Insiders and outsiders. It’s always been a challenge for Christians. The moment the first Gentile embraced faith in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, the differences between Gentiles and Jews became a challenge for the church. Frankly, this problem still plagues us today. But as I read this portion of Ephesians 2 I was struck by God’s desire for unity.
Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
—Ephesians 2:15, MSG
In February I was fortunate to participate in a race and faith forum Tyndale House hosted in Tampa, Florida. I won’t forget the insights of Benjamin Watson and Tony Dungy; indeed, all the panelists spoke thoughtfully on the black experience in America. (Incidentally, if you are interested you can visit this site to view the sessions: underourskinforum.com). It was a white pastor from Detroit—who has become a dear friend and NavPress author—who caught my attention.
Amidst the conversation on cultural diversity and ethnic reconciliation, Kevin Butcher suggested that we shouldn’t be proud of churches that are multiethnic; the church should be multiethnic! Sadly, I live in a community where I share the pew with few people who are not Caucasian. I can only dream of the day when all people groups come together to be united as one—as The Message text suggests, “a new kind of human being.”
When I read that, I’m not suggesting we emerge as some superhero, a biomechatronic being created out of organic and industrial parts. No, it would appear that God delights in our flesh-and-blood humanity—whatever our ethnic background—coming together as one, tearing the walls of hostility down, sharing all that we have in common through Christ. That’s not only one amazing human being; that is a disciple.