In this age of moral relativism, where every wind of doctrine is blowing and the foundations of biblical truth are being vigorously attacked, the Church of God cannot afford to shrink back. The Word of God, unadulterated and absolute, stands as our guide and the voice of the Holy Spirit as our counselor in these turbulent times. The clarion call to holiness and unity in the body of Christ, grounded firmly in the Word of God, should be louder than ever.
We live in a society infatuated with the notion of “multiculturalism.” On its face, it presents a veneer of respect, peace, and inclusivity, suggesting the harmonious amalgamation of various cultures into one coherent society. While the idea seems inherently noble, the harsh reality is that it more often than not precipitates disunity rather than the unity it purports to promote. The inevitable friction caused by differing belief systems, languages, and cultural standards weakens the societal structure, causing disarray and discord.
But hold up, this is not a societal issue alone; the leaven of multiculturalism has been steadily permeating the Church, infecting even some of our seemingly solid Evangelical leaders. How true the words of our Lord Jesus Christ ring today: “And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” –Mark 3:25. We are indeed a house under threat of division.
It is important to distinguish between the terms “multicultural” and “multiethnic” in this context. Our Lord’s great commission impels us to make disciples of all nations, and as such, the church will naturally consist of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. This is multiethnicity, not multiculturalism. The gospel of Christ calls us to surrender our own cultures at the cross and to adopt the superior culture of Christianity. Churches that prioritize multiculturalism, however, are often drawn into secular ideologies, such as Critical Race Theory and intersectionality, leading them astray from the gospel message and precipitating compromise in biblical sexual ethics.
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Multiculturalism has erected itself as a golden calf in our culture, beguiling believers with the enchantment of inclusivity and acceptance. Yet its tenets are deceptive, fostering an unhealthy fixation on racial and cultural issues from a secular standpoint, an approach starkly at odds with God’s kingdom principles.
Let us take the church in Corinth as a perfect illustration of this problem. Corinth was a bustling, cosmopolitan city-state, rich in cultural diversity. As the apostle Paul sought to establish a Christian church in the midst of this hub, he was confronted with similar issues. Believers from various cultural backgrounds brought their own customs, practices, and ideas into the church. The struggle wasn’t with the diversity of the people, but with the diversity of worldviews and practices they clung to.
In our contemporary context, multiculturalism within the church echoes this Corinthians struggle. Take, for instance, a hypothetical church, which we’ll name Grace Fellowship. This congregation is diverse and vibrant, with members hailing from various cultural backgrounds. Instead of unifying under the banner of Christ, the church leadership, swayed by the multicultural narrative, seeks to accommodate every cultural preference.
When it comes to worship, cultural preferences start to dictate the worship style. A faction wants hymns due to their European roots; another insists on gospel music due to their African American heritage, even hiring a Black worship leader in hopes to reach more Black people; another desires contemporary Christian music, and yet another group argues for Hispanic choruses. The emphasis on cultural comfort over divine instruction creates an atmosphere of disunity, tension, and disharmony. The worship service, which ought to be a time of unity and mutual adoration of God, becomes a source of friction and division.
The issue deepens as multiculturalism’s impact infiltrates the teaching of the church. Instead of grounding their faith solely on the Word of God, members begin to label biblical conservative principles as ‘whiteness.’ The sanctity of marriage as one man and one woman, the call to individual responsibility, and the biblical work ethic are dismissed as artifacts of ‘white culture.’ This divisive mentality works to undermine the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith and replaces them with subjective cultural interpretations.
Multiculturalism also fosters a misguided tolerance of competing worldviews. For example, some members in Grace Fellowship begin to embrace secular ideologies that contradict biblical truth. They advocate for policies that are pro-choice, insisting that their political beliefs should not influence their spiritual life. Yet, the Bible is unequivocal about the sanctity of life. The leadership of the church, under the guise of multicultural acceptance, does not confront these contradictory views, further muddying the spiritual waters.
This situation serves as a stark reminder of the perils of idolizing multiculturalism within the church. By doing so, we risk making cultural accommodation our highest goal, instead of pursuing conformity to the image of Christ. We risk making the gospel subservient to the modern socio-political zeitgeist, instead of standing firm in the Word of God, which is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The unity and love we share as followers of Christ should not be grounded in our cultural diversity but in the unchanging truth of the gospel and our shared identity as children of God. It is by this standard that we ought to measure all things.
Disturbingly, this secular influence can be seen in the teachings of popular figures within the Christian community. Among the proponents of this doctrine of multiculturalism are David Platt, Matt Chandler, Tim Keller, JD Greear, Mark Dever, Russell Moore, Beth Moore, Dwight McKissic, Thomas Kidd, Ray Ortlund, Jemar Tisby, and many Southern Baptist leaders, including the current president, Bart Barber. Even popular organizations like The Gospel Coalition echo the siren call of multiculturalism.
However, do not be deceived. God is not mocked. The unchanging Word of God is our foundation of hope and truth in this time of doctrinal confusion. We are called to be salt and light, to stand firm in the truth of the gospel. Let us forsake the ideologies of this world and hold steadfastly to our one true culture, the culture of Christianity, where the unity of faith and the bond of peace reign supreme. The time has come for the true Church to rise, to resist these philosophies masquerading as wisdom, and to declare with boldness the unchanging truth of God’s Word.