I once read that apparently, the UK is one of the most socially stratified societies in Europe. Whatever class you’re born into, is likely to be the one you stay in.
Although class isn’t at the forefront of many people’s thinking in the UK, it does seem to be a major issue in evangelical Christianity in the UK at the moment.
In the olden days, people used to talk about the “white man’s burden” to spread Christianity among non white people.
Now there seems to be a “middle class burden” to share the gospel among the working classes.
The UK evangelical church is becoming uncomfortably self conscious about being largely middle class. Hence the “burden” to share the gospel with the working class.
But what is our primary identity in? Our class? Or in Christ?
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:11 ESV
God doesn’t call us to build working class, middle class, white or black churches. Unity in the church isn’t something we (de)construct. We are one in Christ. It’s not about how cultured we are. It’s not about our religiosity. It’s not about what language (s) we speak. It’s not about our cultural background. It’s not even about what class we are or what job we do. It’s all about Christ. And if we’re talking more about class or any of these other things than Christ, we’ve got a distorted perspective.
I’m not saying class isn’t an issue. It is. It was in Corinth, where some were greedy at the Lord’s supper, and some were going without. But the remedy isn’t about changing class, or speaking down (or up) to another class. It’s about remembering who we are in Christ- one body (albeit many members).
The body illustration is the right one for the church of Christ, not some stratified rock face. We can’t all be arms, grafting away at the coal face of reaching the unreached. Some of us are hands, to give to those less well off than us. Yes we are all to do the work of evangelism, and we are all to be generous, but some have special giftings in these and other areas.
What are the divisive issues in your context? How can you display the unity of Christ in the body of Christ today?