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基督徒世界观 译介圣经神学

 
 
 

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记号,所象征的实物和圣礼的关系  

2011-08-06 02:37:00|  分类: 改革宗神学 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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记号,所象征的实物和圣礼的关系


Sign, Thing Signified, and Sacramental Relationship
诚之译自:
http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/sign-thing-signified-and-sacramental-relationship/

理解圣餐最主要的困难是要认识圣餐的三个元素——记号(sign),记号所象征的实物(the thing signified),以及圣礼的本身。以洗礼为例,水是洗礼的记号,无论是洒水、倒水或浸入(我相信用多少水是无关紧要的)。记号所象征的实物是基督洁净的宝血。很多人忽略的一件事是,圣礼包括了记号所代表的实物。这在今天许多教会中是很大的问题。许多教会只是把圣礼当作记号。因此,当我们用“洗礼”这个词时,通常只认为它是记号,只是一个仪式。然而,这不是理解圣礼唯一的方式。《威斯敏斯德大要理问答》问答163明确地说,“外在记号所象征的内在属灵真理”,也是圣礼的一部分。这不应该让我们感到紧张,因为真正的问题是洗礼的效用到底何在。

洗礼的能力不是在记号上。罗马书4:11的结论,绝对地证明了这点,那里明确说到,亚伯拉罕在他还没有得到记号之前,就已经得到了记号所象征的实物。割礼被描述为是记号与印证/印记(sign and seal)。这可以直接驳斥那些相信“印证”隐含了「传递」(conferral)涵义的人。罗马书4:11里所说的印记,不可能是指传递已经据有的事物。

记号所象征的实物具有拯救的能力。基督的宝血具有客观的拯救能力。但这个能力是如何施行到我们身上的呢?答案在于记号和所象征的实物之间,在『圣礼上的联合』(sacramental union)。描述这种圣礼上的联合的另一种方式是:“圣灵所赐的信心。”这是我们避免路德宗一直存在的问题——把拯救的能力赋予洗礼,同时又说着“唯独信心”——的方法。如果是圣灵所赐的信心把记号和所象征的实物连在一起,那么,这就是唯一能拯救人的信心。信心也把记号和所象征的实物连在一起,以至于整个的圣礼今天仍然存在。

注意到要拥有记号而不拥有所象征的实物是相当可能的(例如那些被遗弃的人)。拥有所象征的实物而没有记号也是可能的(例如亚伯拉罕在割礼之前)。人要拥有整个圣礼的唯一方式是圣灵赐给我们信心。我相信,只有当我们以这种方式来理解圣餐,才能避免过高地看重记号(和它施行的时间)的问题,这是一方面;以及在另外一方面贬低圣礼,把圣礼当作只是光秃秃的记号。

我相信,这和改革宗强调圣礼是「确认的记号」(a confirmatory sign)是相符的。当他们用这个语言时,是说到记号的本身。但当他们用这个语言来反驳「重洗派」(他们的立场通常是反对光秃秃的记号。译按:重洗礼派不看重外在的记号)时,他们是论及记号和所象征的实物。这是我们使用圣礼语言正常的方式,而我们必须仔细区分,当我们说到记号时,我们是不是只认为那只是记号,还是我们是指整个圣礼,包括圣灵所赐的信心。我相信如果在这点上我们小心地区分,可以避免许多的误解和混乱。

附原文:
Sign, Thing Signified, and Sacramental Relationship

The thing signified obviously has saving power. The blood of Christ has an objectively saving power. But how does it get applied to us? The answer is in the sacramental union of sign and thing signified. Another way of describing this sacramental union is “Spirit-given faith.” This is how we avoid the problem that the Lutherans constantly have of ascribing saving power to baptism, and yet also saying “sola fide.” If it is Spirit-given faith that connects sign to thing signified, then that is faith alone that saves. Faith also connects the sign and the thing signified so that the whole sacrament is now present.

One of the main difficulties in understanding the sacraments is understanding the relationship among these three elements of the sacraments. We’ll take baptism here for an example. The sign is the water, whether sprinkled, poured, or immersed (I believe that the amount of water used is ultimately immaterial). The thing signified is the cleansing blood of Christ. One important thing that is usually missed here is that the sacrament includes the thing signified. This gets at a huge problem in the church today. The church tends to refer to the sacrament as including only the sign. Therefore, when we use the term “baptism,” we usually mean just the sign, just the rite. However, this is not the only way to understand the sacrament. WLC 163 explicitly says that the “inward and spiritual grace thereby signified” is also part of the sacrament. This shouldn’t make us nervous in the least, because the real question is where the efficacy of baptism lies.

The power of baptism cannot lie in the sign. This is proven absolutely, 100% conclusively by Romans 4:11, which states explicitly that Abraham already had the thing signified long before he ever had the sign applied to him. Circumcision is described as a sign and seal. This refutes directly those who believe that the “seal” language implies conferral. For here in Romans 4:11 is a seal that most definitely could not confer something already possessed.

Note here that it is quite possible to possess the sign without the thing signified (as in the reprobate). It is also quite possible to possess the thing signified without the sign (as in Abraham before he was circumcised). The only way one can possess the whole sacrament is for the Holy Spirit to give us faith. I believe that it is only as we understand baptism this way that we can avoid the problem associated with too high a view of the sign (and the time-point of its administration), on the one hand; and a devaluing of the sacrament on the other, making the sacrament into a bare sign.

This fits in, I believe, with the Reformed emphasis of the sign as a confirmatory sign. When they use this language, they are talking about the sign by itself. But when they use language reacting against the Anabaptists (usually rejecting the position of a naked and bare sign), they are talking about the sign and the thing signified together. This is the normal way we use sacramental language, and we have to be careful to delineate whether we mean the sign considered just as a sign, or whether we are referring to the whole sacrament, including Spirit-given faith. I am convinced that massive amounts of miscommunication and confusion could be avoided if we are careful at just this point.
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