Sacraments in John? ("Christ plays in 10,000 places")?
- I am writing an essay on sacraments in John that I hope to publish later
this year. I rehearse the "anti-sacraments" argument of Bultmann and the
"pro-sacraments" argument of Cullmann. Other highlights: I try to indicate what Luther and
Zwingli might have disagreed about in John 6. I think perhaps Sir Edwyn
Hoskyns has the best approach to John 6, when he says that it is a
sacramental chapter and that it assumes the eucharistic practices of the
early church as "understood."
I have come to a particular question, however, that I can't quite get a
handle on, and I would appreciate comments from list members:
Suppose you accept what I will call "the sacramental principle" of the
Prologue: "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" -- does this lead
you to a Gerard Manley Hopkins type of affirmation that "Christ plays in
10,000 places"? What is there in John's gospel that keeps us from saying
anything like this in our worship? Why do we say that there are just 2 or just 7 sacraments
and not an "infinite number" of sacraments?
I know there are creeds and catechisms that teach 2 or 7, but what do we
find in John itself that "puts the brakes on"?
Erskine College and Seminary