Stanley Hauerwas on Confession & Confrontation & Communion


I’m reading a wonderful new book (Brazos, 2006) called: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible: Matthew by Stanley Hauerwas. It’s really very thought provoking and well written. I came across a paragraph I’d like to share with you:

Jesus charges members of the church to confront those whom we think have sinned against us. He does not say that if we think we have been wronged we might consider confronting the one we believe has done us wrong. Jesus tells us that we must do so because the wrong is not against us, but rather against the body, that is, the very holiness of the church is at stake. Moreover, to be required to confront those whom we believe have wronged us is risky business because we may find out that we are mistaken.

In 1 Cor. 6:1-8 Paul admonishes the Corinthians for taking one another to courts of law presided over by unbelievers. Paul reminds the Corinthians, a reminder that surely draws on Jesus’ admonition not to remain angry with one another, that we should be ready to suffer a wrong rather than act against the body of Christ, for nothing less is at stake than the church offering the world an alternative to the world’s justice. If such a community does not exist, then unbelievers will have no way to know God’s grace.

The church, therefore, has rightly thought confession of sin, penance, and reconciliation necessary for the reception of the Eucharist. How could we dare come the feast of reconciliation not in unity with our brothers and sisters? The name given that unity is love. The gifts of bread and wine must be brought by those at peace with God and one another. If we are unreconciled, we best not receive; we dare not dishonor the holiness of the gifts of God. (68-69)

That’s powerful stuff. Makes me wonder if there is anyone in my life with whom I have not reconciled.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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