I often find myself forgetting that I am one individual member of an absolutely enormous body called the Church. Still more, I forget this Church is a Body that is incredibly diverse. Spending 2009 in South Africa helped me in this, but I’m still learning to think outside of my own little kingdom. This Body isn’t diverse just because it has hands and feet and ears. It’s diverse because the hands are African and the ears are Latino and the feet are Asian, along with a thousand other races, people groups, and languages.
Wayne Grudem reminded me of this today in his Systematic Theology:
When Paul preaches the gospel both to Jews and to Gentiles, and they become unified in the one body of Christ (Eph. 3:6), the incredible “mystery” that was “hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:9) is plain for all to see, namely, that in Christ such totally diverse people become unified…If the Christian church is faithful to God’s wise plan, it will be always in the forefront in breaking down racial and social barriers in societies around the world, and will thus be a visible manifestation of God’s amazingly wise plan to bring great unity out of great diversity and thereby to cause all creation to honor him (emphasis added).
God is more glorified in redeeming a diverse people and bringing them to unity. Yet God spares us from uniformity, unlike other religions. That’s the great thing about the Church: oneness in the midst of difference. And what is our unity centered upon? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.
I want to be more diligent in praying that the Church would be at the forefront of race reconciliation and social justice. The world really is watching.