Sacramental Controversy

“Sacraments had provoked controversy among Christians ever since Paul rebuked the church at Corinth for irregularities at the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20-34). The rudiments of medieval baptismal doctrine emerged in the course of contention between Augustine and covenantthe Donatists in the early fifth century. Roman eucharistic doctrine was shaped by the ninth-century that erupted when Radbertus of Cobie in France affirmed a sacramental transmutation producing the natural body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. In the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 the Church decided officially that the substance of the bread and wine was transmuted into the body and blood of Christ, but neither this definition of transubstantiation nor explanations of the seven sacraments at the Council of Florence in 1439 could put an end to controversy. Fifteenth-century theologians continued earlier disputes between the Dominicans, who argued that sacraments themselves contained and conveyed grace, and the Franciscans, who said that God conferred grace directly whenever the sacraments were administered. Sacramental controversy was no innovation of the sixteenth-century reformers.” E. Brooks Holifield, The Covenant Sealed: The Development of Puritan Sacramental Theology in Old and New England, 1570-1720

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