come across as important in a broad-sweep view, are they really all that important? Or are there good reasons for giving them the importance that we assign to them?

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(to be written).


Though the activities or rituals of baptism and the Lord's Supper are mentioned in the Bible, the Bible does not clearly treat them as sacraments. A sacrament is "an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual reality." As a result, for example, undertaking the activity of baptism or communion is held to have some good effect at the spiritual level whether or not the participant believes it or even has the correct attitude while performing it.

Now, many people's experience suggests this might be the case. But I cannot find any justification in the Bible for such a stance, and certainly not in a broad-sweep view of the more important things. Indeed, the whole notion of sacrament seems at odds with at least some of the following big messages that God has spoken:

I wonder if the notion of sacraments has in reality come from Aristotle's idea of substance-and-accidents, which infected the mediaeval European church and is seen in doctrines like 'transsubstantiation'. This whole notion seems at odds with that of Scripture, as has been discussed by the phiosopher Herman Dooyeweerd.

But, of course I might be mistaken. Comments please.

This is part of the A Brief History of God website.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2000. Comments and queries are very welcome.

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Last updated: 10 December 2000 new contacts pointer. 7 April 2001 wrote sacraments.