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It's Not Either/Or
Dave Martin     02/21/2021

We at Mosaix exist to encourage the church to manifest the unity made possible by Jesus’ reconciling death, resurrection, and intercession for us. Specifically, we spend much of our time thinking and talking about multiethnic unity, because that is both a great lack and a great opportunity for the church in this time and place.

In our recent monthly conversations we’ve been grappling with the reality of how the sin of racism, both personal and systemic, infects not only our society but our churches. This is crucial. We’ve been presented with more than enough evidence, from history and from the lived experience of our minority culture brothers and sisters, to know that there is indeed a serious problem in the body of Christ. To dismiss or deny this blocks the road to healing and cements the status quo.

But I want to take a step back and ask another question: If the church mirrors the personal and systemic racism (or in more biblical language, ethnic partiality) of the culture – and it does – what about other personal and systemic sins in the culture?

Do we not also see the personal and systemic greed, pride, lust, bitterness, political antagonism, materialism, ambition, etc. in the culture also manifesting prevalently in the church? Why is there so little contrast? Why are professing believers being more effectively discipled in the ways of the world than in the ways of God’s Word?

Here’s the point. 2020 vividly exposed the race problem in the church, but it also highlighted many other ways in which Christians are not being formed in the image of Jesus. We can’t afford to work on the race problem in isolation from the discipleship crisis engulfing the American church. The world is out-discipling us, and it appears we are losing ground.

Where are the congregations that are seriously confronting racial barriers and also “teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28), teaching all their members to observe everything Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:20)? To borrow G.K Chesterton’s quote about the Christian ideal, systematic disciplemaking “has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Yet it’s the only answer to all of the sins besetting us (Romans 12:2).

Please understand – I’m not pointing fingers, nor am I implying that positive examples of what I’m describing don’t exist. If you know of one, or are part of one, please let us know so that we can learn from you!

Here’s another way of making my point. God-honoring multiethnic unity cannot grow among people who are not breaking free from conformity to the world and being transformed into Jesus’ way of thinking and living. Ethnic unity and discipleship must be pursued together; it can’t be either/or.

In future posts I hope to elaborate on these preliminary thoughts. I want to speak with the realization that disciplemaking methods can vary greatly, depending on personality, theological traditions, cultural norms, learning styles, and more. If you see blind spots, let me know!

I welcome your comments, additions, corrections, questions, and other responses. My aim is to spark a conversation, both in group and individual settings, that will move us toward our goal of honoring Jesus through our unity.

 

Comments

Steve D Carlson   02/22/2021 07:44 AM

The body of Christ needs to be very intentional about introducing multicultural relationships into our discipleship environments. I am looking for Ideas on how to achieve this.

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