The church is increasingly being understood from a global perspective. Looking backwards and summing up his two volumes on church history, Justo González says:
A twenty-first [century] history of Christianity must be global.
…The new narrative must be global both in its horizontal, geographic dimension—covering all lands and peoples—and in a vertical, sociological dimension—acknowledging the faith, the lives, and the struggles of those whose story is too often excluded.
–The Story of Christianity Vol. 2, p. 528-29
What González and others such as Philip Jenkins are doing for the history of the church, Scot McKnight attempts to do for the future of the church. In A Fellowship of Differents, McKnight casts a Biblical vision for the church as God intended. So how does he fare?
While his authority on New Testament interpretation, background, and context shines through admirably at times, A Fellowship of Differents is an uneven offering that does not live up to McKnight’s ambition for it.
In A Fellowship of Differents, Scot McKnight writes about the differences between love in our culture and Christian love:
Our dictionary definition of love has, to use theological words, no eschatology. That is, it has no final goal other than perhaps the personal happiness of the one loved or the one who loves–as long as that lasts. But Christian love has direction. It aims at one person helping another to become Christlike. [p. 66, emphasis added]
Contrary to what culture tells us, there’s more to love than the other person’s happiness. Love considers the other person’s holiness as well. Christ became sin, who knew no sin, that in him we might become NOT his happiness but his righteousness (see 2 Cor 5:21). To be sure, we become joyful as a result of this process. But our joy is a benefit or product of this love, not its primary goal.
Does your love look more like our culture’s definition of love or Christ’s embodiment of love? I know mine looks much more like the former than the latter most times. May God in his graciousness continue to transform us through his own love into those who live and love as he did.