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.
2. A local church determines what the Christian life looks like for the people in that 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.
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A fellowship of differences, acceptance of each other through adoption by our father as heirs of God’s Kingdom reunited as it was in the beginning through Christ Jesus who carried out the mission of the father to restore who is his for everlasting fellowship given to people by individual choice. We chose God therefore we are a fellowship of differences. Truly we are, as each is wonderfully made created uniquely, special to him for purpose and relationship. Thank you for your “points of view” postings which I really enjoy reading Pastor Bob. Thank you too for presenting to us Scot McKnight’s view. It is good. The father is a good father. What is in the physical life is reflected in spiritual life it looks like.
Often I will sit in church and think that no one knows about my struggles and feel like I’m the only one who has them. It’s important to keep on open mind and realize everyone has struggles. Everyone needs more from God – more joy, peace, love, encouragement…
I’m not the only one. And as soon as I realize this, I can give more.
The neck is such an important part of the body. It enables me to turn my head and see others and reach out to them.
Right on Adena. Have you read, “The Ragamuffin Gospel?” I think McKnight and Manning have a lot in common in their perspectives on Church.
Thanks Debbie for your input. We are as you say, we are “special to Him.” Our differences actually make us better and certainly more interesting.
No, I haven’t, but I’ve heard of it. Apparently, I have a lot of reading to do! 🙂
I have struggle a long Quotewith people who are gfollowers please transgenderfaith tual, etc.,
struggled with the rainbow flag being raised on parliament hill, prime minister in gaylesbian pride parade.
Girlfriends who have daughters and sons who have gay marriages.
I have struggled with these people being allowed in my church.
I have said to my pastor how can we let them in our church.
I knew that we should be a light in a house in a hill.
I knew all the prayers, the teachings, bible discussions, BUT…………….. THATS THE WAY THIS ALWAYS ENDED.
Until recently I objected to the flag on parliament hill and expressed to Pastor Bob my indignant, appalled objection. I said how can we deal with that?
I waited for an answer which didnt seem to be coming. I chalked it up to the fact that there was no answer forgetting, of course, how direct yet vague Pastor Bob can be, forgetting of course that he wanted me to think.
Well, it came on Canada Day. Happy Canada Day! Have a red and white day!
I said to my husband thats a strange answer I guess he doesnt want to answer me!
I read Scot McKnight’s Quote “What the church most needs is not heroes of faith, but
faithful followers of Jesus
Bang it hit me!
Do I walk around with the mindful attitude that “I am a hero of faith”.
But do I really have the nerve to lift my self up as a special Christian? Is that what I am suppose to be and do?
But then the rest of the quote was “but faithful followers of Jesus.”
Followers follow what Jesus did!
He spoke to everyone, Jew, Gentile, prostitute, etc.
what if noone spoke to me about Jesus?
I dontnwant to be a hero of faith……. I want to be a follower of Jesus!
The differents are who I become a follower of Jesus, not the differences!
Thsnk you Pastor Bob and Scot McKnight.