ARThe Multicultural Essence of the ChurchGod's church and salvation plan: meant for all nationsGod intended His church and salvation plan to be for people of all nations. So how do we remove cultural barriers and fulfill the mission of the church?In its evangelistic planning, the church must seek to eliminate cultural barriers so that those who seek God will not encounter any impediments caused by the negligence of the church administration. This article explains the importance of removing cultural barriers and fulfilling the mission of the church.
The Lord Jesus
proclaimed that He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through Him (Jn 14:6).
A pathway points to
a direction and leads to a destination. Jesus is the only pathway between
all people and their heavenly home.
After Jacob departed
from his father’s land, he came to a place that he later called Bethel.
There, he slept in the wilderness and had a dream. He saw a ladder that
was set on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven. Angels of God
ascended and descended on this bridge between heaven and earth (Gen
28:12). Jesus, as many believe, was referring to Jacob’s dream when He
said to His disciples, “You shall see heaven open, and the angels of God
ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.?(Jn 1:51).
Jacob’s dream and
Jesus?words illustrate the same idea: just as the angels of God
ascended and descended on the ladder of Jacob, they would ascend and
descend on the body of Christ. Jacob called this place the house of God,
the gate of heaven (Gen 28:17).
Today, the church is
the body of Christ—the fullness of Him, who fills all in all (Eph
4:11-13). Christ is head of the church and Savior of the body (Eph
and the church is one with Him (Eph 5:31). God chose His church in Christ
before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). This church includes the
ancient saints who were called back at the end of their individual
journeys of faith, as well as we who live today under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit. On the last day, this true church of salvation will be lifted
up and will enjoy eternal glory with God. The church, the body of Christ,
is comprised of members from every corner of the world.
Now to Him who is
able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus
Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret
since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic
Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the
commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—to God,
alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. (Rom 16:25-26)
It is God’s plan
that through His church and the teachings of the Scriptures, people of all
nations will come to believe and obey the truth. God’s salvation does
not exclude anyone.
generations, God’s promises and declarations have continually
demonstrated His unyielding plan: that through His promise to Abraham, the
messages of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus?command to His disciples,
and the revelation of the Holy Spirit in the epistles, God’s salvation
transcends cultural boundaries.
evangelical planning, the church must seek to eliminate cultural barriers,
so that those who seek God will not encounter any impediments caused by
the negligence of the church administration.
God's Promise to Abraham
In you all the
families of the earth shall be blessed (Gen 12:3).
It was credited to
Abraham as righteousness because he “believed in the Lord?(Gen 15:6).
In the same way, God will have mercy on those who believe in Him (Gal
God called Abraham
out of his country, away from his kindred and his father’s house, and
blessed him. God established a covenant between Himself and Abraham. He
wanted to be God to him and his descendents, and He promised that all
people of the earth will be blessed in him. Abraham lived a nomadic life.
God did not give him any earthly inheritance, not even a place to set his
foot upon (Acts 7:5). The only plot of land that Abraham owned was the
burial ground, which he had bought from the Hittites, for him and his
Abraham believed that he had been granted what God had promised him, and
so those promises did not fail. God is not ashamed to be called Abraham’s
God, because Abraham received through faith the inheritance that he did
not see with his fleshly eyes. He died completely without regret, because
God was worthy of his faith and had already prepared everything according
to His promise (Heb 11:16).
was to be justified by God—a blessing that surpasses all worldly
blessings. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is God manifested in the flesh, was
crucified and shed His precious blood so that people of faith from all
nations might be saved. Those who believe in the saving power of His
blood, receive water baptism for the remission of sins, and enter the true
church of salvation will also inherit Abraham’s blessing—to be
righteous in the sight of God. They will be called the children of
Abraham, because they carry on the same faith. They too will receive
justification by faith, the blessing that God promised to all nations
through Abraham’s act of believing (Gal 3:6-9).
with Abraham shows that the church of salvation is available to anyone who
has faith—regardless of race.
Now it shall come
to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top
of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the
mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.?br>
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Isaiah foretold that
in the last days God would lift up His church and gather to Himself people
of all nations who are called by His name (Isa 43:5-7). Isaiah also
prophesied that the church would “arise and shine.?The spirit of God
will be given to His church and to those who repent and believe, and He
will enrich their lives with His words. When the glory of the Lord arises,
nations and people from afar will come to His light, and together they
will praise and worship the Lord (Isa 60:1-3).
