Have you ever noticed that circles of friends, interest groups and religious bodies, including churches, are mostly made up of people who look like each other or act like each other? White middle-class churches, black churches, Asian churches are obvious examples, but similarities can be more subtle. When people accept each other on any other basis than repentance and faith in Jesus Christ then that group is a clique and by its existence it denies the gospel of God’s acceptance of sinners by grace through faith.
Jesus expects his disciples to love their enemies. The enemy is the end of the spectrum which begins with friends. Enemies are not just those who persecute the church (v44) but are those who are not brothers (v47). If we only love those who love us or only greet our brethren, those of the same cultural heritage, then we’re doing no better than tax collectors or pagans.
Matthew 5:43-47 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
This has significant implications for churches in multi-cultural communities or even nations like ours. As the world forms homogeneous communities and cliques the person and teaching of Jesus must unite diverse people who then work hard on what it means to love one another, not because they find it easy, but because Christ is our head and he expects nothing less. The bar is set high. When we fail, we turn to the cross, know God’s love, acceptance, grace, mercy, forgiveness and kindness then get up and show the same to our enemies.
Anti-homogenous church in Romans
Anti-homogenous church in Ephesians
Challenging the homogenous church growth principle
Is homogenous church growth ever legitimate?
And a few more posts on the problems in homogenous churches