Unity in Diversity - RR274J18b
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Let us pray. Almighty God our heavenly Father, who with Thy grace and mercy has called us to be Thy people. Who has commissioned us to bring every area of life and thought into captivity to Jesus Christ. We give thanks unto Thee that because Thou art on the throne the laborer of our hands, our hearts, our beings, is not in vain but Thou dost make all things make all things work together for good for them that love Thee. That Thou hast called us to victory in time and in eternity. Great and marvelous are Thy works oh Lord and we praise Thee, bless us this day as we worship Thee, in Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture is from First Corinthians 12:12-18. Our subject: Unity in Diversity.
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14For the body is not one member, but many.
15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
This text and in fact the entire chapter is very alien to our present culture because individualism has radically divided society. In fact it would be possible to write a book just on this passage because it is so dramatically important in explaining what has happened in our world. In the Greek text in verses four, five and six we encounter three times the word translated as diversities or administrations. This refers to whatever aspect of a Christian’s being work together with the rest of his persons to further the work of the whole body. Here the body refers to the church. Just as the human body has in it a variety of organs and the stomach does not work merely to feed itself but the entire body so too the church. [00:04:54]
The Holy Spirit within the church and the believer...
The Holy Spirit within the church and the believer works for the health and welfare of the entire church, for all the members thereof. Now: until modern radical individualism this sense of unity existed. But it’s now gone in every sphere! We no longer see ourselves as members one of another, whether in the family, in the church or in society. And those who want to see you as a part of themselves do it on non-Christian terms, exploitive, demanding, so that we see children in rebellion against their parents and parents demanding in terms of their own insistence that you be totally what they demand. No sense of a diversity, each seeks to go its own way, so with modern radical individualism. This sense of unity is gone in every sphere, within the family radical individualism separates husband and wife, children from their parents, parents from their children, all from one another. This separation is not a religious or moral separatism but one born of a belief of a separate destiny for the individual. As though our destiny an be separated from that of other people. A concept of individualism, the one that prevails, is relatively modern. Coming into its own with the French Revolution and its aftermath, instead of identifying a man as a member of a group, member or clan or nation, in terms of his faith and culture, identification became purely personal. I am myself, nobody can define me, I am unique, and that’s the mentality. A young artist I knew in the 1930s changed his name to avoid identification with his nationality, he insisted on inventing a time to isolate his style of art from all others, and you see that every year there is a new school of art, no identification with anyone else. This young artist rejected all allegiances and all law in order to be free as he saw it. [00:09:00]
His definition of freedom was anarchic...
His definition of freedom was anarchic. It required a total break with the past, present and future. While refusing the term ‘Dadaist’ he really was one. Dadaism which meant ‘nothingism’ was a school of art which reduced everything to nothingness because it denied any connection. Only a purely external non-personal meaning which was no meaning could exist. In terms of radical individualism there is no social goal other than self-realization and that’s why in the 1960s the hippies and student rebels held as their goal ‘I want to be me’. What is that? What did it mean? Nothing. Such radical individualism is a mark of social decay, of cultural collapse. It was prevalent in the Roman Empire and the Renaissance and again in our age of revolution. We are not a normal era in history. Paul does not waste time on a social analysis. Corinth certainly represented the growing cultural collapse of the Roman Empire, of the Greco-Roman world. There could only be religious reversal of that trend and only the Christian community represented that hope. Remember as we saw earlier even the Greco-Roman empire with its moral decay and degeneracy Corinth was a byword for degeneracy and decay. It had no moral standards. Its one goal was to succeed at whatever it shows. It was a manufacturing town, a port, and as we saw, the chamber of congress there maintained two thousand prostitutes to take care of visiting salesman. That’s why Paul says he went to Corinth in fear and trembling, what a cesspool it was. And yet God wanted him to go there to make witness and that is why the letter to the Corinthians is so important. Why we’ve concentrated so on it, because we live in a world of like cultural decay. [00:12:56]
Corinthians is very relevant to us...
