Robert Hendrickson responds to the Diocese of Eastern Oregon report on Communing the UnBaptized

The challenge is not that we have a ministry of the baptized and Communion as our central act of worship ”“ the challenge is that we have clergy ill-trained in Sacramental theology administering them. We have laity that we have failed to form in Sacramental living. We now have a wide body of our priests that do not believe anything much actually happens in the Sacraments.

Do you believe the Holy Spirit descends upon a person and transforms their very being in Baptism so that they are united with Christ? Do you believe that Christ is truly present in the Body and Blood we receive at the Altar? Are the Sacraments God’s action or ours? I have heard far too many talking of Baptism as an entry rite rather than as transformation just as I have heard too many speak of Communion as a “meal” alone rather than the very Presence of Christ among us.

If you have a clergy addicted to modernism and reformation charged with carrying out the catholic Sacramental life of the Church then you will, indeed, have tension. But the tension should not between upending the Sacraments or administering them faithfully as they have been across the centuries. The tension should be between doing or not doing them. You can choose other ways of ministry that do not involve undoing the historic Sacraments of the Church if you are not comfortable with the faith and order we have been welcomed into as both baptized and ordained leaders.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Baptism, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, Theology

3 comments on “Robert Hendrickson responds to the Diocese of Eastern Oregon report on Communing the UnBaptized

  1. Paula Loughlin says:

    That was an excellent article, thank you for making it available.

  2. Saltmarsh Gal says:

    There is a strand in eucharistic theology (RC – McCarthy, Chennattu) that sees the institution of the Holy Eucharist as the meal the “cements” the new convenant between God in Christ and believers. How can the meal function as an entering into covenant or reaffirmation of the covenant if one is refusing the covenant by not being willing to be baptised?

  3. Ad Orientem says:

    For those interested there is an outstanding essay by Met. John Zizioulas entitled [url=]EUCHARIST, BISHOP, CHURCH: THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH IN THE DIVINE EUCHARIST AND THE BISHOP DURING THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES[/url] that I believe effectively demolishes the concept of communion of the unbaptized (or for that matter open communion period). I will however caution that this is not light reading. +Zizioulas is widely regarded as one of the foremost theologians now living and is friends with many of the others in that rather exclusive club, including Pope Benedict XVI.