Four verses that show God truly cares about multiculturalism
Bishop Peter Lin believes that multicultural ministry should be on the mind of every church.
“What it looks like out there is not what it looks like in our churches on the whole,” he says. “Our churches do not reflect our community profile ethnically. How many of us can say that our churches genuinely reflect the community we live in? How many of our churches are predominantly one culture, with maybe a handful of people from others?”
With competing priorities in church and life, and many good ways to serve, why should we care about multicultural ministry? Because God cares.
Bishop Lin says the theme of all nations coming to worship God is woven throughout Scripture, from creation to revelation. Here are some of his key passages demonstrating God’s heart for all lands and languages.
From creation to revelation
“God’s view of his people is not monocultural – it’s all nations, tribes and languages,” Bishop Lin says. “Therefore we care about multicultural ministry because God cares. God wants all the nations to come to him. In Australia, we don’t even necessarily have to go overseas to reach people from all nations, God has already brought them here. We are without excuse or reason for not reaching the nations.”
Passage 1: Genesis 11-12
“Here we see when the nations were formed. Part of the punishment for trying to build the tower of Babel and reach God was to ‘confuse’ their language and disperse them over the face of the earth. But it was always God’s intention to bring them back together. The promises to Abraham end with him being a blessing to all nations. God’s view from the start has been for all the nations. It’s in the very fabric of his promises.”
God will bring them back
Passage 2: Isaiah 2
“The vision that God gives Isaiah here is ultimately about the nations streaming to the mountain of the Lord. It’s an eschatological view of all the nations coming to God. This idea is never absent from the Old Testament, and it ultimately points to the gospel.”
Passage 3: Matthew 28
“Jesus says to make disciples of all nations. We come into the New Covenant territory in Matthew, and again the idea that the gospel is for all nations is reiterated by Jesus. This command is not just for the disciples, because the disciples could never reach all nations on their own. The command is for God’s church and God’s people to recognise and reach all the nations.
Recognise and reach the nations
Passage 4: Revelation 7
This is a picture of the future. All the nations are gathered around the throne, before the Lamb, and they remain culturally distinct – all tribes, peoples and languages. But they all wear the same thing, the white robes, and they all say the same thing in verse 10, ‘Salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb’. That shows all people from all nations are saved in the same way, by God and through the Lord Jesus. In verse 13, John says, ‘those in white robes are those who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb’, because they’ve been saved by Jesus and his death for them.”
Images are families from St Paul's Castle Hill's recent Mother's Day Photo Booth.