Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s Supper’
Author |Editor: John Armstrong
Publisher: Zondervan ISBN: 9780310262688
Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper
I’ve enjoyed this book for a few years now and continue to go back to it again and again. I have gleaned much from this genre of theological studies and like adding to my collection these “multiple views” discussions. Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper is another great addition to my library.
In this volume, the four views represented are Baptist view (memorialism), Reformed view (spiritual presence), Lutheran view (consubstantiation), and Roman Catholic view (transubstantiation). I appreciate learning about traditions and practices other than my own and these perspectives, shared by respected leaders in their tradition, are very helpful. The added benefit of having responses from other traditions helps (me) to balance the information presented without becoming swayed by any particular bias, which might easily happen because of my ignorance toward certain beliefs and practices. I’ve learned, after reading quite a number of these multiple perspective books, that “the ideal” positions are most often presented. What this means is that the position presented isn’t always how the practice is interpreted in the world of the congregation. Hearing several views is most definitely helpful in working some of this out. What can be more helpful, and has been for me, is to visit congregations where these traditions are practiced and participate with them in their worship especially after having been educated a little through reading one of these books.
Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper has been most helpful to me as a resource not just having different views presented to me, but the wealth of great information presented in the introduction written by John Armstrong and the appendices. There are over twenty pages of creeds, confessions, and catechisms regarding statements on the Lord’s Supper. There is also another twenty pages of quotations on the Lord’s Supper spanning the entirety of the Church history. These resources were a great and welcome surprise to me. These have provided me with a wealth of information proven useful to me time and time again.
Author: Ben Witherington III
Publisher: Baylor Press ISBN: 9781602580152
I am fascinated by the sacraments of the Christian church and the Lord’s Supper/Communion/Eucharist is one that brings much discussion across the various streams and traditions of the Christian faith. I’m always on the lookout for good sources of information on sacramental theology, so I was pretty delighted to get my hands on this work by Ben Witherington III for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is Dr. Witherington’s academic reputation.
I have several books devoted to the subject of the Lord’s Supper; I have even more books with information inclusive of this specific sacrament, and I have a number of loose articles and commentary about the subject saved in various places in my home office. The point to these claims is that I have been collecting information for quite some time. Here is what I have found; Making a Meal of it by Ben Witherington III is one of the best researched and written pieces on this subject that I have found and read to date. There are several points that I wish to highlight in justifying my opinion.
First, for an academic work, the book is not bogged down with academic language. It is easy to read and it is a relatively short read, coming in at one hundred sixty pages. It is also linear in that it follows a timeline of sorts beginning with the perceived history of this sacrament and ending with contemporary interpretation/opinion.
Secondly, while I think no published work is completely unbiased, this one seemed predominantly “fact-based” and relatively easy to fact check. I have read and own several books from the pen of Dr. Witherington and am a regular subscriber to his blog. I think he can be opinionated at times, and being familiar with his writing style, I can report this book is not overly biased or opinionated.
Finally, the book is engaging… it is more conversational, “discussion-like” and less textbook than I would have expected. It can easily be read in an afternoon or two, but in no way is the material “light” of depth or content… facts, figures, and historical content are all present, but in a very readable, attention holding format.
In conclusion, I am still researching and learning about the depth and breadth of all the key sacraments of the church. I do not presume this book to be the definitive voice in my quest for information and understanding, but I will lend my voice to say it is one of the very best that I have found to this date.
Making a Meal of It is one of three books by Ben Witherington III in a series on the primary sacraments of the church. Other titles include Troubled Waters: Rethinking the Theology of Baptism and The Living Word of God: Rethinking the Theology of the Bible. Bible scholar Ben Witherington is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.
The Sacred Meal, by Nora Gallagher (The Ancient Practices Series)
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher is a delightful book; period. There was nothing that I disliked or even remotely found issue within its contents. This is a lofty claim when speaking about something as sacramental as the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper. There are very diverse and polarizing positions regarding this holy practice, but Nora Gallagher has done an absolutely wonderful job of sharing insight about this communal, personal, sacred, public, and intimate practice. I loved reading the journey of her personal experiences and the gentle way she used them to explain the practice and purpose of this holy meal.
This book isn’t about instruction, nor is it about defining doctrinal perspective… it is about communion; coming together in order to remember and experience the breadth and body of our Savior Lord, Jesus Christ, and His Church universal. The Eucharist is much more than holy writ carried out by holy “roters.” The Lord’s Supper summons us (the church) to come to the table of our Lord forcing introspection and examination while in the presence of visible union with other believers doing likewise; unity and oneness that cannot be escaped. Nora Gallagher paints this picture using multiple scenes that give the reader permission to explore their own beliefs, but almost inescapably arriving at similar destination-conclusions regarding this practice…unity and oneness with Christ and with His Body, the Church.
As I have written, I loved the stories and experiences shared by Nora Gallagher in this book. Without giving too much away, I especially enjoyed her parallel comparing the Lord’s Supper with a soup kitchen; A Sacred Meal indeed. I think, if you are looking for instruction and information regarding the Eucharistic practice, this is a great book to supplement your journey. I don’t think it should stand alone, but it is an excellent companion to any other work you might have at your disposal. Highly recommended – more reviews here.
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through their blogging for books program.