Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sacerdotalism

I love big words! Although I don't know how to pronounce this one. As far as I understand the Laws and Disciplines of the Methodist Church, Methodists are not sacerdotalists, which is good news for me as I am not one either! Sacerdotalism is the belief that the minister when praying over the elements for holy communion effects some sort of actual change in the elements (bread and wine) which enables them to cause some sort of actual change in those who eat them (like making salvation happen) which puts a minister a bit too close to God for my liking. (Roman Catholics are sacerdotalists - not too sure about Lutherans or Eastern Orthodox). The Methodist stand is that the minister is ordained to an office for the sake of Church order, not due to any virtue that he or she thereby obtains.
I know that I am just like other people. If there is some sort of holiness requirement for Methodist ministry, you'd better leave me out!!

5 comments:

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

We believe that there are no "holy hands".... we as ministers of the Gospel are not holy in our personal capacity. We represent something that is holy, something bigger than our persons. I am nothing special ... I represent something that is special.
This means that I can be liscenced to administer the sacraments, and can have it withdrawn: it is not about me, but about the Church. This means that I can be feeling far from God but still administer the sacraments, because my personal feelings are not the criteria. It also means that I can think of myself as especially righteous - and the Church can decide that I do not have permission to administer the sacraments. It is always a delegated responsibility.

Thomas Scarborough said...

A similar theme might be those leadership theorists who consider that “who-you-are” is a prerequisite for Christian leadership, as though it depends on our personal capacity.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Thanks Pete. I am glad about that.

Thomas - I'm not sure. Ok - but this - I am happy to believe that leadership ability may be given by God to whomever he chooses. But I am not sure that one could lead without some measure of ability. (Even in your chaos and mayhem!)

Thomas Scarborough said...

I've just been reading your latest on cows. But I think you are hallucinating about the colours.

I'm not referring so much to skill in ministry I think, as to the moral or spiritual "level" one is considered to have attained. For instance, leadership guru Bobby Clinton effectively says that one only becomes effective in ministry as one reaches higher levels of being. I prefer our local Andrew Murray, who said that we are empty from start to finish. This means also that the Spirit can fill our emptiness, and use the empty vessel, the clay pot, from start to finish. It doesn't depend on some sort of status I have attained.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Hi Thomas. Yes I agree with you on that. Although our skill/s need to improve with time and experience, this isn't the same as achieving some sort of spiritual 'higher plain'. It's got to be all about Jesus. Him in us and us in him (kind of paraphrasing from John 17).