Young Oceans: “The Gates”

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1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (The First Century Pattern for Communion)

250px-Agape_feast_03It’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

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Young Oceans: “None But Thee”

“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

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1 Corinthians 11:27-34 (“If Anyone Is Hungry”)

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(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.

(lyrics below)

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

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Post Up at Wineskins

theLordsSupperMy 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.

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1 Corinthians 11:22-26 (the Supper of the Lord)

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(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.

Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 11:17-21 (The Love Feast and the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb)

250px-Agape_feast_03Abusing the Lord’s Supper

(1Co 11:17-19 ESV) 17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.  18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,  19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

These are sad accusations. The assembly of the saints does more harm than good! How tragic. After all, it’s in assembly, when we are physically together, when we should best be able to demonstrate the unity and the love that comes from God. But in Corinth, they evidenced selfishness, which led to division.

Continue reading

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Discipleship

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

Discipleship

Scot next urges us to an ever-deepening discipleship (which he doesn’t quite define). He urges three practices:

* First, preach from the entire Bible, not just a few pet passages. He recommends the use of a lectionary — a word unfamiliar to us in the Churches of Christ, but the practice is quite ancient — going back to at least the Third Century AD among Christians. And we have thousands of manuscripts of ancient lectionaries. Continue reading

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Conversion

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

Conversion

Now, the A-B-A’ way of telling the scriptures’ story has certain implications. For example, if the plan is for God to be king, ruling through Jesus, then for anyone else to claim kingship is usurpation — sin.

In the Garden of Eden, we see this in the nature of Satan’s temptation of Eve: Continue reading

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: The Bible in Two Stories

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

Scot points out that both the local church and academia have learned — finally — to read the Bible as story. One such story might be summarized as C-F-R-C: the story of salvation in the Bible.

(And this is very much the story as related by Scot in his excellent The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, which we covered in this series.) The story goes like this. Continue reading

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