As the world turns, so turns the churches. As the culture trends, so trends the churches. And the world is turning, and the culture is trending in the direction of diversity. Diversity has been all the rage for quite some time in corporate America. It has now weaved its way into the churches so that now it has become part of the criteria for some churches to fill vacancies in the pastoral staff. This post seeks to turn the spotlight on the uncritically accepted premise that “diversity is inherently good.” Is diversity a goal or objective to be pursued by the churches? Should we purposely aim for ethnic diversity inside the walls of our churches? Should the pastoral staff be intentionally diverse? These are all good questions even though it seems to me that very few people are asking them.
We are living in increasingly dangerous times. While the church has deliberately downplayed the significance of the Reformation in its history, American culture has done its best to turn back the clock on the enlightenment. Contributing to the dismal conditions in the world more than any other single factor is the academy.
Heather MacDonald wrote on the condition of the academy regarding the loss of rational justification for our source of authority:
We are cultivating students who lack all understanding of the principles of the American Founding. The mark of any civilization is its commitment to reason and discourse. The great accomplishment of the European Enlightenment was to require all forms of authority to justify themselves through rational argument, rather than through coercion or an unadorned appeal to tradition.”
In 2018, human beings who are biological males or females are now protected in their psychological delusions of self-identifying as the opposite of their undeniable scientific class. And Heaven help you if you refuse to go along with this delusion. This is just one example of the radical and massive shift we are witnessing in American society. I could go on and on about racism, microaggressions, feminism, etc. You get the idea. The point here is that science and all reason be can be ignored, dismissed, or tossed into the incinerator if at any time they contradict my narcissistic tendencies regardless of how radical they might be.
As the world turns, so turns the churches. As the culture trends, so trends the churches. Contributing to the same dismal conditions in the churches that we see in society is the seminaries and the men they are producing of late. One example of the church’s mimicking the world is how she thinks about diversity. Society is all about diversity. Diversity, in and of itself, is a virtue to be prized. And seemingly, it is to be prized above all else. But should it be? Should diversity be an intentional pursuit of the churches? Should diversity play a role in pastoral searches for example? If we do as the culture has done and remove any rational justification for an appeal to epistemic authority, then to what shall we appeal to answer these questions? It seems to me that the mob now has the authority and the mob isn’t about to give it back come hell or high water. And that mob, believe it or not, is having a dramatic impact on the churches both by way of influencing the seminaries, the pastors, and uncritical Christians which sadly, happens to be the overwhelming majority these days. Returning to the mob mentality, my point is that the mob demands that its morality be the standard and it does so without the slightest compulsion whatever to provide a rational justification for its demands. The mob snaps its fingers and a man can become a woman, a woman can become a man, and murder can become a woman’s right to healthcare. That is how the mob thinks and it is how the mob behaves. The mob is never to be challenged for any reason whatsoever. And if you challenge the mob, it stands ready to club you to death, without mercy, metaphorically speaking at least. The minority in society isn’t the only group that is intimidated by the mob mentality. The church is too. Her seminaries are intimidated. Her pastors are intimidated. Indeed, mob rule has reached a crisis point in society and unless a strong, opposing voice can rally the rational, I am afraid that civil society can see the end of its existence from where we stand today.
The doctrine of diversity is one that ought to be challenged. It ought to be challenged by any critically thinking godly men. But the price for such a challenge is high and there are few who are willing to write that check. In fact, the churches have been caving to the diversity pressure rapidly over just this past year. Beginning with the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., sponsored by the SBC, to the #MeToo intimidation that led to the firing of Page Patterson, to the outright promotion of the idea of the homosexual Christian under the ruse of Same-Sex Attraction, the churches have wilted under the pressure of this godless society with its god-hating, man-centered, narcissistic movements. All that has to happen for the churches to succumb to the wickedness around us is for the hirelings to possess the megaphones and for good men to stand by and do nothing. And that is precisely where we are today. The hireling kingdom builders and celebrity pastors are in possession of the megaphones, they have the platform, and the good men, many of them, are too weak-in-the-knees to write that check in opposition to the strong current of paganism we see sweeping society. Many good pastors are quiet on these issues and that is both unfortunate and regrettable. The pastorate is no place for men who are lacking in courage.
Many of these good men have been deluded into thinking that diversity in and of itself is a good thing. This idea, they have inherited from society. If it is the case that we are all sinners, totally depraved, God-hating at our core, then how could diversity in and of itself be a good thing? The only good thing in me is not my German or Irish heritage. Not even for a second. The only good in me is Christ. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking that it takes an Irishman to win an Irishman and an African to win an African and a Chinaman to win a Chinaman. And it takes an Irish pastor to attract Irish unbelievers or even Irish Christians, etc. But is hiring an Irish pastor to attract Irish people to the church a principle or practice that can garner biblical support? The easy and obvious answer to that question is NO. Otherwise, Christianity would have forever remained a Jewish religion. So then, this kind of diversity thinking on the part of the church, seminaries, and pastors is a departure from, and in fact a contradiction to biblical principles. For starters, it fosters division in the body by unwittingly reinforcing an “us vs them” mentality based on things like ethnicity and even melanin. This thinking is foreign to anything taught in Scripture. What should we be doing instead? We should be teaching believers NOT to judge others based on their ethnicity and not to be loyal to one’s earthly heritage to the point that it affects major decisions like where we will worship. Think about that. It’s fine to be proud of one’s heritage, such as being Irish or African as far as it goes, but it isn’t fine to break off into groups and it certainly isn’t fine to pick a church or a pastor, based on ethnicity, melanin, or any other trivial accident in man. The entire idea is absurd and fleshly. Yet, we have thousands of pastors who inadvertently (in many cases) encourage just this kind of behavior. And make no mistake about it: this behavior, this thinking, this way of looking at others is sinful.
