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Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Weekly Report 8

Ben Robinson
Weekly Report #8
11-20-05 through 11-26-05
"Discussion on Communion"

This practicum I actually accomplished last week but used it for my practicum experience this past week.

I had a discussion with my practicum advisor regarding communion. I asked him about the methodology and theology behind the practice at College Wesleyan Church. He informed me that College Wesleyan serves communion every two months, although in the Cathedral service it is served weekly. The main method of serving the communion is by passing the elements among the congregation. The method used in the Cathedral service is that of intinction.

My advisor explained to me that the reason they serve communion so irregularly in the main service is because it is viewed as merely symbolic. I found this quite disturbing for two reasons; 1) the Wesleyan Church as a denomination views communion as a sacrament and believes grace is communicated; 2) theologically I am very opposed to viewing communion as a mere symbol or ordinance and find this rejection of historical orthodoxy to be a serious error.

How can a local church be affiliated with a denomination if it does not share the theological convictions of that denomination? Does the church simply not know the position of the larger church polity? Or is it okay for the local church to vary slightly in theological matters? Is it okay for a local church to vary on such a serious theological doctrine?

Whatever your answers to the previous questions I feel they need to be adequately addressed by each and every one of us as pastor-theologians. I learned from this practicum that denominational affiliation does not necessarily dictate praxy and that that is an issue which requires further unpacking.


Blogger Will Shelor said...

I agree- deviation from the views of the denomination, as well as traditional orthodoxy, is an incredibly dangerous path to take. Maybe he just didn't think it was that important- another incredible danger. Or, maybe he was letting the desires of the congregation direct what he felt wasn't an important issue. On one hand, this could be viewed as compromise, but on the other hand, might it have been avoiding a needless argument?

1:37 AM  

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