Tuesday: Unity in Diversity
avatar

Read Galatians 2:1–10. Paul says that the false brothers “slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery”(Gal. 2:4, ESV). What are Christians free from? Read ; Rom. 6:6, 78:2, 3Gal. 3:23–254:7, 8Heb. 2:14, 15. How do we experience for ourselves the reality of this freedom? 



Freedom, as a description of the Christian experience, is an important concept for Paul. He used the word more frequently than any other author in the New Testament did, and in the book of Galatians the words free and freedom occur numerous times. Freedom, however, for the Christian means freedom in Christ. It is the opportunity to live a life of unhindered devotion to God. It involves freedom from being enslaved to the desires of our sinful nature (Romans 6), freedom from the condemnation of the law (Rom. 8:1, 2),and freedom from the power of death (1 Cor. 15:55).

The apostles recognized that Paul “had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised”(Gal. 2:7, ESV). What does this suggest about the nature of unity and diversity within the church? 



The apostles acknowledged that God had called Paul to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, just as He had called Peter to preach to the Jews. In both cases, the gospel was the same, but the way it was presented depended on the people the apostles were trying to reach. Implicit in this verse “is the important recognition that one and the same formula is bound to be heard differently and to have different force in different social and cultural contexts. . . . It is precisely this oneness which is the basis of Christian unity, precisely as unity in diversity.”—James D. G. Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993), p. 106.

How open should we be to methods of evangelism and witnessing that take us out of our “comfort zone”? Are there some forms of evangelism that bother you? If so, what are they, why do they bother you, and might you need to be more open-minded about these things?

Share Button

Comments

Tuesday: Unity in Diversity — 11 Comments

  1. One particular form of evangelism; that doesn’t “bother” me, but I know some that it does, would be modern Christian music. The drums in one particular case made one fellow church member get up and walk out of the service, because they believed all drums were forms of devil worship. I was saddened by this remark, and felt it was unfortunate they felt that way.

    However, they are completely free to feel the way they do. It’s my belief that through the new era of music, there has been more positive reaction to the youths of today. The message they receive through these forms of music is much better suited to a Christian way of life, then the message in most “pop culture” music genres. Personally I don't care for the rap style Christian music, but that is my taste, and if it works to bring young adults to Christ, I am all for it.

    Personally, and I’m not entirely sure it would be considered evangelism, but the “faith healer”, kind of makes my skin crawl a little bit. I am way to skeptical about anything seen on TV, and I have stopped watching for the most part some time ago. Other than this, I can’t think of one that I would consider to “bother” me.

    Like(0)
  2. I live in nyc and many Christians here evangelize in the subways and trains in loud scary tones and ppl look at each other like what are these ppl doing . But who am I to judge I just think that they should lower their tone and instead of talking about hell and plagues and the apocalypse they should introduce love and salvation in an easy to understand way just a thought.

    Like(0)
  3. "In Gal.2:1-14, we find the apostle doing all in his power to maintain the unity of the apostolic circle in the amidst of the attempts of some believers to destroy it." The author

    I'll allow for Paul's trying not to undermine the disciples first place in the leadership re the gospel, given their direct connection with Jesus and Paul's initial opposition to the disciples and to the said gospel. But never was their any unity re the understanding of the concept of grace and its relationship with law. This is the debate Paul had, not only with the Jewish, Christian believers, who believed like the disciples; but who, themselves, were only the more militant, in forcing Paul to believe as the majority of Jewish Christianity believed; but as well this debate was also with the disciples. Again; I quote James to support my point. …” thou seest brother,how many thousands of Jews that believe and they are all zealous of the law and they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses”[ie forsake the law]“saying that they ought not to circumcise their children”….. The Jerusalem council not only affirmed the continued strict observance of the laws of ceremonies, but they as well ordered Paul to also perform with “four men” the said laws of ceremonies so that, in their words..”them take …that they may shave their heads”[as Paul himself did in Acts 18:18] “and all may know that those things whereof they were informed concerning thee are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly and keepest the law”…

    Like(0)
  4. Thus the accusation that his message was different, was not only an attack on Paul, but also an attack on the unity of the apostles, and on the church itself." The author

    Paul's reference to the trip he took; and which he took re revelation; a trip he described to meet with the disciples; may have shed more light on the gospel Paul preached; but still left the disciples, in the words of Peter; in 2 Peter 3:15,16".....that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you ; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, hard to be understood......" The above quotation re Peter must be understood in the light of the conclusion of the Jerusalem council for continued observance of the ceremonial law; with limited observance of the ceremonial law by the Gentiles. And yet Paul's gospel did not include the keeping of any law in conjunction with the gospel of grace. The law's function re Paul was only to point out our need for grace...not the keeping of which earns grace; but rather the breaking of which shows our ongoing need of grace.

