Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Unity and diversity

In his Unity and Diversity in the New Testament British New Testament scholar James Dunn concludes that there's a marked degree of diversity within the first-century Church; there are many different expressions of the Faith within the New Testament; there was no single normative form of Christianity in the first century. Their only unifying factor, he says, was their allegiance to Jesus.

In his Christian Unity and Christian Diversity Oxford professor John Macquarrie argues that diversity is just as essential as unity to the well-being of the Christian church.

'To combine unity with freedom is a very difficult task, and the temptations to uniformity are very great... A stark unity freezes the church and inhibits development. A sheer diversity would dissipate the church and cause her to disappear. Only unity and diversity together can be fruitful.'

G.K.Chesterton wrote somewhere that "All heresy is a narrowing down unduly of what is essentially a complex reality. Each part of the church needs the other parts."

What binds us together as Christians is not the 'purity' of our doctrinal viewpoint, nor the way we worship and serve the Lord, but our common allegiance to Jesus as Lord, and our being children of the same Father, united by the same Spirit.

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