Since we have been back in the USA we have received a flurry of questions. Are you back for good? I don’t really even know what that means. Can I answer honestly about the plans God has for us in the future? All I can do is pray about realistic options we are confronted with. I always try to be cautious about declaring what God has in store for us in the future. I am not an old testament prophet nor do I have a special line of access to ask God about the details of our lives for our future selves. I have also been asked if I will start my own church, or even take a pastoral position at a church. Our primary focus is to focus on Darlene’s health, possibly finishing our Master’s degree, and continuing to serve day by day as the Missionhog ministry. I have even been told that I need to write more on our website about real world problems that the average Christian is facing in the Church and in society today that they need help answering, and that I have provided many unique and interesting positions on these topics. So I agreed and thought I would present some things to prayerfully ponder concerning some pressing issues. That’s a tongue twister right? Haha.
So today I thought I would briefly talk about Church unity. Many people have asked “What is the biggest problem the Church faces today?” and the answer from many has been “Lack of Church unity”. I do agree with this in many ways. Many similar talking points are frequently discussed here but I would like to highlight something else for consideration. For many Churches and especially Urban or larger ‘mega’ Churches why are the plagued with the problem of a lack of Church unity? Having lived in other countries for many years and having seen the unity in these churches as well as being able to experience some real Church unity in some smaller Churches in rural communities I think I have an answer. I believe today that one of the big issues that is hindering Church unity is that too many Churches have sacrificed unity for diversity today.
Let me be careful about this point because I know some reading this if not carefully considering my position will miss the point I am trying to make. Why did the early Church have such unity? I truly believe that one of the greatest helps towards unity in that Church is that it was a Church that was filled with brothers and sisters with similar cultural backgrounds. Why are those Churches overseas seemingly operating in greater unity as a body? I believe it is because most of these countries are very monolithic in terms of race and culture. This is the truth. You are going to be able to communicate and understand someone easier if they have a similar culture or background than if you are trying to relate to someone with a different culture and background. Do you not think that this is a barrier to Church unity? Communication and understanding is key! Most arguments are a result of not having clear communication and understanding the other party. This is not to say a Church that is filled with brothers and sisters are made up of a very diverse set of backgrounds and cultures are not united in Christ but that it does add to the challenge of Church unity. I also would caution churches that intentionally try to block someone from the church because of personal bias and not a good reason for example like false doctrine. I think if brothers and sisters are honest with each other they should try to seek a good Bible based Church that they can feel welcome and like family among the others brothers and sisters and if they can’t do that then they need to keep searching for one that suits their needs. This will help with Church unity, help with communication, and propel people to want to get involved, serve, and be a benefit to others in the Church and local community.
I am not against Churches that are grown prayerfully and organically. I am against churches that are grown for the sake of just trying to pursue diversity. You are going to introduce challenges to Church unity intentionally for what? The sake of having a modern ‘politically correct’ Church that pursues diversity of culture or race over what a church should be pursuing which is unity and a diversity of gifts in the Church. There is nothing wrong with having a church that is made up of people from a local community, a local culture, and similar backgrounds. This is not to say things will be perfect and there will be no problems. We are all sinners.
Even in the book of Revelation 7:9 it says “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
What this says to me is that there is nothing wrong with being a part of a particular nation, tribe, people group, or language group as a part of the body of Christ. This is also why I have seen and always believe the house Church is such a powerful concept. People from China are going to relate with and have a better overall unity with other people from China or even their particular village and language dialect than someone from Hong Kong. To go further what about someone from a particular village in China having clear communication and unity with someone from Nepal? We face the same situations in the Church in the USA where we have people from many different areas, culture, languages, nations, and races from all over. Unity is unity and let’s start to be honest with each other about steps we need to take to be better united. This isn’t a code for segregation, it is a code to be honest to say where you feel God is leading you and to seek to find which family of God you best fit in with to bring Him glory. It may just be that you need to find a Church home that is better suited to your particular language, racial or cultural background? This is not gospel and is merely another aspect to consider in the church unity equation because there will certainly be cases where God will use others of different backgrounds, cultures, nations, and languages at times for a good and positive force in Church’s that may be consist of brothers and sisters of different backgrounds. That is the essence of cross cultural ministry and missions work.
Just a side note, please pray for Darlene. The doctor said that she is still at very high risk for her Lupus to attack other organs and that her levels aren’t quite yet where they need to be. The doctor is doubling her medication to try to knock down her immune system 100% because they are afraid of more attacks to her organs. We are trying to bring her back home for a couple weeks but she is having problems getting enough medication to bring with her to do so for anything more than a week or two. She is also nervous that with this increased dose of medication that will probably bring her immune system to nothing that if she does have some complication that she will not be near a doctor or hospital. We are trying to work it out so that she will be able to come soon for a week or so before she finishes tapering up to the full dose but we are still praying for direction. More posts to come.
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