    Like(0)
  5. The gospel of salvation is the gospel of accomodation. The disciples found Paul's understanding of the gospel, "hard to understand"; yet they accomodated him; and though they disagreed with the interpretation Paul had of the ceremonial laws; yet they did not oppose Paul's teaching. This is the fabric of unity in diversity. The "false brethren", then, as now, are those, who think they know truth, and are unwilling and unyeilding in embraceng truth; and will not accomodate anyone who disagrees with their version of truth.

    The disciples are an excellent example for us today on how to accomodate those who think they have new light. Though the disciples found the new light hard to understand " yet they were quite able to acknowledge that Paul was led by God; and as a result, accept Paul's teaching as truth.

    Those who think they have new light, must first make sure the old light concurs with scripture, ascertaining that the new light will as well.

    Like(0)
  6. If we must apply "unity in diversity" re the matter of evangelism, its application must be as Paul applied it..... "to the Jew, I became as a Jew, to them that are under the law, as under the law, to them that are without law, as without law,...." 1Cor.9:20-23...that I might, says, Paul, "save some"...." "and this I do" he says, "for the gospel's sake"

    There is no "cookie cutter" template for the preaching of the gospel. Those who are led by God, will be "wise" in the winning of souls; with each method excercised by the child of God, not necessarily the same as another method used by other "child of God".

    Like(0)
    • The concept that Peter primarily brought the message to the Jews but Paul to the gentiles is a very strong and comforting point. I am definitely a Paul, I think. Maybe some of bought. But we see the message was the same. Jews and Gentiles needed the message and his grace. The methods may be different Is it not interesting that it reminds us that it is not Us vs Them but we all need a savoir?

      Somethings we use words or phrases like "gentiles", "heathens", "those of the world", "other churches", "Sunday worshipers" etc, in a manner that promotes a sense of "measured righteousness". At times, it do hinder evangelism to the point that those of us who are cultured or seasoned in a way can not be effective for ministry for "those on the outside".

      But thank God he always have a plan and understands our human limitations and will raise up men and women who can relate or are passionate about reaching ALL worlds, teaching, baptizing and teaching again.

      However, is it enough to say that we should have the Pauls and the Peters of a church who may only focused on maybe Christian of other faiths vs let us say, non-Christians? Should we specialize in Evangelism to be more effect? Would this have a positive or negative effect?

      Like(0)
  7. "However, is it enough to say that we should have the Pauls and the Peters of a church who may only focused on maybe Christian of other faiths vs let us say, non-Christians? Should we specialize in Evangelism to be more effect? Would this have a positive or negative effect?" Jason

    Jason...we are all "evangelists"....again re Paul..."we are ambassadors for Christ"..2 Cor.5:20.
    Which then makes you, Jason, an "evangelist" as well.

    How would you like me to tell you what form "you" should use, to point someone to your "King"; of whom you are His ambassador, and He your Saviour, King and Benefactor?

    Courtney

    Like(0)
    • Hello Courtney,

      smile....

      You made my intended point. I still do know for sure that God calls different people with different experience or backgrounds into ministry for special reasons.

      We should never limit God or choose a path without first consulting with him.

      I will follow where ever he goes but what ever I do, from hence forth, must have a direct or indirect connection to my mission.

      I am, as you are as we all are evangelist.

      Like(0)
  8. One form of evangelism i disagree with is the form of modern gospel rap, hip-hop,pop etc. Light and darkness can never mix. Gospel ought to be pure. It should be so soothing that you feel the Holy Spirit even as you listen and sing them. I am a very young Christian and i have a problem with it. So i do not believe these sort of gospel music should be an excuse to bring young people in the church. What will we say then if these sort of music should stop playing in our church. Will these "young people" stay or will they leave? I believe it is the love for God and the desire to serve Him is what brings young people in the church and keeps them in the church.

    Like(0)
  9. "I am a very young Christian and i have a problem with it. So i do not believe these sort of gospel music should be an excuse to bring young people in the church. What will we say then if these sort of music should stop playing in our church. Will these “young people” stay or will they leave? I believe it is the love for God and the desire to serve Him is what brings young people in the church and keeps them in the church. Towana

    Towana......and you are right!...but if those who play the music see the music as "hip hop"; and if those who play the music see the music as "pop"...then the music is satanic and not godly; no matter how many may say the music brought them to Jesus.

    On the audience side of the stage; there may be some who will categorize music media such as drums, guitar, saxaphone, etc. as music from the devil; no matter how the instruments are played. These folks, despite their objection to any other instrument, other than the organ and piano, are not any different in interpreting what music is honorable to God. They, like the "hip hoppers", are defining God based on their own subjectivity. The scriptures are clear..."God doesn't live in temples made with hands"..Acts 17:24. Those who define God by their worldly version of any description; are those who put God in a temple made with their own hands. It's the player of the instrument and those who listen, who must have God living in their own individual temple-"their heart". Such an individual; the one who plays and also the one who listens will experience the love of Jesus deep in their own hearts..a love that is everlasting; and a love that never stops; even after the music can no longer be heard.

    Courtney

    Like(0)

What do you think? If you like a comment, just [Like] it or post a thoughtful reply. Please provide a working email address and your real first AND last name to have your comment published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.