A perfect example of this kind of thinking is found in 1 Corinthians 3,
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?
To think that things like the unscientific concept of race or the ethnicity of other people matters in churches is indeed to think like the world. It is fleshly. It is worldly thinking at its core.
Let’s return to the mob for a moment. Back in 2015, A University of Missouri student reported having the N-word painted on his door. He claimed that the administration had allowed these attacks. The board of overseers convened in emergency session because the black athletes on the Missouri football team threatened a boycott. The president of the university, Timothy Wolfe resigned before the meeting with the typical mea culpa: “I take full responsibility for this frustration.” The university could have lost as much as a million dollars if it had forfeited the game which was with BYU. There is no evidence that the University of Missouri denies equal opportunity for its black students. Those black students, like every other student on campus, are surrounded by lavish educational resources, which are available to them for the asking on a color-blind basis. Nor was there any evidence of the attacks alleged by the graduate student; he reported none of them to the university or to the city law enforcement. Yet, despite all this lack of evidence, Timothy Wolfe had to forego his career and place his family in a very bad situation just to satisfy the mob.
Today, this same situation has obtained in many of the churches, mostly SBC churches. Unless you support the racial reconciliation movement, the #MeToo movement, the SSA movement, then you must be one of those racist, sexist, homophobes. Or, as some from that mob are saying, you must be an old white male. The rhetoric of the mob is indeed outrageous and fantastic, both outside and inside the churches. The tactics are the same. And those tactics are ungodly and must be called out for what they are: fleshly, worldly, departing from the principles taught by Christ himself.
To highlight how the mob tactic is working, I will provide one more illustration. Recently, I listened to a Christian woman describe an interaction she had with an Indian man. The man told her that he was definitely not a Christian in a way that made her wonder what he had against Christianity. She inquired into why he felt this way about Christianity. He told her that Christians hate everyone who is not a Christian. And he tossed out a few groups, homosexuals being at the top of his list. The lady used this as an example of what is wrong with Christianity. We are unloving in how we present ourselves and the gospel. What is wrong with this scenario?
For starters, she thought it was odd that people should hate Christianity or Christians. The reason that they do so must be because we are doing something wrong. But she couldn’t have been more mistaken. Jesus said,
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. —Matt. 5:11-12
It should come as no surprise to us that the world hates us. To quote Jesus again,
If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. —John 15:19
The world is going to hate Christians because the world hates Christ because the world hates God. Why would we think that the world would love us if in fact we are being transformed into the image of the one the world hates?
The doctrine of diversity, so embraced by many well-meaning leaders and by plenty of not-so-well-meaning leaders, is dangerous because it is a threat to core Christian principles. The most basic of those principles is that it is the nature of truth to offend the ungodly. Diversity, at its core, will always seek to mitigate the offense caused by truth and it usually does so by either ignoring truth or by taking the stinger out of it altogether. For example, I hear men say that God doesn’t condemn the homosexual because he is a homosexual but because he is a sinner like everyone else. Now, on the face it, that is true but only to a degree. The real question is what are we doing when we engage in that sort of rhetoric? We are taking the stinger out of that person’s personal pet rebellious sin against God. Homosexuality to the homosexual is their idol. Above all else, it is their god. And when you attack their god directly, you attack their most prized idol above all their idols. And when you do that, they respond with the mob tactic: you are hateful, mean, homophobic. And of course, we don’t want to be any of those things and so, in order to not be attacked by the mob tactic due to our own lack of courage and willingness to suffer for Christ, we change the language. This proves we have bought into the world’s idea and the world’s tactics as legitimate and we have adjusted our thinking and even our presentation of the gospel accordingly.
Diversity is an idol of our culture. God is truly saving from all nations and tribes. The kingdom of heaven will be a diverse kingdom. But that work belongs to God alone. Only God fills his kingdom with those whom he predestined before the foundation of the world. And if you think that God’s criteria for election involve diversity, then you have truly failed to understand grace. There is nothing in man that God would choose him. So consider this: when you are deliberately targeting people in your community based on any criteria other than they are a sinner in need of a Savior, you are operating contrary to the core principles bound up in the gospel of grace. And that is no small error.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. —Gal. 3:28-29
MacDonald, Heather. The Diversity Delusion, 17.