Christian Sacraments

Christian sacraments have the power to enact what they symbolize.  These are outward signs instituted by Christ to be efficacious, to do what they symbolize.  The power of a ritual is more than the actual physical baptismal or sharing of the bread and wine event.  We remember and enact the experience of Jesus Christ.  This is not magic.  We do not need to be like a sports fan (fanatic) at a sporting event that goes crazy into the event.  Yet our involvement demands an expressing and deepening of the sense and experience of the mystery of God, as expressed in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the sacrament of God.  His Christian Church is the sacrament of Jesus.  The individual Christian sacraments are the expression of Jesus and his Christian community.  The sacramental symbols of the Christian churches effect what they symbolize.  They do what they say they are doing in a special graced filled moment.

 

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The Christian Code of Love

The gospel code of love and the beatitudes are prevalent.  The Jewish Hebrew Ten Commandments remain as the basic tenets of most Christian Churches.  However, nearly every Christian Church has laws or directives that are specific to their denomination or to their particular local Church.  Creation is good, and man is responsible for the earth, so that there is a need for justice and love.

Limitations of the Bible

The difficulty with all these interpretations hangs on the question whether this is the word of God or man’s word?  Every reading of the Bible is an interpretation.  Who decided which books belong in the bible?  This was not decided until over 300 hundred years after Christ.  Many of the Christian churches have different books in the Old Testament.  How can you have justification from the texts themselves?  There have many weird interpretations of the Bible.  The Bible has had a history under the influence of God’s Spirit.  The Bible should not be watered down.

The Pauline letters to the seven specific churches

There are fourteen Pauline epistles, letters generally attributed to the apostle Paul.  The Greek name for a letter was epistle (ἐπιστολὴ).  Nine of these Pauline epistles were addressed to seven Christian Churches that he had visited.  1 Thessalonians, from the early 50s CE, is perhaps the oldest document of the New Testament.  2 Thessalonians dates from the early to late 60s CE.  The letter to the Romans was composed between 53-57 CE.  1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians date from 53-57 CE also.  The letter to the Galatians comes from the late 50s CE), while the letter to the Colossians dates from the late 50s to the early 60s CE.  The letters to the churches of the Ephesians and the Philippians comes from the early 60s CE.  A lot of Christian theology has been based on the reflections of these letters that were describing what was happening in their early Christian communities.