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date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter maps the essential contours and points of dialogue or contention pertaining to the sacraments among Presbyterian denominations. First, the chapter examines the distinctively Presbyterian understanding of sacraments in general. The chapter then explores in detail the theological meaning and practices of the two Presbyterian sacraments: baptism and Holy Communion. For Presbyterians, baptism serves as the rite of Christian initiation. The chapter also explains why Presbyterians practice paedobaptism. While baptism is for Presbyterians the sacrament of initiation into the church, the sacrament of Holy Communion is at the core of the church’s corporate life and work. The chapter next examines several contemporary issues related to the sacraments for Presbyterians. In the spirit of “the Reformed church always being reformed according to the Word of God,” the chapter concludes by posing several provocative questions for Presbyterian denominations and the sacraments in the digital age.

Keywords: Baptism, Holy Communion, Ascension, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Christian life, Christian education and formation, Epiclesis, discipleship, paedobaptism, Holy Spirit, Trinity

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