Oh, that magical word. So much in this world is done in its name. Pursuing it and maintaining it is nearly a religion to many in this country, on our campuses. It is a key to winning favor among the elite of our culture. Yet many in the Body of Christ shudder at its utterance.
Many Christians look askance at the word because of its political associations. Here’s the secret—diversity is in the marrow of the Church. As it happens, ironically, that is exactly why it is such a powerful word in our culture.
Wait a minute, you say. Sunday morning is the most segregated time in our country. Christians are so intolerant of others, so narrow-minded.
In many respects, this is true.
I didn’t say that American Christians have diversity in their marrow (though many do!). I said the Church does. There are Christians among nearly every people group on the planet. Christ, in His Great Commission, commanded that we go into all the world, make disciples of all the nations. That’s a pretty broad brush. Not many folks are left out of the opportunity to hear the Gospel in that command. His intention is that none are. Revelation repeatedly rejoices over the fact that after the end, heaven will be filled with people from every race, tongue, tribe and nation.
That’s diversity at its best. It’s in the core design of Creation, and in the core design of the Church.
And it goes deeper than skin color. In the Church, there are wide opinions on politics, science, worship styles, economic practices, socioeconomic levels, and so on. About the only non-diverse things in the Church are God Himself, the Gospel He taught us, and the Redemption He bought us.
We have young earthers, old earthers, theistic evolutionists. We have Catholics, Baptists, charismatics, premil, amil, postmil. We have rich and poor. I had a roommate in grad school who told me that he grew up in Pennsylvania believing you couldn’t be a Christian and a Republican. This would come as a big surprise to the Southerners who believe you can’t be a Christian and a Democrat. There are even Communist Christians.
Yes, the American church has the Black church and the White church and rarely do they mix, though they should be willing to. But at the same time, worship preferences separate a given church into “contemporary” and “traditional” services, though they come together for potluck afterwards. As long as the spirit of fellowship is there, I’m not too worried. It’s when that spirit isn’t there that we fail to be the Church, exhibiting a spiritual auto-immune disease.
Similar problems arise over any of the relatively minor differences in doctrine, theology, and other relative superficials. Like I’ve said previously, we’ll find out Later who was right, and I can tell you now who it is: God. And all of us who have called on His grace in this life in faith will be so tickled about it that we’ll forget all the other stuff.
This is exactly why the enemy has elevated diversity to a tenet of secular faith, while at the same time sowing discord between the groups. Like everything he does, he perverts the good things of God and offers them as counterfeits. He makes the Church look like it is monochromatic (and even gets some of us in the Church to believe it!), then offers a secular alternative that glitters more than the real thing.
It turns out that cubic zirconium, a common ‘fake’ diamond material actually has more brilliance, more sparkle than genuine diamond. That is one way a gemologist can tell the difference. Secular diversity is a CZ to God’s diamond of diversity. Secular diversity has become an end to itself. True Christian diversity is found in lifting up all humans in the dignity of the imago Dei while recognizing the universality of our sin, extending the Gospel and its grace to all equally to the glory of God, not to have a sociologically-correct Kodak moment.
There is a lot of room for Christians and secular diversitists to work together to alleviate human suffering and injustice. We just have to realize that the ultimate motivation is different, but such partnerships have the opportunity to reveal the genuine from the fake, and in this way, appeal to the human desire for the genuine thing, also known as the Truth.