Unity and Diversity in the Church
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone…For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (First Corinthians 12:4-6, 12-13, ESV)
Over at Dr. Daryl Hart’s “Old Life” website there is an interesting conversation between two commentators which has touched upon the matter of unity and diversity within the Church. This doesn’t have to do with theological or doctrinal diversity among professing Christians, but with the fact that some believers are more practically-inclined, while others are more intellectually-inclined. And sometimes in the life of the Church there is friction and even polarization between Christians who are of a more practical-bent and those who are of a more intellectual bent.
I decided to insert myself a bit into this conversation. My contribution to the discussion, which I hope readers of this blog will find helpful, is as follows:
“Paul (UK): “It would be easy to be an inverted snob towards the learned, and indeed as you say much here in OL is thought provoking.”
“GW: If I may invert myself a bit into this conversation, it seems to me that we would all do well to recognize that God gives different gifts, interests and personalities to His people. We believers are all members of the Body of Christ, but different members have different functions. That’s a fact that should be recognized and celebrated, not something that should create friction.
“I guess what I’m trying to say is this: It is easy for the intellectual types to look down their noses at the more practically-inclined, simple believer; just as it is easy for the more practically-minded believer to dismiss their more intellectually-inclined brethren as elitist intellectual snobs and theology geeks. But both need each other to balance each other out. And thus both should respect and value each other for the various gifts and perspective of the other, and not to put down the other for being different. If we all share “one Lord, one faith, one hope, one baptism”, then let us celebrate our diversity within the commonality of our common faith. (And, of course, I’m not using the term “diversity” here in the squishy, politically-correct contemporary sense of that term, but in the biblical sense of the unity and diversity the Spirit has wrought within the Body of Christ.)”