Tuesday, 10 November 2015
The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission and Reception of Faith,
Andrew F. Walls, T&T Clark, 2002, page 81
Walls now reaches the climax of his argument:
The Ephesian question at the Ephesian moment is whether or not the church in all of its diversity will demonstrate its unity by the interactive participation of all its culture-specific segments, the interactive participation that is to be expected of a functioning body. Will the body of Christ be realised or fractured in this new Ephesian moment?
Diversity and inclusiveness are qualities to be praised and welcomed. But I believe that Andrew Walls has missed the main point and focus of Paul's vivid language in Ephesians 2. Already in the church were people from all over the world, some of them are listed at the beginning of Acts 2. Geography and domestic culture are not the defining categories for Paul and neither can they be today.
The Bible doesn't recognise multiple categories of people. Surely, the nations are listed in prototype form in Genesis 10, but fundamentally, the Bible talks about only two types of people: Jews and Gentiles. There maybe thousands of different flavours of Gentile, from all the corners of the world, but they are all Gentiles. Similarly, there are Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews; there are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and all stations west Jews, living in many countries around the world, but they are all Jews.
The Ephesian moment is not about reconciling African Christians and their faith and praxis with Christians from Asia or Latin America. It is about reconciling Jewish believers in Messiah with Gentile believers in Messiah. Until that fundamental point is recognised and addressed, nothing will settle and find its wholeness in Messiah.