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Fear Of Communion


BeachOfEden
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Here is something I wrote on how many Progressive XJWs feel about the issue of communion/the bread and wine/the memorial...Let me know what you think of it. Thanks!:)

 

Understanding Progressive XJWs & X-Catholics Fear & Confusion of Communion

 

In Chapter 7 of John Killinger he discusses his annoyance and confusion at why modern day churches dislike serving communion and that he thinks most Evangelical Protestant pastors he has talked to in the past speak of dealing with communion as something boring that one needs to hurry through. He also explain that it is his belief that one of the Reasons that the Disciples of Christ Church numbers have slide dramatically over the last decades is because they are one of the few Protestant churches to serve communion every Sunday.

 

I don't know if I would say for sure that this is the main reason that the D of C churche's popularity has dropped. Obviously, Killenger is writting as a Progressive Protestant who used to be a fundamental Protestant, and as such he is likely neither aware or informed on possible reasons why individuals who are now Progressive but who came from JW background would fear or feel very uncomfortable about participating in communion.

 

For a progressive XJW, I doubt that a complaint that communion is too boring would even enter their mind. There is positively a discomfort with the whole issue of communion with progressive XJWs, but it's not based on bordom, but rather a confusion of understanding what partaking of the breed and wine actually means to 'THEM' personally. It may be hard for those not having been in JW to understand so let me give you an example to help you understand.

 

Imagine there is a game show in which the winners can choose from two trips of their choice. One choice is Paris and the other is Maui. The trips are both equally good but which an individual winner might prefer likley depends on their person tast.

 

To one type of person, Paris may seem romantic and culturel while Maui may seem sticky, hot and too primative and down-to-earth. But to another Paris may seem boring and far-removed from nature, and thus to them Maui would seem like paradise of natural wonders. In JW there is one salvation but two parts to the Kingdom of God, and the scriptural quote, "Thy Kingdom come one earth as in heaven," Literally means that perfected heavenly conditions will come on earth just as their are perfect conditons or renewl in heaven.

 

Basically, there is a belief that each individual has a desire that their blissful eternal life hope either lies in the spiritual relm of heaven or the prefected organic matter relm of the physical earth. This is one if not thee main appeal to JW religion. That appeal that heaven is NOT thee only option. That one CAN desire to live on the natural restored earth forever. Because of this, many individuals who came from or were raised in different Protestant of Catholic churches where they felt the only blissful afterlife offered to them was a non-organic matter relm that is void of any nature or animalkind.

 

To the nature lover type, this version of heaven is unnatural and does not speak to their heart, and thus is why JW's vision of an earthly paradise is such a welcomed vision.

 

Though complicated to explain, JW's are taught that by actually taking and drinking the wine and bread you are agreeing that you wish to give up the earthly paradise desire and exchange it for living in the spiritual relm of heaven instead..Then basically they always remind you not to partake of the bread and wine if you don not understand what this means.

 

So..for folks like, raised this way, as I was, to take the bread and wine is like verifying that you do NOT desire to live on the restored earth forever and thus such folks NOT want to make such a statement. Speaking of the D of C church, one of the very first Progressive Christian books to impress me greatly was the book, "What Paul Really Said About Women." This book explains step by step by use of Greek and Hebrew words how church translators have ALTERED original Greek and Hebrew words and meanings to try and make Paul look as if he supported sexism views on women and how in reality this was NOT Paul but the church translator's doing.

 

This book impressed me very much and I learned that a Disciples of Christ pastor from Seattle WA wrote it. "Wow! I thought. I want to find out and visit this D of C church, I thought. So I did. I did not really see much of anyhting that had impressed me in this book in this D of C church. I was not very interesting or inspiring. After a sermon, they annouced that it was time to serve communion. This made me uncomfortable and so I got up and went outside.

 

Outside an older gentleman with a cane joined me. He looked equally uncomfortable. At first he explained his leg hurt and so he needed to walk outside. Then I mentioned that I felt unfortable with communion and taking part in it and he replied that he did too because he had been raised Catholic and as a Catholic he was told only Catholics were worthy of taking communion and now they he no longer agreed nor was in the Catholic church he felt odd about taking part in communion.

 

Now, interestingly, there IS a pre-JW break-off Russell group called the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement (LHMMs for short) who are one of only '2' NON-JW yet pro-restored earth destiny believing Russell groups, DO believe in the earthly bound as while as the heavenly bound BOTh taking communion. Here is their explaination:

 

The following found at:

http://www.biblestandard.com/questions/QA_...fTheLordsSupper

 

Memorial-Who May Partake Of The Lord’s Supper.

 

Question (1961)- Who may partake of the Lord’s Supper?

 

Answer.-

 

"We have especially two reasons for believing that it is appropriate for the non-Spirit-begotten (the earthly/non-heavenly) consecrated servants of God to partake of the Lord’s Supper for the two purposes set forth above as (1) and (2). First, not only the firstborns, but all Israelites by Divine command and approval (Ex. 12: 25-27, 47; Num. 9: 2-5, 13; Josh. 5: 10; 2 Chron. 35: 1-19) partook of the annual Passover, the type of the Lord’s Supper.

 

The Israelites as a nation were consecrated to God and were in covenant relationship with Him from the day when He took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt (Ex. 12: 40, 41; Heb. 8: 9); and they were “baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor. 10: 1, 2). Hence all consecrated believers, non-Spirit-begotten as well as New Creatures, i.e., the “church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12: 23), may partake of the Lord’s Supper, the Memorial of the antitypical Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5: 7, 8).

 

Second, the Apostles partook of the first Lord’s Supper while consecrated but in a tentatively justified condition; they were not yet begotten of the Holy Spirit ( They have to die and transform into spiritual bodies in heaven), and could not be until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost." (Rev. 7: 1-3; Isa. 66: 7; Amos 9: 13).

 

Never-the-less, the fact is that many Progressive XJWs, and former Catholics and perhaps other former fundamentalists of faith groups are left feeling uneasy about particapting in communion and I have heard many voice that they perfer to focus on the story and meaning behind the ransom and resurrection of Christ and it's hopeful message instead of actually taking the actual symbols of the bread and wine.

 

So my response as a progressive XJW to John Killinger's asumption that the reason the D of C church has declined in popularity because people feel that communion every Sunday is boring, for Progressive Christian XJWs I'd say it has to do with feeling uncomfortable and uncertain with communion rather than being bored with it. And as for the possible reason for the D of C's decline of popularity over the last decades, I think it has to do with the fact that the D of C, like the majority of few remaining progressive/liberal or mainstream Protestant churches have been so painfuly slow to become contemporary and culturally revevant in their style and approuch.

 

The majority of the congergation members in D of C, as with most mainstream Protestant churches are elderly and dislike change and have be slown to accept contemporary sounding worship music and because of this they have turned off the Baby Bomer generation and those younger.

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