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The Church As Sacrament

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Chapter Summary

This chapter derives the formulations, 'church reforming' and 'church dissolving' from one of the greatest thinkers of the Dutch Reformed tradition - next to Abraham Kuyper - Herman Bavinck. To speak in an adequate way of the sacramental character of the church in the Reformed tradition depends totally on our concept of the relation of Christ to his church. The chapter founds one of the best formulations of the symbolic character of the church in the document that concludes the second phase of the international Roman Catholic - Reformed dialogue entitled "Towards a Common Understanding of the Church". Finally, the chapter concludes that not only the sacraments of baptism and Lord's supper, but also the church as sacrament must always be perceived as a sign of the kingdom - as a symbol pointing beyond itself.

Keywords: church; Dutch Reformed tradition; sacrament



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