I finished my presentation on sacramental efficacy for the General Assembly Colloquium this year. I need to get it to the convener tomorrow. The stipulated question that each of the 4 speakers were asked to address is: What do the sacraments actually accomplish in their administration?
I sought to answer this question from a slightly different perspective. I've broken the question up into two parts, each adressing two dimensions of the problem. First, it's not enough to simply ask what the Lord's Supper, for example, accomplishes, but what ought it to accomplish?
And once we answer that, then the more difficult question is: Does the Lord’s Supper actually accomplish what God intends in our churches? And if it doesn’t, what’s the problem?
Most Reformed people would respond to the problem of the Supper's not accomplishing what God intends with a reference to the individual communicant’s lack of faith. Efficacy depends on the faithful reception of the Supper. No faith, no benefits. True enough. But is that the whole story? What if the way we do the Supper, the way the Supper is performed and then experienced is a major part of the problem? What if even faith-filled Christian people are hindered from receiving all the gifts God intends to give in the Supper because we pastors and elders are not being attentive to the proper manner in which the Supper is to be performed?
That's the question I will address in my presentation. Maybe I'll post it after it's delivered on June 10th.