- Religion and Philosophy
The Beauty of Multiethnic Churches
We need more multiethnic churches! We need them for the sake of the gospel, and for the supreme glory of God! As one of the pastors of a multiethnic church, I see breathtaking, divine beauty when I look at our congregation. I see diverse people fighting as one for holiness and for the fame of Jesus.
Let me be clear, I am not saying there is no beauty in mono-ethnic churches. I am not saying there is anything inherently sinful about a mono-ethnic setting. Where ever the true saints of God are gathered there is beauty. But I believe a fuller picture of the gospel and of the kingdom of God is manifested in multiethnic churches. Here is why:
1. The Gospel is a Message of Reconciliation
The message of the gospel is the message that God reconciles to Himself rebels and tyrants who rightly deserve destruction. Our sin causes enmity with God. We are enemies of God until He reconciles us to Himself. Paul communicates in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
Through Christ, God accomplishes His purposes of bringing people to Himself. He reconciles people; meaning He restores what is broken in the relationship between Himself and His creation. We experience reconciliation through the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are no longer God’s enemies because of Jesus Christ.
In turn, those who have been reconciled are then given the ministry of reconciliation. We are called to walk in a way that is worthy of the reconciliation we have received. We accomplish this by proclaiming reconciliation to all people. Christians are God’s ambassadors, proclaiming reconciliation through the gospel. Still, it is not enough to merely speak the message of reconciliation; we must live reconciliation. Christians must live as ones who are reconciled to God, and reconciled to one another. It is hypocrisy to proclaim reconciliation and then refuse to live lives reconciled to God and to one another. If God longs to reconcile sinners with rebel hearts, how dare we refuse to be reconciled to one another because of different skin. The church must be a living, breathing picture of gospel reconciliation.
Multiethnic churches paint a beautiful picture of God reconciling people from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different cultures, and different narratives; bringing them together under the banner of the gospel. When multiethnic churches are living well, and loving one another well, they clearly model the reconciliation the gospel provides.
2. We are Reconciled into One Family in Christ
One of the beautiful truths of the gospel is that God, through Jesus, takes scattered individuals who were not a people, and gives them an identity in Christ. We are no longer aliens and strangers. Through Christ we are united in the family of God. Ephesians 2:19-21 teaches, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
I love that phrase, “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” It reminds us that when we are truly redeemed by the grace of God, we are not redeemed to live on an island. We are not left by ourselves. We are redeemed into a new family. We are fellow citizens, part of a singular family unit. The family of God is not split down racial/ethnic/cultural lines. There will be no segregation in the eternal kingdom.
Multiethnic churches paint a beautiful picture of the diverse, yet singular family of God. The bonds we share in faith are stronger than any other bonds, and this is modeled to the world through multiethnic churches.
3. Eternity will be Multiethnic
The hope of all believers is eternity in glory where we will forever worship the Lamb. Eternity will be multiethnic. We see a majestic foreshadowing of this reality in Revelation 7:9-10, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (READ THAT AGAIN AND LET THAT PICTURE SINK IN)
The eternal kingdom of God will not be separated by racial lines. We will stand side-by-side, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and there we will sing in a singular voice the praises of Jesus. What a day that will be!
Multiethnic churches paint a beautiful picture of the believers eternal hope of glory where we will worship the same Lord in one voice. We will be united in purpose, united in function, and united in glory.
The world needs to see this picture. If the church will not paint it, who will? Nevertheless, we cannot be deceived into thinking this will be an easy task. Satan loves to divide and destroy. In order for multiethnic churches to survive, the gospel must be placed above everything else. Everything is submitted to the gospel’s careful inspection. Similarly, a massive part of the ethos of a multiethnic church must be a Philippians 2:3-4 mentality, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Multiethnic churches are beautiful. They embody the message of the gospel, they remind of the singular family bond in Christ, and they represent eternity. I pray we see more multiethnic churches united in purpose, standing secure in their blood bought identity.