Sacrament / Ordinance

A sacrament is a Christian practice that signifies or effectuates the grace of God. These practices are generally understood to have been instituted (or commanded) by Jesus Christ. In some churches the term is referred to as an ordinance. In the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism and some forms of Anglicanism it is taught that sacraments are not only symbolic but also a means by which God communicates his grace. Most other Protestant churches hold that sacraments are purely symbolic signs of an inward change.

Origin of the word

The Latin word sacramentum (holy sign) was used in secular Latin for military oaths of allegiance. Its religious use was introduced by Augustine. In Jerome's Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgata, Jerome translated the Greek word mysterion as sacramentum in some cases, and as mysterium in other cases.

Different views

In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches it is taught that there are seven sacraments. These sacraments are

In Eastern Orthodoxy baptism and confirmation are administered together.

In most Protestant churches, including the Lutheran, Anglican and Baptist churches, it is taught that there are two sacraments. These are

Additionally, in Anglicanism, the other five five sacraments of the Catholic and Orthodox traditions are mentioned in the 39 Articles, although they are not counted as "Sacraments of the Gospel".

In a few Protestant churches, it is taught that Jesus instituted three ordinances. These are:

See also


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This article is written from a Christian perspective.

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