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Diversity for the Sake of Unity

August 12, 2009

Diversity is a popular and powerful word in our culture today. Because many use it to argue for moral relativism, Christians are often wary of the term. However, diversity is part of the beauty of God’s creation. The diversity of language, culture, and race are part of God’s design. Since religious freedom is critical for true faith, a religiously diverse culture should be expected. But affirming and protecting the necessity of religious freedom does not imply that everyone is “right” or that religion is man-made.

Even within the church we often struggle with our unity and diversity. Ephesians 4 helps us to understand how they relate (see also 1 Cor 12). Paul teaches that our calling as believers is inherently corporate and that we are unified by our faith in God (vv. 1-5). Within this unity and for the sake of building unity, various gifts have been given to individuals (vv. 6-16). There should be diversity of function and expression within the unity of the church. However, the unity of the faith and the accomplishment of ministry through the body is more important than its diversity, which is the means by which this unity is accomplished. Our culture makes diversity the ultimate value and purpose of individual distinctiveness. Individualism and diversity are indeed a beautiful and functional reality of the church, but they are not the church’s foundation or purpose. They are the means and expression of unity in Christ for the accomplishment of his mission and for the glory to God.

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