Saturday, February 2, 2013
Christians and Diversity
Christians who hold to the absolutes of Biblical standards often get insulted for their lack of attention to cultural diversity. They're not sensitive to the perceived needs of specific groups, or so it is said. They--OK, let's make that we--should be more sensitive to those who have different backgrounds than we do, different values. We're told that we should not be so hard-line on our beliefs.
When Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans, that document from which we get so much of our doctrine, he was writing to a group about as diverse as could be. This was the first generation of the church. There were newly converted from all walks of life, all races and cultures. Rome was the center of the world for all practical purposes, and all nations met there. People from all groups were composed the first century church; converted Jews, Romans, Greeks, slaves, freemen, soldiers barbarians...were all among them.
Paul had no problem being sensitive to the needs of each because the need was the same: All needed the saving grace of Christ because all were guilty of sin. The fact that the cultures were filled with many types of sin made no difference to him, he named the behavior sin and moved on. He gave the same remedy for all sin and the same patterns of proper behavior to all, regardless of their individual backgrounds
If you think that the culture today demands different treatment, check out the culture of first century AD Rome. Prostitution and homosexuality were rampant, politics was crooked, the poor could be oppressed by the rich...need I go on?
Yes, Paul addressed diversity then and the same words are applicable now. Sin, grace, faith, redemption atonement,...they addressed the diverse needs of Paul's day; they address our needs today.