Union and Communion: Calvin's Theology of Word and Sacrament



Some scholars consider Calvin's teaching on the sacraments to be an integral part of his theology. Others have challenged the Reformer's consistency in this area, regarding Calvin's eucharistic teaching in particular as a ‘foreign, uncongenial element’ in his work. My argument in this article is that Calvin's eucharistic teaching, particularly in its ‘more nearly patristic’ emphases, is neither inimical nor secondary to his system but is in fact an essential and promising outworking of his theology. As with other perspectives, Calvin's understanding of Word and sacrament generates a particular kind of ecclesiology with emphases that remain ecumenically significant and vital for the life and mission of the church.