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Throughout the Old Testament, God gave and repeated his promise to one day gather the nations into his kingdom and bring them together as one people. Jesus boldly announced that the time had come when God's promises would be fulfilled, and that his people should gather and make disciples of all nations. But that does not come without challenges. The more diverse a group is, the more difficult lasting unity will be. Paul understood this well, as a significant portion of his letters deal with gathering the nations and teaching the churches how to navigate cultural conflicts within the body, culminating in his example and call to be all things to all people. That is the task of the diverse church that has taken seriously the call to gather the nations.
We must constantly work at our cultural unity, but how do we do that? Which cultural norms and expressions do we use–yours, mine, or those of another group? Do we ignore these issues and simply default to the dominant culture in the society around us, allowing it to dictate our practices and community life? Or do we intentionally choose not to conform to the patterns of the world and, instead, become a body that truly strives to embody what it means to be all things to all people?