Sacraments and ordinances

A sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace. It takes the form of a visible ceremony, but it has an inward benefit in the life of the worshipper.

Through the sacraments, a Christian receives spiritual help. The word sacrament comes from the Latin word ‘sacramentum’. This was the oath of loyalty a Roman soldier took on joining the army. The Church took over this word, using it to describe certain practices which show a Christian’s loyalty to Christ.

The Roman Catholic Church believes there are seven sacraments, whereas most Protestant churches believe there are just two – baptism and Holy Communion.

The Baptist Church prefers to call sacraments ‘ordinances’. This simply means an act of obedience to a command of Jesus.