I know you guys mainly come to my site for satire & humor but this is something you really need to see. I will give some background to those who may not be aware of this interesting development in the Emergent Church Carnival. This, folks, is the reason why it is a bad idea to replace sound, expositional Bible teaching with drama, self-help sermonettes, and extra loud extra long music segments… Read on.
Shane Hipps is the “teaching pastor” at Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The issue at hand happened a few weeks ago at the church just mentioned. The church was observing the Lord’s Table or taking Communion or whatever you prefer to call it. There was a lady in attendance who was (as we have been told) a practicing Muslim. She was offered participation in the Communion ceremony by someone or several people in the church. Shane Hipps applauded this in several tweets to his followers.
Hipps went on to also tweet that the woman did not participate noting that her Theology would have been violated more than his since he observes an “open table”. This sounds very magnanimous but is it? Let’s go to scripture.
In every account of the giving of the wine and bread which Christians continue to observe, the participants were Jesus’ followers. (Judas was pretending to be a follower and was allowed since he was the vehicle by which the betrayal would occur. This is a subject for another discussion) No casual attenders or just regular folks were present when Jesus broke the bread & gave the wine during which he proclaimed these to represent His body and His blood. See Matt 26: 26-29, Mark 14: 22-25, and Luke 22: 17-20.
Also, in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is correcting the improper conducting of the ceremony in which some members of the church in Corinth were hoarding the food and guzzling the wine. Paul strongly cautions them against taking the bread and wine in an improper manner. Some may argue that all present were not Christians but the letter to the Corinthians was addressing people who were professing believers.
So, does it make sense to invite someone who does not profess Jesus to take part in the observance of Communion? Even though this may change, historically, even the most liberal of churches in America do not invite non believers in Jesus as their Savior to take Communion. So is Hipps correct? No, he is not.
The thing that really saddens me is even the Muslim woman knew it made no sense for her to take Communion and Hipps apparently does not! His “open table” cannot be defended with scripture. This table is not open. And this guy serves as “teaching pastor”… God help us. We need it.