The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
"The Reformed tradition understands Baptism and the Lord's Supper to be Sacraments, instituted by God and commended by Christ. Sacraments are signs of the real presence and power of Christ in the Church, symbols of God's action. Through the Sacraments, God seals believers in redemption, renews their identity as the people of God, and marks them for service." (Book of Order W-1.3033.2)
"The early Church, following Jesus, took three primary material elements of life--water, bread, and wine--to become basic symbols of offering life to God as Jesus had offered his life. Being washed with the water of Baptism, Christians received new life in Christ and presented their bodies to be living sacrifices to God. Eating bread and drinking wine they received the sustaining presence of Christ, remembered God's covenant promise, and pledged their obedience anew." (Book of Order W-1.3033.1)
The Lord's Supper
What is the Lord's Supper?
It is the sacrament based on Jesus' words and actions at his last meal with the Apostles.
The Lord's Supper celebrates the power of God's love.
- It Commemorates Jesus' perfect sacrifice on our behalf.
- It Renews our fellowship with other Christians.
- It Enables us to experience the saving power of God's love through Christ.
- It Nourishes our faith in the deepest way possible.
At the Lord's Supper, Jesus offers us the food of eternal life. The sacrament provides us with a never-ending source of:
- Spiritual Nourishment - God nourishes us with spiritual food and strength. At the Lord's Supper, we are invited to experience the joy and gratitude that flow from the power and fullness of God's love.
- Growth in Grace - By remembering Jesus' command at the Last Supper, we open ourselves to God's love. Filled with the Holy Spirit, our lives take on renewed meaning. We grow in our ability to love God and other people.
Baptism unites us with Jesus Christ and makes us members of God's family, the Church.
For Presbyterians, Baptism:
- is an initiation into the church community, as ordered by Christ.
- is a public confession, not a private one - it's a statement of faith made in the presence of others.
- does not guarantee access to heaven - unbaptized people are not denied salvation.
- can be performed in another church - there is no need to be re-baptized in a Presbyterian church.