Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

I'm getting tired of pretending I'm an evangelical. My whole family are Baptists and while they know their bibles a fair bit, they are completely ignorant (save my brother) of Church History and Systematic Theology. So everytime we get together I mention something from history or theology or church history that goes against the Neo-Con Evangelical mold, and it causes a really awkward moment. Tonight, I tried really hard the whole evening not to say anything. They mocked the Unitarians and I wanted to tell them that that's where sola scriptura leads, but I didn't. They laughed at Italian Catholics, but I said nothing (though I'm no lover of them either so it was easier). FINALLY. We're watching a video of their wedding.

First of all it was a Baptist church but they had a big cross and candles specially for the occasion - both of which they forbid in Sunday uses as idolatry (or at least Baptists traditionally did). Then the pastor almost quoted the Book of Common Prayer (CofE/Anglican) verbatim for the ceremony (remember a Baptist by the name of John Bunyon who let his family starve rather than submit to the Anglican Church). Finally they had vows (which need I remind you are 'forbidden' "let your yes be yes and your no be no") and a sacramental declaration of their marriage by the minister.

So I finally enlightened them - to their anger - that at best they were being pseudo-Anglicans (my brother doesn't believe Anglicans are Christians) and at worst crypto-Romanists. I showed them all the sacramental references or occurances in their ceremony and how it even mirrored the Mass. By the end of it, there was silence you could cut with a knife, and everyone just moved on to a new topic.

People certainly hate learning things, especially about theology. Much easier not to think about why your tradition rejected Holy Matrimony as a sacrament.

We even learned that some Anabaptists used to publically fornicate (have sex with) their elders to 'prove' that vows were meaningless (including marriage vows) and to show that it was NOT a sacrament. I'm not even going to begin on why Protestants celebrate Christmas... complete inconsistency to their traditions...

And for all the demands for biblical support, St. Paul says in Ephesians 5:23 concerning marriage: "sacramentum hoc magnum est" (Vulg.) "this is a great sacrament". It reminds me of the great Aquinas quote: "marriage is a sacrament for Holy Scripture sayeth "marriage is a great sacrament"". (Mysterion for you Greeks out there)

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