Author Topic: Sacramental absolution?  (Read 3455 times)

Terry W Culler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2227
    • View Profile
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2020, 05:58:53 PM »
I don't have the Book of Concord with me at the moment but I do have a copy of the Augsburg Confession and I see nothing in it either under Sacraments or Confession which says that absolution is sacramental.  It cannot be because sacraments must have an earthly element and there is none.
Goodnewsforabadworld.wordpress.com

JEdwards

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 660
    • View Profile
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2020, 08:56:38 PM »
A bit of a tangent, but even the Roman Catholic Church allows “general absolution” in extreme situations like this one:

https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/alert-prompts-hawaii-bishop-give-general-absolution-deacon-group

Peace,
Jon


Richard Johnson

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10403
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    • View Profile
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2020, 09:05:28 PM »
I don't have the Book of Concord with me at the moment but I do have a copy of the Augsburg Confession and I see nothing in it either under Sacraments or Confession which says that absolution is sacramental.  It cannot be because sacraments must have an earthly element and there is none.



Quote from: The Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Ap XIII 4)
Therefore Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Absolution, which is the Sacrament of Repentance, are truly Sacraments. For these rites have God's command and the promise of grace, which is peculiar to the New Testament. For when we are baptized, when we eat the Lord's body, when we are absolved, our hearts must be firmly assured that God truly forgives us.


Quote from: Large Catechism (LC IV 74 - 75)
And here you see that Baptism, both in its power and signification, comprehends also the third Sacrament, which has been called repentance, 75] as it is really nothing else than Baptism. For what else is repentance but an earnest attack upon the old man [that his lusts be restrained] and entering upon a new life? Therefore, if you live in repentance, you walk in Baptism, which not only signifies such a new life, but also produces, begins, and exercises it.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13545
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2020, 10:30:16 PM »
Pastor Culler writes:
It cannot be because sacraments must have an earthly element and there is none.
I comment:
As I noted upstream, that is our definition of sacrament. Our conception of what is sacramental is something else. I learned that those "other" things which bring what the sacraments bring can be considered sacramental. That may have been a convenient way to include absolution as "nearly" a sacrament, but there it is.
I was also taught, back in the days of dial telephones, that only the ordained should speak the words of absolution, another sign that there was something sacramental about that rite and that therefore, clergy should preside.
In churches where I served or assisted, attempts to encourage private confession were always unsuccessful, save for an occasional former Roman Catholic. We did give individual absolution during the Holy Thursday service, but that was general, group confession, then absolution by the laying on of hands for those who came to the altar.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
😉

mj4

  • Guest
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2020, 12:04:11 AM »
I thinkWhen a pastor speaks the words of absolution whether  individually or corporately, it is sacramental. Why would it not be?
The rubrics assign those words to the ordained, so...

Because:
(1) There's no command of Christ to confess generically and be forgiven generically
(2) There's no "element of the earth" involved

But of course it all depends on how we define "sacrament," doesn't it?

Would not the earthly element be the pastor who speaks absolution?

Maybe. But if that counts as "earthly element," doesn't that allow that a bunch of other things might also be sacraments? And one classic definition of sacrament is "an outward and visible sign."

I've wondered if the laying on of hands in the absolution is the "earthly element"; at least in what I've read of Anglican eucharistic theology, that's the "outward sign" in ordination (and, perhaps, confirmation and unction, though there's often anointing with oil involved there as well).

“Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God."  - from Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.

Richard Johnson

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10403
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    • View Profile
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2020, 10:38:25 AM »

“Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God."  - from Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.

Right. But a couple of things to say about this. First, the 39 Articles do not have the same confessional status in Anglicanism (and especially Episcopalianism) as do the Lutheran confessions in our churches. They are treated more as "historical documents." In Anglicanism, as in Lutheranism, there is a strain that would consider all seven as "sacraments," though in "official" documents the five are named "sacramental rites" (a difference a little hard to parse).

One might actually read Article XXV (as is true of so much in Anglicanism!) in a more catholic way, as a distinction between "Sacraments of the Gospel" which have a "visible sign or ceremony ordained of God" and other rites which may indeed be "allowed in the Scriptures" but without the same clear warrant.

The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

mj4

  • Guest
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2020, 04:32:56 PM »

“Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God."  - from Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.

Right. But a couple of things to say about this. First, the 39 Articles do not have the same confessional status in Anglicanism (and especially Episcopalianism) as do the Lutheran confessions in our churches. They are treated more as "historical documents." In Anglicanism, as in Lutheranism, there is a strain that would consider all seven as "sacraments," though in "official" documents the five are named "sacramental rites" (a difference a little hard to parse).

One might actually read Article XXV (as is true of so much in Anglicanism!) in a more catholic way, as a distinction between "Sacraments of the Gospel" which have a "visible sign or ceremony ordained of God" and other rites which may indeed be "allowed in the Scriptures" but without the same clear warrant.

Maybe I'm just not well read, but I've never heard Anglicans use the term "earthly elements". Their concern seems to lean more toward the action taking place. Perhaps this is how some Anglicans sidestep the issue of the Real Presence.

Richard Johnson

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10403
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    • View Profile
Re: Sacramental absolution?
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2020, 06:31:08 PM »
Maybe I'm just not well read, but I've never heard Anglicans use the term "earthly elements". Their concern seems to lean more toward the action taking place. Perhaps this is how some Anglicans sidestep the issue of the Real Presence.

That particular phrase is certainly not as common among Anglicans as among Lutherans, though it is not unknown; see, for instance, Brian Douglas, A Companion to Anglican Eucharistic Theology: "The visible and outward sign and the inward and spiritual grace are one sacrament, where the earthly element is taken up into the heavenly reality." v. 2 p. 256

Some Anglicans have leaned on the Roman Catholic view that each sacrament has matter and form (this comes from Trent, I believe), so that the matter is what we Lutherans would call the "earthly element" and the form is the prescribed ritual and ceremonial acts. But I think even without those categories, most Anglican theologians would insist on a physical "visible" sign (though with penance/reconciliation/absolution there is not agreement on just what that is!).
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS