The Sacred Meal By Nora Gallagher is an odd look at the Lord’s Supper. The traditional and Biblical meaning of the Eucharist — Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross to pay the penalty of man’s sins– is sorely neglected. Instead Gallagher sees the Lord’s Supper as a humbling method God uses to thrust Christians together in fellowship through this shared ritual. Trying to shed light on the Lord’s Supper, she brings insights from Buddhist yoga teachers and from her experiences praying with Muslim women during Ramadan. It was all so totally unusual to me, a conservative Protestant. (Nora Gallagher is an Episcopal.)
The book certainly had nuggets of inspiration that resonated with me. But there were some key areas where Gallagher veered so far from Biblical orthodoxy that I just can’t recommend the book as a whole.
1. Her view of sin is post-modern.
She says that sin is not so much about personal conduct but about justice. Therefore she delves into topics such as global warming, soup kitchens, sweatshop factories, and AIDS patients. She compares America with the corrupt Roman Empire and warns of a coming day of judgment. But there is nothing said about the punishment of hell for an individual sinner.
In speaking of her preparation for taking the Lord’s Supper, Gallagher says, “I try to bring my whole self to the table. All the good stuff and the bad.” There is no mention of repentance of sin (or even of accepting Christ at all) as a prerequisite to partaking of the Sacred Meal. This is contrary to Biblical teaching.
Because of her post-modern view of sin, her humanistic Christianity is merely a social gospel.
2. Her view of Jesus is incorrect.
Whenever Gallagher spoke of Jesus, it reminded me of the Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ – a confused teacher who slowly discovers his calling. Again, this is simply not Biblical. Jesus is fully man and fully God. A mystery, yet a truth.
3. She rejects the total depravity of mankind.
Gallagher puts far too much hope in man. These passage shocked me, “Jesus. . . . puts great faith in us. Jesus puts great faith in our ability to change course and to answer his call.”
Really? If Jesus had such great faith in man, why did He have to die for them? Why did he come to this earth at all? Why did He give us the Holy Spirit to enable us to obey if we already had this ability?
Later she even goes farther to say, “The things he [Jesus] did could not have been done without them [the disciples].”
I totally disagree. We need Him. He does not need us.
I’m glad this book was free. Thanks, Thomas Nelson, for letting me read it and giving me the freedom to write a negative review. If I had paid $18 for The Sacred Meal, I would have been very, very disappointed.