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Which sentence uses the word ordinances correctly? A. If you want forgiveness for your...

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cknutson4 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:07 PM via web

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Which sentence uses the word ordinances correctly?

A. If you want forgiveness for your ordinances, you must confess them to God.
 
B. God promises rich ordinances to those who seek and do His will.
 
C. Puritans rarely questioned the importance of obeying God’s ordinances.
 
D. Puritans expected to sing ordinances to God when they reached heaven.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM (Answer #1)

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In essence, what you are asking in this question is the meaning of the word “ordinance.”  The word “ordinance” is used very differently in each of these sentences.  It is used as if it has a different meaning in each sentence.

In the first sentence, “ordinances” appears to mean something like “sins.”  We need to be forgiven for our sins, so “ordinances” appears to have that meaning.  In the second sentence, “ordinances” seems to mean something like “rewards” or “treasures.”  This is because it is being used to describe what God will give us if we act correctly.  In the third sentence, the word “ordinances” seems to mean something like “laws” or “rules.”  This is because laws and rules are things to be obeyed.  Finally, in the fourth sentence, the word is being used to mean something like “hymns.”  This is because hymns are what we would sing to God.

Of these, only sentence three is using the correct definition of “ordinances.”   An ordinance is a law or an order that has the same force as a law.  We can say that God gives us a set of ordinances by which we must live.  For example, in the New International Version of the Bible, we often see the word “ordinances” used to refer to laws.  One example of this comes from I Samuel 30:25.

The Puritans believed very strongly in following the rules that they believed God had laid out for them.  They did not believe that their actions could have any effect on whether they would be saved, but they did feel that God would punish their society if they did not act properly.  So, from all of this, we can see that sentence three is using this word properly and the other sentences are using it incorrectly.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:17 PM (Answer #2)

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The essential thing about ordinances when it comes to Christianity is the division between the Catholic and Orthodox church and most Protestant sects. In the former, things like communion or marriage are called sacraments, but in most strains of Protestantism, they are ordinance. The difference is explained by S. Michael Houdmann as such:

Protestants and Evangelicals see ordinances as symbolic reenactments of the gospel message that Christ lived, died, was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and will someday return. Rather than requirements for salvation, ordinances are visual aids to help us better understand and appreciate what Jesus Christ accomplished for us in His redemptive work. Ordinances are determined by three factors: they were instituted by Christ, they were taught by the apostles, and they were practiced by the early church. Since baptism and communionare the only rites which qualify under these three factors, there can be only two ordinances, neither of which are requirements for salvation.

In Catholic, Orthodox, and a few Protestant sects, these rites are requirements for salvation-- they aren't examples, they are things that must be done. The seven named by Catholicism are: baptism, confirmation, holy communion, confession, marriage, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick. There is ongoing debate within and between sects about the differences between salvation and ordinance. Lastly, when speaking of various rites, obligations, etc, in Christianity, there is "command", which is God's word that must be obeyed. Additionally, in the LDS (Mormon) Church there are some additional nuances which can be seen in the last source link provided. 

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