THE SPIRITUAL BASIS FOR THE CHRISTIAN ORDINANCES
lb. Forms without foundation are meaningless and dangerous.
Without the spiritual truth of which the ordinances are the symbols, they degenerate--‑
(1) Into meaningless forms because the truth is lost; or
(2) Into meritorious works because they are regarded as efficacious.
(3) Into mystical graces because it is thought that these rites communicate grace to the doer while doing them.
Therefore, any participation in forms apart from clear perception of their meaning is positively dangerous.
One may not escape this peril by detouring the forms.
2b. The four symbols were given to aid the saints to hold the truth.
Our Lord knew what He was about when He instituted the ordinances. He surely knew more about it than men who live today, or else He was a poor Savior.
He gave these forms to help people to think of the abstract truth and to hold that truth.
3b. The four ordinances are in the Word of God and commanded by the Lord. Whatever one may think about these ordinances, they are in the Word and commanded by Christ.
So the authority of the Word is at stake; also the authority of Christ. It is a serious thing when one part of the Word is scrupulously obeyed and another ignored.
Such observance not only sets a precedent, but inaugurates a principle which will ultimately lead to ruin. This is the entering wedge of unbelief.