In other posts, I’ve mentioned I’m wrestling my way though Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. I’m currently reading a section about sacraments. Calvin sees sacraments like communion or baptism as signs of the work of Christ. Baptism, for example, pictures our death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. Baptism doesn’t only signify forgiveness. It shows us our old nature was buried with Christ; we have received a new nature through His resurrection (Rom. 6). Sacraments have no intrinsic value or power; their entire worth is in Christ, to whom they point. As we trust in Christ, sacraments can be vehicles of grace. Calvin likens sacraments to the word of God: to benefit us they must be mixed with faith ( Heb. 4:2). I appreciate Calvin’s emphasis on Christ. Apart from Christ, sacraments are religious forms devoid of power (2 Tim. 3:5).
Calvin talks a great deal about baptism in particular. He believed only ministers should baptize based on Matthew 28:19 and 20–“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Since Jesus spoke this only to the apostles, we can infer that only church leaders should baptize.
What do you think? Do you agree with Calvin? Whether you do or not, leave a comment below. I’m curious to see what folks think 🙂