The chosen people
will come from various corners of the world. The same Spirit of God will
call each of them to receive His revelation and guidance, to love His
teachings, to be baptized under the witness of the Holy Spirit, and to
enter the church with the abidance of the Holy Spirit and the truth (Eph
There is only
one church of salvation, and this church must reach even to the most
remote rural villages, like those in China and in the deep jungles of
Africa and South America. Although the members in these areas might use
different languages and come from different cultures, they are truly
brothers and sisters—as well as the children of God.
Go therefore and
make disciples of all the nations (Mt 28:19).
Go into all the
world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk 16:15).
You shall be
witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end
of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Before the Lord
Jesus ascended to heaven, He instructed His disciples to go into the world
and proclaim the truth to all nations, making them His disciples. He
commanded them to preach the gospel to every creature and to witness His
name to the ends of the earth.
commands were fresh in his mind, Peter was still perplexed when he saw the
three visions instructing him to kill the unclean animals and eat. When
the Holy Spirit sent him to the house of Cornelius, a non-Jew, Peter
wondered what he could do for this Italian household, which he thought had
no part in salvation (Acts 10:21). According to his understanding, the
majority of people, being non-Jews, did not fall within the scope of
Today, how well does
the True Church understand the commission of Jesus? How much acceptance
and appreciation do we have of other cultures? Are we interested in
reaching out to them? What is our vision and understanding of the scale of
Most of the members
in the U.S. are only aware of and concerned for the U.S. churches.
Likewise, members in India probably know only the Indian churches. We
might be aware of brothers and sisters in other areas, but meeting with
them often does not satisfy our expectations and instead increases the
feelings of foreignness.
essence of the church demands all members to develop a concern for
brethren far away whom they might never meet. Whether they are worshiping
in a remote village on the other side of the world or right next to you in
the chapel, they are your brothers and sisters, in the same family. To
realize and exercise such a brotherhood is something we all need to learn.
No one is superior or inferior to anyone else, because we are all one in
Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28). Our attitude should be the same as His.
fellowships, and meals in the church should be conducted in a way that
allows people of different races to integrate easily. If at any time a
member or truthseeker from a different culture were to join the worship
service, he should feel the warmth and ease of home. Jesus?commission
to “make disciples of all nations,?and Paul’s exhortation that we
are “no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the
saints and members of the household of God?(Eph 3:19), should permeate
Paul's Philosophy of Evangelism
Through Him we
have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all
nations for His name (Rom 1:5)
which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of
which I, Paul, became a minister (Col 1:23).
“That I might by
all means save some?(1 Cor 9:22)—this was Paul’s philosophy toward
evangelism. “By all means?encompasses Paul’s willingness to be a
man under the law in order to save those under the law. Although he argued
against the necessity of circumcision, he circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3).
Paul was willing to become weak in order to win the weak. He did this so
that people of all different mindsets and backgrounds could receive the
In order to win a
person’s soul, we must try to understand his situation and see things
from his perspective. A person encountering our church for the first time
will notice a rather strong cultural overtone. Yet God established this
church for all nations of the world, for all peoples. The cultural
majority in the local church should endeavor to remove any cultural
At the same time, we
should try to understand that it takes time for people of different
cultures to love and accept one another and to live together. Such
closeness is a gradual process that develops according to the Lord Jesus?
time and through His guidance, and it should not be rushed.
The most important
thing is to recognize that the church preaches the absolute truth. With
this in mind, we can face these cultural issues with an open heart.
Tower of Babel
Human beings lost
their common language during the construction of the Tower of Babel.
Today, if the church wishes to restore harmony between the different
cultures, we must reexamine the reason why God confused human speech in
the first place.
The people of that
time wanted to build a city with a tower that reached to the heavens in
order to make a name for themselves. Because of this, God disciplined
them. The loss of common language was the direct result of human pride.
Due to their humanistic thoughts and their lack of sincere fear toward
God, humans not only lost favor in the sight of God, but they also lost
harmony with each other.
During the early
apostolic times, some members complained because they felt that the church
was neglecting their needs and disregarding their “rights?(Acts 6:1).
In actuality, the church was focused on preaching the word of God and did
not deliberately ignore them. If these members were to fix their eyes on
the Lord, they would have seen the gospel being preached everywhere. They
would have tried to find where in the mission they could fit in, rather
than looking out only for their own interests.
We are chosen by God
because of His mercy and grace, not because we are worthy. If we could
humble ourselves, take on the heart of the Lord, and lift up the name of
Christ, we would not think of only our own “rights,?but of the
mission of the church.
After all, this
church is the only “ladder on the earth?with “its top reaching to
heaven.?It is the house of God and the gate of heaven, which “has
been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to
all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for
obedience to faith.?/p>
This is the very
mystery which has been kept hidden from ages and from generations, but has
now been revealed to His saints (Col 1:26).