Scot McKnight is a theologian and a storyteller, which makes for the best combo in communicating complex concepts. The theological term for his subject is “ecclesiology.” The everyday term is “what-the-church-is-all-about.”
The kind of church Scot McKnight describes in A Fellowship of Differents isn’t your parent’s church or for that matter your grandparents’ church. It’s way older than that, going all the way back to the New Testament.
While what McKnight describes may seem a lot different than the church you grew up in, it’s an excellent summary of what the New Testament church is all about. Every pastor, if not every Christian should be familiar with McKnight’s work.
3 Sobering Observations About Church
1. Everything I learned about the Christian life I learned from my church.
3. We all learn the Christian life from how our local church shapes us.
These three principles are McKnight’s way of saying that local churches matter far more than we often know.
Getting The Church Right
For most people, the church is a place we go on Sunday to hear a sermon, participate in worship and meet friends.
I agree with McKnight when he says,
“Getting the church right is so important. The church is God‘s world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together are designed by God to be. The church is God’s show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a family.” p.16
The Only Thing That Counts
When it comes to God’s experiment, love trumps everything. “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
Love is a great idea until…
the one you are called to love happens to be unlike you.
you see who your neighbors actually are.
you see who actually attends your church.
you see who sits next to you in church in Sunday morning.
Look around you on a Sunday morning. How many people are unlike you? How does that make you feel? The greater the dissimilarities and the greater your acceptance the closer you are to what God calls “Church.”
4 Takeaways From “A Fellowship of Differents”
Here’s what the future can look like for your church:
1. The church goer’s challenge in 2015 is to establish a grace-created and grace-creating fellowship of differents. Entrench acceptance of racial, economic, ethnic, educational, sexual-orientation and all other kinds of differences in the DNA of your church’s fellowship.
2. The formerly segregated are to become integrated. To be “in Christ” is to be joined with others who are “in Christ,” to become ONE.
To be “in Christ” is to be in God. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile (ethnic) slave nor free (socio-economic), male nor female (gender). For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
3. Invisible people can become visible. Children, widows, those struggling with faith, the poor, introverts, those suffering from sexual abuse, dysfunctional families, PTSD, depression, anxiety can all come as they are and be welcome.
4. The story of the Bible is not simply the salvation of individuals. The story of the Bible is about the creation of ONE, faithful, saved people of God – Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament.
The story of Babel is how God scattered people. The story of Pentecost is how God re-gathered people of all languages, tongues and tribes and united them in community.
That’s the church of the New Testament for today.
I was given a free eBook by BookLookBloggers in return for this review.
APPLICATION: Is your church like this? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.
- Hope grows here. Stories that inspire people, build faith, and offer lasting purpose.
- We’d love to have you Subscribe to REVwords. We’ll put helpful content into your inbox early Mondays to get your week off to a good start.