[Very interesting facts regarding the early church. Highlighting mine.Eldon]
THE EARLY CHURCH WAS A MULTI-ETHNIC, LOCAL CHURCH MOVEMENT
Quoting the 3rd point from Derwin Gray, http://pastors.com/3-
Greco-Roman cities were very ethnically diverse and therefore fractured into numerous ethnic tribes (Stark, 157). Case in point is the city of Antioch. When it was founded by Seleucus I, the city was laid out in two primary sections – one for the Syrians and one for the Greeks. These sections were walled off from one another (Stark, 157).
During days of Roman rule, Antioch was divided into 18 different ethnic groups. As a result of this ethnic diversity, social integration was very difficult. It is also one of the reasons Roman cities were prone to riots. (Stark, 158).
However, it was in the city of Antioch that Jesus’ followers were first called Christians (Acts 11:19-26). It was in Antioch that Jesus’ church transformed from a homogenous group of Jews into a local, multi-ethnic church comprised of Jews and non-Jews (African, Arab, Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Asians, etc.). And it was the multi-ethnic, local church in Antioch that took the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, not the homogenous church in Jerusalem (Acts 13:1-3).
The Greco-Romans stood in awe as they saw people who hated each other began to love each other and do life together in the Name of Jesus (Ephesians 2:14-16).
One of the dominant themes in the Apostle Paul letters is how the Gospel breaks down ethnic barriers to create one new people in Christ who are to live out the Kingdom of God by loving one another (Gal. 3:24-28; Eph. 2:14-16; 3:1-13, Romans 1:15; 15:16, 1 Cor. 9:19-23, Col. 1:27; 3:11-15).
Church planter/pastor, do you have a plan to cultivate a multi-ethnic congregation if the demographics are possible? Currently only 13% of local churches in America are multi-ethnic. Sadly, the most segregated time in America is Sunday morning’s at 11:00am.
Church, may we have congregations that will reflect the new heaven and new earth. (Rev. 5:9)
See the complete article. http://pastors.com/3-early-
Also see Face Book page for EthnictoEthnic.org or E-tem