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Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by SaggyWoman, Sep 7, 2008.
What does that mean??
When I was a young boy in an American Baptist Association church here's how it worked:
When someone made a public profession of faith, Christian in attendance were invited to come by and offer the "right hand of Christian fellowship." Following their baptism (which usually took place the following Sunday night) the person was brought back up to the front of the sanctuary and only members of our church came by to offer them the "right hand of church fellowship."
Now if a person joined by transfer of letter, the preacher would annouce that those who were Christians could come forward and offer them the "right hand of Christian fellowship," and those who were members of our church could come forward and offer them "both hands of fellowship."
Gee...I haven't thought about those terms and practices in many years. I feel sure some churches, especially ABA churches, still do it that way.
But why do they call it "the right hand of fellowship?"
Because you are welcoming them into the church (fellowship) and people shake hands with their right hands.
Maybe they read it in the Bible?
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Whilst we do have a left-handed king in the book of Judges, on the main, people were right-handed. The sword was used in the right hand. To offer a bare right hand in friendship was to leave one's sword in its casing.
Hence, the right hand of fellowship.
it means lefties are not part of the elect! LOL!
ok, maybe not. I think it is just a traditional phrasing since most people shake with their right hands.
I'm slightly off-topic, but your post reminded me that a former pastor once preached a sermon on the passage, entitled "When Lefty Stuck it to Fatty."
Ehud's story is in Judges 3, and those who haven't read it will find it quite a conspiracy thriller.
I had forgotten that Paul used "right hands of fellowship" in Galatians, if I ever knew it. I just figured it was shaking hands wrapped in some religious language to make it sound spiritual. Similar to some preachers or worship leaders' calling for a "clap offering" instead of just calling for applause.
The word for fellowship can be translated properly into the word "partnership" and partnership simply means bing actively involed in the sharing of the resposibilities of .. whatever (business, church, corporation)
When we give the right hand of fellowship we are declaring that we are welcoming a person to actively share in the responsibilities of the purposes of that church which God has given it, both specific to its individual ministries and general in relation to proclaiming the gospel and discipleship.
The right hand was seen as the hand of trust, fidelity, and position. To extend it was to state to all around that they have your trust, approval and aide.
From a military point of view: We salute with the right hand becuse the spear was carried in the right hand ( for most) and in order to salute, you had to move your spear the left hand - thus showing you came in peace
FROM THE US ARMY QUARTERMASTER SCHOOL, FORT LEE, VA
Well, in our church, it goes like this:
When you're ready to become a member of the church, by whatever means - baptism, letter, testimony, + completing classes - on the first Communion Sunday after that, the candidates are seated on the front pew. Just before Communion, the pastor acknowledges each one, shakes their hand to welcome them into membership, hands them their box of offering envelopes, and they are seated. When the Communion is served, they are served first.