One of the more fundamental presentations I’ve ever seen from a Christian concerned partaking of the Lord’s Supper. In this particular person’s belief system, the Lord’s Supper (being derived from the same root as Catholic Communion, the Eucharist, the Love Feast, etc.) is to be taken every Sunday by baptized believers who have examined their motives, and—very importantly—it must consist of precisely the same consumable elements as the original last supper served by Jesus before his betrayal.
Now here’s what is somewhat interesting. According to this person, the elements must be “fruit of the vine” and unleavened wheat bread, precisely as they were two thousand years ago. So, using Sara Lee sandwich bread and/or grape Kool-Aid, for examples, would be a sin. Of course, this person’s accepted fruit of the vine and unleavened wheat bread are 100% Concord grape juice and commercially produced wheat matzos, so how on earth—by any stretch of the imagination—this person came to believe that these modern, commercially produced elements are precisely the same as the wine and bread served by Jesus, I have no idea. This is the type of thing we deal with in fundamentalist Christianity; something transient and cultural being declared and vehemently defended as timeless truth in fact. But, that’s not the intriguing part; this is:
This person also admits that certain people, suffering from a particular medical condition, cannot eat wheat. Conclusion? God does not require of that person that he or she partake of the Lord’s Supper; indeed, he or she must not partake, for eating non-wheat bread for the Lord’s Supper would be a sin. (Again, why we must partake of the same exact bread Jesus used, how we are to know it was wheat rather than any of the other grains commonly used in his day, and how it was prepared, I have zero idea). This same person also offers that the Bible instructs us that we must sing to one another and in worship to God but, if we are physically unable to sing, God does not require it. According to this person, God does not require of us what we are physically incapable of doing. Seems fair enough.
This idea can be taken a bit further, and in my opinion is, within much of Protestantism concerning intellectual capacity and moral culpability: when a person (due either to young age or diminished capacity) is not mentally capable of discerning right from wrong, he or she is not held “accountable” by God for his or her behavior. This, too, seems fair to me.
But here’s the propagation that nobody wants to admit concerning intellectual belief: we are all, more or less, incapable of discerning the things of God. In the end, couldn’t it be argued that God can’t hold a single one of us accountable for the things we believe? I mean, let’s take the case of the atheist. Don’t we have there a situation in which, obviously, almost as if by definition, a person is totally incapable of discerning even that God exists? Apparently. And if so, if he or she isn’t capable, then God can’t hold it against them. Or how about this one: certainly the person who has never heard of Jesus is completely incapable of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, so God can’t hold that against him or her; right? If a person has studied the Bible and, due to upbringing and environment, can only reach a conclusion that is clearly (as it would seem to us) erroneous, is it not still and merely the best they are capable of? Is it not fair to say that, all things considered, he or she is completely incapable of understanding correctly? So isn’t it true that God will not hold them accountable?
There’s a part of me that wants to go here: that the solution to this really rests with those who favor predestination. But in that case, you’re “doomed” or “saved” by election and God is going to lead you or not. End result? Same as above. Your meager human attempts at figuring out God don’t accomplish much in terms of eternal destiny.
My thought for the day? God doesn’t favor geniuses; they don’t impress God much. When you start to ponder the things of God and your head starts to hurt, or it becomes really pleased with its own fantastic ability to ponder and deduce—consider that maybe “you’re doing it wrong.” Consider aiming lower in your anatomy. Cry out for God in your innermost parts.