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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Friday, November 04, 2005

“The people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light” – Luke 16:18 (NIV).

If you want to understand what Ephesians 2:11-22 means today (and why these verses were so radical in Paul’s day), then I want you to try an experiment – a thought experiment:

I want you to imagine two people – we’ll call them Mike and Reggie. And just to make things interesting, we’ll say that Mike and Reggie don’t have much in common. Mike is white, while Reggie is black. Mike grew up in a small town, while Reggie was from the big city. Mike is skinny and short and shy, while Reggie is a big, confident man who always knew where to find a good time.

But let’s say that Mike and Reggie both joined the Army. Both served in Iraq – in fact, both served in the same squad. And talking things over, both discovered that each man had an Adventist grandmother . . . an Adventist grandmother who was praying each and every day for her grandson’s safety and conversion.

And yes, the prayers of both grandmothers were answered. After a couple of especially close calls, Mike and Reggie began studying the Bible together. As a result, both were baptized. Both became members of the Adventist Church. And both decided to become pastors.

So here’s what I want you to do: I want you to come up with a good explanation for the fact that Mike and Reggie might end up working in the same city as pastors of churches that are right next door to each other – but one of those churches will be white, and the other black.

Once you’ve done that, then I want you to explain why the Mike and Reggie will end up working for two different Conferences: one white and the other black.

Next, I’d like you to explain why the Church needs to do all this – why the Adventis Church needs, not just separate churches for whites and blacks, but separate administrative structures for those white churches and black churches . . .

When the Army does not.

When they were in the Army, after all, Mike and Reggie served in the same unit – and yes, they even worshipped in the same chapel!

But in the Church, they won’t.

Why not?

And what does Ephesians 2:11-22 say about that?

Pastor Greg

And remember: “Efficiency is not a synonym for good” – Robert Fogel, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics.


Anonymous Karl said...

I see your point, Greg. But don't human "families" generally seek a comfort level of being with “their own” even if the organization does not encourage it? Why do Korean, Chinese and German churches spring up around SDA schools that educate all these people in the same class rooms? Is it only language? It was impressive attending mass—standing room only—at a 1500 member Vietnamese church in East New Orleans last Sunday. Some drove in just for the day from as far as away as Texas to worship with their congregation.

Which “comforts” must be shunned for a church to be innocent of exclusion of “gentiles?”

6:38 AM  
Blogger Pastor Greg said...

Black and white churches, maybe.

But why the need for black and white Conferences?

6:01 PM  

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