The Church as God’s agent in uniting immigrants and natives: A case from Ephesians 2:11–22
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As the number of people migrating from many different countries to South Africa constantly increases, there is bound to be immense tension between the immigrants and the citizens for many and different reasons. Within this context, the South African Church is expected to play a critical role in bringing peace and unity between the immigrants and the natives. In responding to the proposed challenge, this article submits that the Church has a God- given role of uniting immigrants and native South Africans by utilising Ephesians 2:11–22. This conception arises from locating Ephesians 2:11–22 in the broader context of Scripture. In so doing, the article submits that the role of the Church entails both preaching and practising the social aspects of the vertical (God’s reconciliation with humans) and the horizontal (human to human reconciliation) reconciliation that were accomplished by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. That is to say, the Church should be perceived as the agent of God in uniting the immigrants and the native South Africans by proclaiming the doctrine of vertical and horizontal reconciliation to Christians and non-Christians in both word and deeds. Interdisciplinary implication: This is an interdisciplinary article that conducts a thorough exegetical work on Ephesians 2:11–22. Thereafter, the article alludes to relevant biblical passages to draw some ensuing social implications of Ephesians 2:11–22 in easing the existing tensions between immigrants and native South Africans. In bringing the aforesaid together, the former aspect of the article falls within biblical studies, while the latter falls within practical- missional theology.
- Faculty of Theology