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Matt Dabbs recently posted on 10 Predictions about the Future of Churches of Christ.
In response, I’ve posted Reflecting on “10 Predictions about the Future of Churches of Christ.”
In particular, I address the relationship of parachurch organizations to the local church and intergenerational ministry at the local church.
This discussion ties in well to the series on Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.
I’ve gotten this question from a number of readers lately. It seems there’s a fresh questioning of the traditional view blowing across the Churches — a very good thing.
I have read your book, “But If You Do Marry,” and wanted to ask how you came to the conclusion that adultery is “covenant breaking.” It has troubled me that the traditional approach seems to present a double standard for this sin, requiring celibacy for the “guilty party,” but I couldn’t deny that the lexicons define adultery as “sexual intercourse involving someone who is not one’s spouse.” Can you tell me what convinced you to view adultery instead as the “one time” sin of covenant breaking rather than the potentially “continuous” sexual sin?
A. The Churches of Christ have always practiced open communion. Following Alexander Campbell’s counsel to neither “invite nor debar,” the Churches never refuse communion to anyone present (other than an unbaptized child).
Most Churches of Christ pass communion without announcing a rule for who can and cannot participate. Some announce that communion is available for any “baptized believer” or “baptized believer in good standing.”
It’s easy enough to compare our contemporary communion practices with the practices of the First Century and see a huge difference. We’ve managed to turn a real meal involving real fellowship among believers into a symbolic meal involving virtually nothing akin to fellowship.
Indeed, some of us are so focused on the vertical dimension of worship that we take offense when church members enter into the assembly talking to one another, as though actual interaction among people might offend God — a God who evidently called us into assembly so we can ignore one another!
The problem is easily traced: it’s the form of the assembly itself. We structure church as though we are going to a theater production or concert: a stage, an audience, chairs facing the stage, and a few specially approved performers and all else required to sit and quietly watch the show. Continue reading
“None But Thee” by Young Oceans
Jesus, mighty King of Heaven
Thou O Lord our guide shall be
Thy commission we rely on
We will follow none but Thee
As an emblem of Thy passion
And Thy victory o’er the grave
We who know Thy great salvation
Are baptized now beneath the wave
Fall on us O Holy Lord
Our hearts Oh King are only Yours
By your grace we live, and we
Will follow none but Thee
Will follow none but Thee
Fearless of the worlds despising
We the ancient path pursue
Buried with our Lord and rising
To a life divinely new
Sin shall never be our master
Captives of Thy blessed grace
Offering our lives hereafter
We resolve to seek Thy face
(1Co 11:27-28 ESV) 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
This is one of the several most horribly misused verses in all of scripture. Which says a lot. Context! Context! Context!
When I was a kid and for long afterwards, some very foolish preachers taught that this means you damn yourself if you take the Lord’s supper when someone is holding a grudge against you. Meaning, of course, that Jesus damned himself when he took the Last Supper because nearly the entire Sanhedrin wanted him dead! Continue reading
My post Reflecting on “The Future of Churches of Christ: Table & Baptism” is up at Wineskins.
It fits well with the 1 Corinthians 11 materials on communion. You might want to take a look.
(1Co 11:22 ESV) 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
One possible interpretation is that Paul considers it wrong for the church to eat a common meal together. He can’t be saying that it’s wrong to eat in the building or to have a kitchen in the building since the church met in private homes — where people ate and had kitchens.
After all, since the church was not licensed by the Roman government, it could not own property or build its own buildings. In some communities, a friendly synagogue or Grecian official might allow the church to occasionally borrow a facility to gather as a whole, but routine, weekly meetings had to be in a house.