Christ, His Gospel, and Ethnicity – Ephesians 2:13-22

The perpetuity of ethnic dividing walls within the church, it must be stated, is a fundamental denial of the gospel itself. To be united with Christ in communion with the saints is to accept His finished work of erasing the primary function of ethnic identity in the church. That is not to say that the sinfulness of man will not still bring about ethnic disparity even within the covenant community of God, but this occurs as a result of precisely what people like Pastor Anyabwile are pushing for: emphasizing the perpetuity of identifying in ethnicity beyond the point of union with Christ and His body.

13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit,” (Eph. 2:13-22; NASB).

What we have, then, in Pastor Thabiti and those who agree with his narrative, is a fundamental denial of the great mystery of the gospel: the expansion of the gospel through Gentile inclusion. In their writings, it is agreed that the nations are included in the New Covenant, but the dividing walls remain. Rather than finding unity in the throne and the Lamb, the tribes, tongues, and nations worshiping God in heaven are treated as having perpetual dividing walls persisting into the eternal state. Thus, even Christ’s eschatological bride is fundamentally divided in the view of these preachers and their churches, and all in service of furthering an extra-biblical “narrative.”

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