BEN: I agree with your emphasis in Chapter 7, when you say welcoming means, among other things, sharing table fellowship. My question is how does that work today, because clearly Paul is addressing all the strong and weak in Rome on this point. There is a Weslyan Church near Hope College in Michigan that has taken this so seriously that what they do on Sundays is they go to some of the larger homes of their members and they have the Sunday noon meal together, like ancient house churches, and they discuss the sermon, their church, their individual lives over dinner. Each house feeds about 12 people, and there are more than 10 houses involved sometimes. Do you think this is the kind of thing Paul had in mind??? Granted it’s not everyone at one table, nor a big buffet in the fellowship hall featuring the Gospel bird (chicken of course), but the household setting seems to be important.SCOT: Interesting… OK, they were house churches in the 1st Century. That’s what Paul has in mind and sitting with one another is what he had in mind. That was the social reality for him. To continue that them in our world would mean exercising welcome as we do it in our world and eating with one another would be one very good way of doing that, along with cordial greetings in our churches and ushers/etc (whatever one calls them today) who meet and connect and work with integration in our churches today. Nelson Searcy, a friend of mine, has explored this in our church contexts today.
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