I am trying to work out which way we should go as a church when it comes to children’s and youth ministries and the cross cultural question. One of the issues that always comes up in this discussion is the issue of the homogeneous church (Tim Chester has discussion about the issues involved) :
John Stott is cautious when it comes to the homogeneous church:
“… although there are circumstances in which a homogeneous church can be a legitimate and authentic church, yet it can never be a complete church in itself, since it cannot reflect the universality and diversity of the body of Christ. This being so, every homogeneous unit church should take active steps to broaden its fellowship, in order to demonstrate visibly the unity and variety if the church.”John Stott, The Living Church, IVP, 2007, Pg 42John Woodhouse approaches the issue differently and by implication appears far more ready to support the homogeneous church when he argues that:
“You are all one in Christ Jesus”, Gal 3:28). This heavenly reality finds expression in this world as the Spirit brings Christians together in various localities (1 Cor 1:10). In other words the unity of which the Christian gospel speaks applies first to the spiritual unity of all, from every place and every age, who are members of God's household. It applies second to the relationships in the local gathering of Christians. ...The question is, how should we express our unity with believers beyond our local congregation? ..The answer will vary according to circumstances.... However we will want to express our love and unity with others to the extent that it is feasible.While their ecclesiology is different, in both instances it appears there is room for the homogeneous church and that there is a desire to find active steps to broaden fellowship beyond the local church/congregation.
John Woodhouse / Briefing #284 / May 2002
My dilemma is I feel like these positions truncate the whole discussion. Having accepted some role for the homogeneous church and established the need for fellowship beyond the local congregation we quickly move on to a discussion of pragmatics - i.e. what do “active steps” look like? This would be ok if the discussion of pragmatics continued a conversation with theology. It is like we disengage our theological brain. I know I have been guilty of this and am interested correcting this and developing my theology.
So before I continue with the exploration of actives steps, just wondering what other theological resources you would bring to the discussion?