Four markers of meaningful ethnic belonging in multiethnic congregations.
Today, North America is seeing the multiethnic church movement go beyond just rhetoric and percentage-based diversity to actual sophisticated models and expressions.
Multiethnic churches have in a way become incubators for ethnogenesis, providing an avenue where Americans are encouraged to explore and negotiate their racial and ethnic identity through theological formation and biblical community.
Our Ephesian Moment
The essence of the oneness of God’s people amid diversity is a biblical theme expressed throughout both the Old and New Testaments, but the ecclesiological and eschatological vision is perhaps made most explicit in the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. Andrew Walls writes,
The Ephesian letter is not about cultural homogeneity; cultural diversity had already been built into the church by the decision not to enforce the Torah. It is a celebration of the union of irreconcilable entities, the breaking down of the wall of partition, brought about by Christ’s death (Eph. 2:13-18). Believers from the different communities are different bricks being used for the construction of a single building—a temple where the One God would live. (Eph. 2:19-22)
Paul’s revelation to the Ephesians was that embedded in their local churches was the revealed mystery that Christ is known to a greater extent, and even perhaps to the fullest stature, when displayed by both Jew and Greek living in unity for the gospel.
The eschatological vision of the true Israel had now been made complete in Christ by uniting Jew and Gentile, where congregations like the ones in Ephesus were an instance and an embodiment of this vision.
Each member came from a culture that needed to be converted to Christ where, “Each …Continue reading…