Difference Between Sacrament and Ordinance

Key Difference – Sacrament vs Ordinance
 

Sacrament and Ordinance are two terms between which a key difference can be identified. Christianity is a religion that is followed by more than 2 billion people around the world. In Christianity, sacred rites having importance are referred to as sacraments and also as ordinances. Most people use the terms sacrament and ordinance interchangeably for rituals having religious basis. However, the two terms are not synonymous, and there are some subtle differences between sacrament and ordinance that will be talked about in this article.

What is Sacrament?

Sacrament is a ritual or a religious rite that is believed to bring god’s grace with its observance. This is particularly true in Catholicism and a few other denominations of Christianity like Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The sacraments are 7 in number, in these faiths and are as follows.

• Baptism

• Holy Communion

• Marriage

• Holy orders

• Confession

• Anointing of the sick

If you ask a Catholic, he would tell you that these sacraments were given to the church by Jesus himself to be administered to the faithful. These are religious rites that are believed to be necessary for one’s salvation. These sacraments are considered to be vehicles of God’s grace for the faithful.

Difference Between Sacrament and Ordinance

What is Ordinance?

Ordinance is a term that is mostly used by Baptists. Ordinances are visual aids for the faithful to understand and realize what Jesus went through and did for our salvation. These ordinances are symbolic of the fact that Christ was born; he lived and gave his life for us. He ascended to the heavens, but he will return someday. Ordinances in baptism are believed to have been instituted by Christ himself and taught and spread among the masses by apostles. Only two religious rites classify to have these features and these are communion and baptism. Thus, there are only these two ordinances, but they are not necessary for one’s salvation.

Sacrament vs Ordinance

What is the Difference Between Sacrament and Ordinance?

Definitions of of Sacrament and Ordinance:

Sacrament: Sacrament is a ritual or a religious rite that is believed to bring god’s grace with its observance.

Ordinance: Ordinances are visual aids for the faithful to understand and realize what Jesus went through and did for our salvation.

Characteristics of Sacrament and Ordinance:

Nature:

Sacrament: Sacraments are acts that bring God’s grace.

Ordinance: Ordinances are duties commanded by the church.

Salvation:

Sacrament: Sacraments are necessary for salvation.

Ordinance: Ordinances are not necessary for salvation.

Number:

Sacrament: There are 7 sacraments in Catholicism.

Ordinance: There are only 2 ordinances in Baptist faith.

Religious Rites:

Sacrament: Sacraments are religious rites that are believed to have been instituted by Christ and given to Church for administration.

Ordinance: Ordinance are also religious rites that are believed to have been instituted by Christ and given to Church for administration.

Observed:

Sacrament: Sacraments are observed in Catholic and some Protestant denominations.

Ordinance: Ordinances are observed in Baptist denomination.

Grace:

Sacrament: Sacraments are means of God’s graces.

Ordinance: Ordinances are pictures of grace.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Disputa del Sacramento (Rafael)” by Raphael [Public Domain] via Commons

2. “Latter Day Saint confirmation (Mayhew 1852)” by Mayhew, Henry (1852), Mormons: or Latter-Day Saints (3d ed.), London: 227 Strand.  [Public Domain] via Commons