Corinthians is very relevant to us. So Paul does not waste time on social analysis. Only a religious reversal could make any difference to Corinth. Only the Christian community represented that hope. In verse twelve he sets forth that hope clearly: for the body is one and hath many members and all the members of that one body being many are one body, so also is Christ. Instead of a cultural unity Paul insists on a theological one. The oneness of our human body does not eliminate the many-ness of its members. In fact apart from their diversity and unity the body is dead. If the body were not many it could not exist. Can the stomach walk? Can the feet digest food? Can the arms think and talk? If the lungs are isolated from the body both the body and the lungs are dead. Every member of our body needs the others. Now Paul presses this analogy almost to the limit. Without Christ the body, the church, is dead. With him it is alive, but is also alive for two reasons. First because it is unity with Jesus Christ, the body the church is alive. Second if it is alive in Christ then the members are in unity one with another in Christ. The test of being alive in Christ is being mindful of and in unity with one another. To separate ourselves from our fellow members of Christ is to separate ourselves from Jesus Christ, from life! No more than our hand can live in isolation from our body can we as Christians live in isolation one from another and of course from Jesus Christ. [00:16:12]
In verse thirteen Paul continues...
In verse thirteen Paul continues: “So by one spirit are we baptized into one body whether be Jews or gentiles, whether we be bond or free and have all been made to drink out of one spirit.” The human differences between being Jew or gentile bond or free are as nothing in the face of the reality of our common life in the spirit. As verse fourteen tells us: for the body is but one body but many. The body is alive because of its diversity, you cannot isolate any member of the body from the others and retain life. So too the church is alive in Christ by its diversity in unity. Now this is not the church today. The church tends to be middle class or lower class or upper class, it tends to represent a particular tenant of the community, it no longer has a diversity of peoples and talents within it. In verses fifteen through seventeen Paul calls attention to the inescapable necessity in the human body. Life is only possible because of this diversity. The foot cannot be the sum total of the body any more than the hand or the ear nor the eye. A living body is inconceivable apart from community, so too is the family. So too is the church, God does make us in the family a rubber stamp of one another! And this is what some people want. But it cannot be. If as too common in our time a church is a collection of people of similar abilities and social status it is less a true church for them. It is a weakness in the modern church that this is too often the case. The church is then more a club than a church. Differing functions and natures make for a common life, a unity in Christ as his people rather than a congenial club or get together. Just as a body with a single organ is an impossibility so too is a church lacking in diversity. [00:19:51]
As Leon Morris commented and I quote...
As Leon Morris commented and I quote: “Diversity is not an accidental attribute of the body. It is of its very essence. No one member is to be expected as the body. It takes many members to make up one body.” Unquote. This unity and diversity is God’s purpose and ordination. As Paul states it in verse eighteen ‘but now hath God set the members, every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him’. God the creator can do and ordain whatever He pleases and this unity and diversity in the Human body as in the church is His purpose and ordination. To overlook God’s purpose can lead us to work against it. And the church then becomes increasingly a social club rather than Christ’s new human race. I recall vividly oh, about sixty or more years ago this very fine pastor with a congregation in New York City who found that increasingly there were many people in the neighborhood who were very poor. Backward economically, many of them immigrants. He went out of his way to round up a great many of them, especially children who were playing and urged them to go to Sunday school and church. It created a sensation in that wealthy congregation and after it was over one of the wealthiest of the matrons there came up to him and told him ‘Doctor so-and-so, I was sitting in my usual place and I could distinctly detect an odor!’ and he said yes, it was the odor of sanctity. Well, we can perhaps best understand the differences between individualism and Christian personhood by recalling the story of King Ahab and Naboth. King Ahab as an individualist in our modern sense wanted his will done irrespective of God or man, of either social or personal consequences. The price he offered Naboth for his vineyard may have been very well a good one. It probably was a high price. Naboth however was mindful of God’s law and of his duty to his ancestors and descendants and he refused to sell his land. Naboth was no less a person than Ahab, nay even more so because he was fully aware of and faithful to his duty to God and to man, to his ancestors and to his descendants. Modern individualists are less persons because their anarchist preoccupation with their own demands depersonalizes them and reduces them to their appetites. No church can exist on so narrow and egocentric a premise. It is a sorry fact that after all these centuries we still need Paul’s instruction on this matter. Let us pray. [00:25:13]
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word...
