Guiding Baptist Union Churches towards multiculturalism: developing a multicultural tool for globalising urban South Africa
When the “global village” joins the local church, some cultures are tempted to withdraw. What guidance is there for Baptist Union Churches undergoing demographic changes? Findings in missiology, anthropology, and intercultural studies benefit Baptist churches currently experiencing cultural transitions. The research method mixed qualitative and quantitative analysis. These cultural transitions would be from homogeneous, local churches into culturally heterogeneous local churches. The Homogeneous Unit Principle (HUP) is questioned in the light of Scripture, from Acts and Ephesians in particular. If Acts 2 reverses the curse of Babel (Gen 11), then the mystery in Ephesians 2, points to the Holy Spirit’s original intension for multicultural local churches. After grappling with the plethora of definitions of culture, a simple definition was needed. Thus, culture is understood as an attempt to bring unity to diversity by community. An assessment tool was extracted by understanding ten cultural worldviews and three cultural values, as viewed from a Trinitarian perspective. This self-assessment tool is similar to the guilt-shame-fear model. The study was field tested during a weekend seminar. Clear Biblical understanding of culture, cultural differences, and theological responses to multiculturalism enlightened participants. Small group discussion and the individual use of the self-assessment tool was found to be helpful by 88% of participants to assist in improving their understanding of themselves and others from diverse cultural families. Understanding allays fear and prejudice.
- Theology