As Christians, we are called to seek the unity of the one body of Christ.
But when it comes to the sacraments, the church has often been—and remains—divided. What are we to do? Can we still gather together at the same table?
Based on the lectures from the 2017 Wheaton Theology Conference, this volume brings together the reflections of Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox theologians, who jointly consider what it means to proclaim the unity of the body of Christ in light of the sacraments.
Without avoiding or downplaying the genuine theological and sacramental differences that exist between Christian traditions, what emerges is a thoughtful consideration of what it means to live with the difficult, elusive command to be one as the Father and the Son are one.
"Although the ecumenical movement and its ensuing inter-church dialogues have brought Christians of different traditions closer to each other, full Eucharistic communion remains as elusive as ever. This collection of essays by scholars from diverse backgrounds not only helps us understand why the Eucharist continues to divide us but also offers sensible suggestions on how to continue the conversation toward better mutual understanding. For the perplexed, these essays should offer more than a glimmer of hope."
"These essays offer unflinching honesty, surprising humor, keen insight, and possible ways forward as they wrestle with the hard questions about why Christians are and remain divided over what should unite us: the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper. This book richly rewards thoughtful reading."
"This book, a collection of essays from leading mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox theologians, offers fascinating and helpful insights into traditional and contemporary reflection on the sacraments as they relate to issues of Christian unity. Here we see honesty about the divisions among us and the challenges before us as well as serious theological reflection on the reasons for those divisions. And with these probing and sober reflections on the faith, we also see hope and charity."
"Nowhere does the evil of division come to the fore more poignantly than in the celebration of unity at the Eucharistic table. This volume's plea to 'come' and 'eat together' calls on believers East and West, Catholic and Protestant, to refuse to accommodate our empirical divisions. George Kalantzis and Marc Cortez place us in their debt with a volume of essays that represents a dialogue that is honest, rigorous, and open, yet conducted in the recognition that we belong together at the Table of the Lord."
1. The Supper of the Lord: Goodness and Grace in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (Amy Peeler)
2. Churches and the Politics of the Sacraments: Rethinking “Unity of the Church” (D. Zac Niringiye)
3. In Persona Christi: The Catholic Understanding of the Ordained Priesthood in Relation to the Eucharist (Thomas G. Weinandy)
4. A Way Forward: A Catholic-Anabaptist Ecclesiology (D. Stephen Long)
5. Ascension, Communion, and the Hospitality of the Priest-King (Cherith Fee Nordling)
6. The Gospel We Share and the Unity We Seek: An Orthodox Contribution (Bradley Nassif)
7. Christ the Ursakrament (Katherine Sonderegger)
8. Visual Ecumenism: The Coy Communion of Art (Matthew J. Milliner)
9. The Eucharist, the Risen Lord, and the Road to Emmaus: A Road to Deeper Unity? (Matthew Levering)
10. The Eschatological Dimension of Sacramental Unity: An Orthodox Christian View (Paul L. Gavrilyuk)
11. “For You Have Been Planted Together with Christ”: Sacraments and the Life of the Church (George Kalantzis)
12. Who Invited the Baptist? The “Sacraments” and Free Church Theology (Marc Cortez)
13. Sacraments and (Dis-)Unity: A Constructive Ecumenical Proposal Toward Healing the Divisions and Facilitating Mutual Recognition (Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen)