Friday, November 07, 2008
Are Roman Sacraments Valid?
The Roman Church is considered by Reformed and Lutheran Confessionalists to be a "false church." Exactly what it means to be a false church remains a little cloudy. Indeed, such a designation exists for Paul as a church that does not preach the gospel. But what else does that entail? Most Protestant Churches have still recognized the sacraments of the Roman church as valid sacraments. Why is this if Rome does not preach the gospel? Martin Luther offers an explanation:
"Although the city Rome is worse than Sodom and Gomorra, nevertheless there remains Baptism, Sacraments, the Words of the Gospel, the Holy Scriptures, the Ministry of the Church, the name of Christ and the name of God . . . Therefore, the Roman Church is holy, because she has the holy name of God, the Gospel, the Baptism, etc. If these things exist among a people, the people is called holy. Thus also our city Wittenberg is a holy city, and we are truly holy because we are baptized, have received the Holy Communion and have been taught and called by God. We have the work of God among us, the Word and the Sacraments, and these make us holy."
- Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians 1535, Luther's Works, trans. by Jaroslav Pelikan (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1963), vol. 26, pp.24-25.