The “mystery of Christ.” Do you know what it is?
I thought I did, but then as I was reading in Ephesians and Colossians (at the insistence of Mark DeYmaz, the author of Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church, the book I’m reading) I saw that Paul describes the mystery of Christ as the fact that the Gentiles have access to the Father through Christ just as the Jews did (Eph 3.4-6) and states that it was this message that put him in the slammer (Col 4.3). DeYmaz uses this to build his case for multi-ethnic churches, and as I consider these passages I am struck with the continuity of Scripture in this regard: the Temple being a house of prayer for all nations; Jesus’ “own” receiving Him not; Paul’s commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles; the nation of Israel being grafted into the larger “olive tree” of believers; the tapestry of people strewn around the throne of the Lamb in heaven…
As I contemplate the way our churches have been established in this country and around the world, I see a serious disconnect in that we have allowed the Jewish community to pursue its Messianic approach and have also built monochromatic assemblies that often don’t reflect either the demographics of the communities in which they are located or the reality of the “mystery of Christ.” Homogeneity is far easier to produce than unity–but what an adventure we forfeit! . (From Carta del norte, 9 September 2008)
If you would like to read my abstract on the Borealis Project, our vision for international churches in Canada, please let me know by commenting on this post. If enough people do so, I may figure out how to include a link to it on my page. Here is Mark’s book: http://amzn.com/0787995517