The following from Disciple Nations Alliance president Scott Allen, offered here in two parts, originally appeared at WORLD.
There is a reason for the increasing division, hostility, and violence we are seeing in America. As a nation, we are abandoning biblical truth in favor of toxic ideologies that, if left unchecked, will destroy us from the inside.
Now, more than ever, the church must embody and champion those profound, transforming truths that have shaped our common life in America from our earliest days, enabling an amazingly diverse and pluralistic society to coexist in relative peace and unity. These truths are all under sustained attack today. A movement is afoot to discredit and replace them with dark and dangerous doctrines. If the church merely stands by quietly while these truths are uprooted from our cultural soil, this nation will inevitably fragment into warring factions marked by bitterness, distrust, hatred, self-righteousness, and vengefulness.
As the church, we are here to be salt and light. We do that by living out and creatively championing powerful truths of God’s Kingdom that confront the lies shaping our culture today. Truths that lead to human flourishing and social peace. If we fail to do this, we lose our saltiness, the light diminishes, and we are no longer true to our calling to love our neighbors.
Three transforming truths desperately need champions right now.
The Bible places far more emphasis on what unites us as human beings than on our differences. It focuses on what all people have in common, regardless of their race, sex, skin-color, stage of development, or relative wealth or poverty. Consider:
- God creates all people in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-28). Therefore, all people have inalienable dignity and incalculable worth. Everyone has God-given rights to life and liberty.
- All people have unique personalities, gifts, talents, and skills, given by God to enable them to fulfill their God-given purpose of stewarding creation, causing it to flourish. In Ephesians 4 Paul lists individual gifts, but only after he first exhorts us to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
- All people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), yet God desires all people to be saved, and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
- Jesus shed his precious blood for the redemption of all people. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).
- As followers of Jesus Christ, the dividing wall of hostility is torn down (Ephesians 2:14). There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female; we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
- As followers of Jesus Christ, our commission is to make disciples of all peoples, all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
- In the new heavens and new earth, people from “every tribe, tongue, people, and language” will gather in jubilant adoration before the throne of Jesus (Revelation 7:9).
Yes, we have differences. Race, gender, age, physical attributes, these are important parts of our identity. God delights in diversity. He didn’t just create one kind of flower, or tree, or dog. He didn’t merely create male—but male and female. He rejoices in the vast diversity of His creation, including human diversity. So should we. We should celebrate it—but always, always remember first what we have in common—what unifies us. All of us represent God’s workmanship and bearers of His image. All of us are precious in God’s sight. He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). This knowledge must shape our attitude toward every single person. It is powerful, beautiful and life affirming. It fosters peace, harmony and social flourishing.
Here’s the powerful thing: The biblical worldview affirms both unity and diversity. Today, our postmodern culture values diversity, but not unity. A dark and idolatrous form of racialism or tribalism is on the rise. Human identity is increasingly viewed through the lens of what are now called “identity groups” of race, gender, or sexual orientation. People increasingly preface comments by saying, “as a white, cisgender male,” or “as a black lesbian female” as if that somehow defines them. “Diversity” has taken on an almost totemic significance, yet we are rapidly losing the ability to affirm what unites us. That is what we desperately need today—a passionate assertion of what unites us as human beings.
Only the biblical worldview allows for this. God created us all, and therefore, all lives matter. Don’t let yourself be shamed into thinking that asserting this is somehow insensitive or racist. It is not. It is a truthful, beautiful thing to say, and we need to keep saying it, and demonstrating it, boldly, creatively, courageously, each day, now more than ever!
- Scott Allen
… to be continued