Friday, September 14, 2007

"Take off your shoes..."

A new book by Ben Witherington, Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper, is intended " tease your minds into active thought, and challenge some of the basic assumptions that lead to the practice of these things in ways that don't actually comport with what the NT says or suggests...."

Baptists [Witherington is a Methodist] tend to view Baptism and the Lord's Supper as symbols rather than sacraments - with an implicit "only" in front of the word "symbol." But a symbol stands for something, and re-thinking the significance of what these acts represent ought to remove the "only."

Witherington writes about his book at his blog and offers some good reasons for considering seriously whether we should continue doing what we do:
When we approach the sacraments we need to have the approach that Moses had with the burning bush - it is God in Christ we are encountering here, and a high and holy moment is involved. Take off your shoes, and repent of your sins. Secondly, we have entered what is called post-modernism, and in a post-modern age mystery and ritual are already playing a much bigger role in various venues than in the past. There are many young people specifically choosing to go to churches where there is liturgy, drama, mystery, and the very regular practice of the sacraments. When worship, practically speaking, serves as the major calling card and tool of evangelism in our culture, it behooves us to figure out what moves us and leads us into the very presence of the Lord, and seek to better facilitate that.
Ben Witherington: Making a Meal of It-- Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper

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