A Church of "Many Colors"

There are solid resources to be found, for example, in Paul's vigorous response to Jewish-Gentile conflicts (much of which was driven by racism and ethnocentrism) and in the multi-cultural, eschatological vision of the prophets and Revelation. Rah touches on this latter vision, but in such a way as to leave the reader wanting more. Further, it seems there is great promise in drawing upon the vast contributions of global, non-Western, contextual theologies (in fairness, Rah briefly references Lamin Sanneh and Richard Twiss). This is important not only for academic theology, but for multi-cultural church ministry, for it reminds those of us occupying the still-dominant culture that we dare not think a homogenous, ethnocentric perspective is sufficient to capture the richness of the kingdom of God -- much less to construct an adequate theology or to map out an ecclesial life sufficient to embrace the challenges of society or to fulfill the obligations of radical, New Testament discipleship.

In sum, Rah's book is an important follow-up to The Next Evangelicalism and is a helpful, introductory resource for leaders who wish to engage a changing culture and a multi-cultural demographic. As Rah put it: "What is the church's role in this changing landscape? Will we flee in fear from the cultural changes or will we engage the culture in a relevant but transformative way?" (73) For the sake of the gospel and the health of the kingdom, let's hope, pray, and work for the latter.

11/10/2010 5:00:00 AM
  • Evangelical
  • Theological Provocations
  • Race
  • Christianity
  • Evangelicalism
  • Kyle Roberts
    About Kyle Roberts
    Kyle Roberts is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Lead Faculty of Christian Thought, Bethel Seminary (St. Paul, MN). He researches and writes on issues related to the intersection of theology, philosophy, and culture. Follow Kyle Roberts' reflections on faith and culture at his blog or via Twitter.