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date: 22 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Settlers to America brought a spectrum of sacramental views, ranging from the Catholic doctrine of the earliest missionaries to the anti-sacramental convictions of Quakers and others. Sacraments became, as a result, objects of intense debate as well as devotion, and the debate had both religious and cultural meanings. In the nineteenth century, the proliferation of denominations intensified the debates, which emerged with surprising frequency in a nation with so many denominations informed by a revivalist ethos. The Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans maintained a sacramental sensibility, even though controversies about sacraments divided the Episcopal and Lutheran traditions. Yet the frequency of debates about baptism and the Lord’s Supper even among groups that rejected or minimized a sacramental vision of Christianity reflected the importance of these rites in American Christian self-understanding.

Keywords: sacraments, ordinances, baptism, Eucharist, Lord’s Supper, the seven sacraments, diversity, sacramental spectrum

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