stevengworld

When Transcultural Becomes Normalized | November 24, 2016

In the pages of the New Testament we see starting from Acts through the epistles that Paul wrote one simple thing – a church without an identifier. We read of churches in Athens, Antioch, Berea, Corinth, Crete, Ephesus, Galatia, Jerusalem, Rome, Thessalonica and others. Re-read that last sentence please. Those areas were ultra diverse and yet the Spirit of God never inspired the writer of a inspired letter to pin any particular word that would serve as a label to the church. No identifier to tack onto the local churches.

Why?

I submit to you this truth – God cares less about the eye-catching, innovative sounding, and immovable stance than we do.

God sent Jesus to die on the cross for a particular people that would come from every tribe, tongue, language, and nation. Now depending on who you are and the limitations of your verbal comfort, you’ll be okay with the words transcultural or multicultural or multi-ethnic. But I wonder would Jesus hear those terms proudly shouted from pulpits to separate us from other redeemed groups and shake his head in disbelief. Surely he didn’t die and rise so that we’d not be unified. And I really do think these labels tend to further division than they do unity. Let’s go back to first paragraph.

All of those areas had various sized churches meeting with various styled preachers and members and gifts and music and liturgy and tradition. Jesus died for them all and prayed for them all to be one. I happen to believe the same about these 21st century churches – unity through substitution. My hopes are that one day the term transcultural meant to signify what God sent Jesus to do would become normalized. It would actually point to the gospel and not the style of church. That the body would be thought of and not someone’s preference over another’s.

The gospel of God seen in and through Jesus Christ’s actions demands the church understand the height, width, and depth of the particular people he redeemed to be a treasured possession. Oh that this becomes normalized….

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