A few months ago (maybe longer?) I “met” Jeph and Craig online through a mutual online friend. Recently, they rebooted their blog, now called “Throwing Bricks.” Craig recently published an excellent article called “Accepting a seat at the table.”
After talking briefly about the exclusivity of table fellowship in the first century (and today?), Craig reminds us that Jesus ate with both the Pharisees and other elites in society as well as with the sinners. He then carries this idea of a more open fellowship into the early church.
Finally, Craig ends the post with a challenge for the church today:
It’s strange but I often find Christians who are hesitant to fellowship with other followers of Christ who don’t share their particular set of doctrinal beliefs, political affiliations, worship preferences, social / economic status, race, age or perceived level of maturity. They are more concerned with being proved right than being with Jesus. It’s as though we are still abiding by the old rules of table fellowship. I have some old friends that border on fundamentalism and though we all believe in Jesus and strive to follow his teachings we remain distant due to certain interpretations of scripture. What gets me is that I have no problem calling them brother and sister but I’m not sure they would reciprocate that sentiment and it sucks. Jesus didn’t discriminate based on any of these factors but rather invited anyone to come. To respond to Jesus’ invitation and accept a seat at the table is to accept Jesus himself and everyone else at the table regardless of personal differences.
Of course, if we read 1 Corinthians 11 and James 2, we find that some of the early followers of Jesus had the same problem… although this problem was not accepted and perpetuated then like it is today.
The last part of that quote is key. It reminds me of something that Paul wrote: “Therefore, accept one another as Christ has accepted you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)
Are we following Jesus? If so, we will accept everyone who Jesus has accepted.