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee that Thy word is truth and Thy word is a healing correcting renewing power. Grant Oh Lord that in faithfulness to Thy word we grow in grace, grow in our fellowship one with another, grow in our understanding of Thy word. Grant us this we beseech Thee in Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?
[Man speaking] Rugged individualism is has been such a part of America from the Founding Fathers on…[Rushdoony interrupts and asks to repeat] Rugged individualism, with the puritans and pilgrims coming to America, the individualists with the pioneers on wagons and people who came out here to the West Coast, can you comment on the role of rugged individualism and how that has sometimes contrasted with the individual Christian spirit in America.
[Rushdoony] Yes, we project into the past our own thinking and our own ideas of this century. And we call the pioneer spirit rugged individualism. That’s not an accurate term. What the pioneers represented was a number of things, for example, before they moved west they accumulated two years capitol. They knew for example from the earliest days when they migrated into the middle west or into Kentucky and Tennessee, that they were not going to go there and make a living immediately. It would take time to clear the land, time to plant, time to wait for a harvest. Two years capitol. Then they knew they could not do it alone so they’d go out on a wagon train of peoples, they would work together before they embarked on that move west. They made sure they had a variety of peoples who could perform a variety of tasks. A Cooper, a tinsmith, a blacksmith, you name it, they knew they could not do everything themselves so it was a company of men who went out. And they went out prepared to work hard for two years before they could be productive. Now that is not rugged individualism, it is a community spirit. Are there any other questions or comments? [00:29:00]
We need to recognize that our age has deformities of...
We need to recognize that our age has deformities of considerable character. We have come to think of things as normal that are really abnormal. For example, I’ve often mentioned the fact that one of the things regarded as normal, and there are textbooks on the subject that departments of education make required reading for all perspective teachers, on adolescence. As though it were an aspect of human development. But adolescence only exists in times of degeneracy. In normal times when children hit their teens they are most imitative of their adults because they feel the approach of maturity and they want to be like their parents. But when you create a false maturity you are going to have a false immaturity, so today we have a warped perspective both as to what maturity is and what the teen years are. So if you go from one area of life to another you find our perspective is warped yet we think it is natural. We think we have a right to be rebellious at a particular point. That’s nonsense! Instead of seeking maturity our culture seeks perpetual immaturity. It’s been said very aptly some years ago that what we’ve seen in this century is perpetual war for perpetual peace. We go to war whether it is a limited police action or whatever for the wrong reasons because we see the problem falsely so perpetual war for perpetual peace. [00:31:50]
And in every area we aggravate the problem with our...
And in every area we aggravate the problem with our false solutions. This is why Paul’s comments in Corinthians are so important because here we have the very word of God as a corrective to a collapsing culture, whether at the time of Rome or the Renaissance or today. This is why because of our cultural situation Corinthians is so very, very important. Yes?
[Man speaking] It’s interesting that the apostle Paul says that God has made different parts of the body, implying some sort of special creation, the eye, the ear, the hand, one of the tenants of evolution has always been that there is a gradual development of beings over time, where they develop eyes, ears, flippers, that sort of thing. All of nature has either single celled creatures or multiple cell creatures; there are no two cell, three cell, four cell creatures. And even in the single cell have certain separate parts of their body all showing special creation by God.
[Rushdoony] Darwinism has led to a leveling. This is why in the early years of Darwinism it was spelled as though the lower classes had no rights because they were to be eliminated. And social Darwinists such as Andrew Carnegie, well he could personally be very friendly to the working men, was totally ruthless as the owner of the properties in denying them a decent wage. They were people to be eliminated; they did not have a right to improve their lot as he saw it. So social Darwin is very pervasive in our culture, it requires a leveling, it does not believe in true diversity. Any other questions or comments? [00:34:29]
If not let us conclude with prayer...
If not let us conclude with prayer. Oh Lord our God we give thanks unto Thee for the clarity of Thy word. Give us hearing eyes and hearing ears that we may see hear and obey. That we might indeed conform ourselves and our culture, our times, our churches, our families, to Thy word, to Thy spirit. And by Thy grace become a beacon light of grace to all the world. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.