Tag Archives: lord’s supper

Baptist Distinctives Day 4: Two Ordinances

Rather than having multiple sacraments Baptists hold to “ordinances” of which there are only two: baptism and communion. Both of these are held by Baptists to be purely symbolic in nature and contain no efficacy whatsoever. Just because they’re symbolic, however, doesn’t mean that they’re not worth spilling gallons of ink (and possibly blood) over.

The qualifications of a candidate for baptism are a pretty straightforward affair in fundyland. You have to be at least old enough to repeat the sinner’s prayer more or less intelligibly after a Sunday School teacher and you have to be willing to take the risk on getting water up your nose if the pastor’s handkerchief hand slips. Although baptism is considered an act of obedience, to a Baptist, getting dunked under water serves mainly as a testimony to the community that the person is publicly professing his faith. The fact that nobody in the Bible ever appears to have had this motivation for being baptized doesn’t bother them in the least.

Like baptism, the Lord’s Supper is also a completely symbolic affair — the only difference being that if you screw around with it, God may very well up and kill you. Seriously. Perhaps it’s this mortal danger (or perhaps it’s just that it takes away from the amount of time the pastor has to preach) but communion doesn’t happen all that frequently in fundyland. After all we wouldn’t want to remember Christ’s sacrifice too often. That kind of frequent ritual is reserved for things like praying a blessing over every Snickers bar and bag of potato chips.

In reality, the list of two ordinances is far from complete. There are a plethora of other observances in fundamentalism that may not make it onto the official list but are are required all the same. These include Church Attendance, Tithing, The Praising of The Pastor, and Sewing Your Own Jean Jumpers (with bedazzlers!) and so on.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man.