Yesterday I mentioned the seven sacraments that the Church of Rome insists Christ instituted for perpetual observance in His church. They are Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Last Rites of the Church, Holy Orders (the Priesthood) and Matrimony. Reading Roman Catholic defenses of these seven sacraments I am amazed at the open self-contradiction. For example, Rome states that Matrimony is a sacrament yet she defends her invention that no priest may marry. She gives a variety of reasons why the law of priestly celibacy should be kept intact (despite the evidence of widespread immorality among her priests) but she never answers this simple question: If Matrimony is a sacrament in which Christ is received and by which His grace is actually conferred, how can it be right to prohibit a man who is professedly seeking all the grace that Christ can give him from a sacrament that will fill him with grace?
Of course, in the Christianity of the New Testament Matrimony is not a sacrament. Nor is Confirmation, Penance, the Last Rites or the Priesthood. Matrimony is a very important divine institution that dates all the way back to the Creation but there is not a word of its being a sacrament or a channel of grace that people receive by the very act of entering the married state. The New Testament says nothing about marriage being a sacrament. If it were, there could never be any ground for dissolving it and the Lord Jesus stipulated that in cases of fornication it could be dissolved. And Rome, for all her proclaimed opposition to divorce, regularly annuls marriages-as in the recent case of Robert Kennedy Jr. in which a long standing marriage was effectively declared never to have happened and the children it produced rendered illegitimate. But how can you annul a sacrament? The thought is repugnant.
We look in vain in the New Testament for any of the five sacraments that Rome invented. They are not even mentioned as sacraments. The Scripture texts that Rome adduces make no sacramental statements. Rome has simply invented them for her own purposes, which is another way of saying that as she developed further and further from the purity of the gospel she introduced innovations to bind the people to her. So, by making a list of sacraments that elevated her priests and covered every age of life from the cradle to the grave, Rome gradually and effectively enslaved her people.
In addition, Rome corrupted the two genuine sacraments of the New Testament church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. She has corrupted Baptism into the dogma of baptismal regeneration, making it essential to receiving salvation from Christ. She even taught that babies who die before being baptized must be eternally excluded from heaven. The New Testament doctrine of baptism is not baptismal regeneration. As I have stated earlier in the week, Rome has also corrupted the Lord's Supper by making it an actual sacrifice in which Christ is "immolated" as a propitiation for the sins of the living and the dead.
How refreshing to turn from Roman inventions to the simple purity of God's Word! There are only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Let us cherish them and never surrender them for the ecumenical mess of pottage that offers us Rome's unbiblical liturgical and sacramental system. There is death in that pot!