Accepting Diversity in the New Testament

Growing up, I think that i was taught with the assumption that there was “a New Testament Church”, as if we could lump all the churches described in the New Testament into a single category. And from that category we could make projections about what church should be like and what it shouldn’t be like.

However, the more I read the New Testament, the more I see otherwise.

The churches described in the New Testament are anything but homogenous. In fact, what we see is a diversity of Christian expression even with the pages of our treasured New Testament.

The Corinthian churches are more charismatic and have flowing livelihood. The churches that Timothy is pastoring seem to have more structure and developed leadership hierarchy. The churches in Asia have their own uniqueness.

The churches are all different! And I’m sure Paul saw that as well.

So, when I consider the scope of denominations today, I’m not discouraged that there isn’t a “single” expression of Christianity, as if there was meant to be. But just like our New Testament, there is a testimony of different expressions, cultures, and personalities which go into the formation of how we do church. And thank God for that diversity!


Posted by Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing in the Black Box for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

1 comment

  1. Jacob Andrews

    One really cool idea that I think originated in the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II is that just like individual Christians have spiritual gifts, individual churches have their own special charismata and callings from God. So you could have a church that's really gifted in miracles and spiritual manifestations, and another one down the street that excels at church planting, another that draws people in with beautiful liturgy and music, another that does the same with acts of compassion, etc. I think this can apply to individual congregations as well as denominations, and even to parachurch organizations like college fellowships or missions agencies.

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