All effort to carry out this divine fiat is the responsibility of every born again believer. This unity is expected in each individual church. Our Lord's command for unity and oneness of mind among His people is not to be taken lightly. Every church has diversity. Even in what appears to be a homogeneous congregation there is diversity. Age, gender, class, occupation values, interests, and status, identify a few of the factors that create diversity within the most homogeneous congregations. The Epistles also teach us that we ought to be of one mind.
Gal.3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Biblical effectiveness is found in keeping the two dimensions of "unity in diversity" in perfect balance. Faltering on the side of unity results in uniformity at the expense of our individuality. Faltering on the side of diversity magnifies the differences at the expanse of our common, shared humanity. The solution to the tension is to respect and value diversity while working in unity. In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Rev. Don Powell, pastors a Baptist church that has enhanced this principle. Experiencing worship toward our Lord Jesus Christ by a multicultural congregation is something not soon to be forgotten. They sung hymns, one stanza in English and the next in Spanish. A beautiful uplifting spirit dominated our soul as we heard "How great Thou art" sung by Mexicans in their own language. Unity, but not at the expense of individuality . Heterogeneous, yet of the same mind, with the same purpose, worshipping our Lord together. Our oneness is not to be found in race, nationality, position in the business world, dress, or language. It is found in the common love we have for Christ. The Baptist church in Bern, Switzerland, holds three consecutive services in the morning worship. One in German, the second in French, and then back to German again. At noon they all gather together for lunch in their dining hall. The tables are set with food that reaches across national preferences. At three oíclock they hold another worship service in German. These folks speak different languages, eat different food, live in homes of different styles, in different cantons and countries. These churches draw people because they experience a worship service where real needs are met, in a multicultural setting, and the gospel is preached in the unity of the Spirit. All Bible believing Churches, anywhere in the world, would honor God better, if they would set aside any hostility toward people of another culture.
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
Preferential treatment was given to the Hebrew Christians. This caused real tension in the early church. They elected deacons to oversee the problem. The solution to the tension was to respect and value diversity while working for unity. Error can only divide, but truth unites. Suspicion based on cultural differences does not square with Scripture. America is becoming more and more diversified: Cubans, Haitians; Arabs; Africans; Orientals; Mexicans; Europeans; you name it, America has it. Cultural diversity constitutes our nation. To be an American, all you need to be is a person born here or one who voluntarily accepts citizenship. The idea that an American is one who is the child of someone that came here from Europe on the Mayflower, is preposterous. America is, like most nations of the world today, multicultural. Our churches must also be multicultural. As the church enters the third millennium it must be willing and wanting to embrace all people as one, even as our Lord commanded. To accept, to love, to be at one with one another, is Christian. A true unity does not require a change of nationality or culture. True unity is best seen and experienced in Christian love. Not tolerance. No one wants to be tolerated. All want to be part of the fellowship. The scriptures allow for nothing less. Christ will best be served in the next millennium by unity in the church. The church must seek God honoring unity. You should not sell your Jewish culture, or your Cuban, or Haitian, or African or European to be part of the fellowship. All that is required is that the church is of one faith in Christ by means of the Holy Spirit, through the new birth. Diversified yes! Unity, sure! In Christ. If we are to carry out our mandate as found in the great commission we must reach out to all not by accepting them so much as by praying that they accept us through His Word.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
the heartaches that are caused by man
Related to the color of skin
when clearly we are all akin.
Iíve lived among the yellow and the brown
their cross to bear has been my own.
Iíve lived among the black and tan
and worked beside him man to man.
You ask me if I have a preference.
When measured from my frame of reference,
It warms my heart and makes me glow,
to realize the answer is no.
Dealing with men Ė Face to face
I totally fail to see his race.
My interestís in heart and mind
His colorís left somewhere behind.
Race and hatred cannot endure
no doubt Ė this is for sure
Justice, love and integrity
Provide the meanís to keep us free.
National unity must be our cause
toward this end we must not pause.
A separate nation within our land
must be rejected - out of hand.
One race counts among all men
youíve guessed by now - that race is human
And the longer I live Ė the more I find
that I am truly color blind.
Richard H. Rose
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Rev. Keith W. Rose
RR 1 Box 5
Dixmont, ME 04932-9701
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