Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper by Ben Witherington III addresses the topic of Communion in the history of the Church. Beginning with a survey of the cultural factors contributing to historic 1st century practices, Ben illustrates a profound progression and description of ‘secular’ traditions that are eerily similar to that of which Paul was addressing in 1 Corinthians.
Ben also goes on to discuss the trajectory of the Lord’s Table from the final night of our Lord’s earthly ministry with the Disciples, to the stratification and elitism of the 1st and 2nd centuries, on to the eventual liturgical and sacramental mystery that became the sacrifice of the mass.
Making a Meal of It serves as a running commentary that sheds light on the mystery that seems to surround the practice as we see it today. Regardless of the view a Christian has on the actual rite itself, this book covers the nuances between them, and then demonstrates why not even those were a matter of debate in the 1st Century Church practice. As it would seem, and according to the author, the meal of breaking bread in the scripture would be so much more inclusive than even the most liberal celebrants among us could imagine.
I personally enjoyed the conversing tone of this book. The author presents interesting information that gives a clearer portrait of what we traditionally see as the Lord’s Table in our minds. With limited technical and scholarly jargon, the historical narrative provided by Ben made the read enjoyable. Consequently, I read this book via Kindle, and mostly on my Blackberry. Now, I typically do not enjoy reading on electronic devices, and the level of engagement I enjoyed with this title, led me to disregard that inhibition. Ben offers closing comments on practical implications and gives personal anecdotal evidence that supports what one would find in the scriptural support that does exist in the New Testament, that are helpful and encouraging.
If you find yourself questioning or curious about the modern practice in comparison to the scriptural practice of the Lord’s Table in meetings across the globe, this book is a good primer for you. Enjoy!
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