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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Whereas the New Testament documents (Gospels, Paul, and the General Epistles) provide the earliest historical witness to the origins and ongoing practice of the Lord’s Supper and baptism in the early church, this chapter provides a synchronic overview of key sacramental texts. Special consideration is given to the ways in which both practices are conceived along the lines of redemptive history (e.g. Passover). As signs of the covenant, both Eucharist and baptism consistently function as community boundary markers (designating the true people of God) and vehicles of grace (empowering recipients for a life of holiness in preparation for the Resurrection to come). At the same time, the New Testament writers display remarkable ingenuity in deploying the sacraments as foundational building blocks in their own theological argumentation. As such, a New Testament theology of the sacraments is characterized by both unity and diversity.

Keywords: Gospels, Paul, General Epistles, Lord’s Supper, baptism, early church, redemptive history, Passover, Covenant, Resurrection

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