A Theological and Biblical Foundation of Multi-Ethnic Ministry

It is God’s Promise.

The multi-ethnic church/people of God is what is promised to Abraham, demonstrated at Pentecost, and fulfilled in heaven. God’s Kingdom is to come and His will done on earth as in heaven. There is one people of God, the children of Abraham by faith, and anyone may call on the name of the Lord and be saved. In the Great Commission, Jesus promises to be with his disciples as they make disciples from all ethnicities. The promise of God is that all may call on Him and from all will He call His people. (Gen. 12:1-3, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4; Gal. 3:8; Acts 2; Ps. 87; Rev. 7:9; Matt. 6:10; Gal. 3:7; John 3:16; Rom. 10:13; Joel 2:32; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)

It follows God’s Precedent.

God is the God of all people, justifying based upon faith, not ethnicity, culture, nor any human works. He has made Himself known to everyone. Not only Hebrews left Egypt to follow God. God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans, and in the genealogy of Jesus are Tamar the Canaanite, Rahab the Canaanite, and Ruth the Moabite. God calls prophets to minister to foreign peoples, called prophets who were not of the nation of Israel, and called prophets of both genders. God offers his love and salvation to the whole world, all may call upon his name for salvation, and in Christ become children of God. Through God’s self-revelation, Savior, prophets we see God the Father at work calling a people to Himself from all of humanity. (Gen. 15:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Eccl. 3:11; Rom. 1:19-20; Ex. 12:38; Gen. 11:31-12:2; Matt. 1:1-17; Daniel; Jonah; Gen. 14:18-20; Num. 22-24; Ex. 3:1, 18:1, 15:20-21, Judges 4:4; Rom. 3:28-30, 10:13; Joel 2:32; John 3:16; 1 John 4:14; Gal. 3:26-28)

It was Jesus Pattern.

Jesus does the same work that He sees the Father doing. Although Jesus said he was sent to the house of Israel and his twelve apostles were all Jewish males from Galilee, he ministered to Canaanites, Samaritans, Romans, in the Gerasenes, to women and men, children and aged, the rich and the poor, the upper class and the outcasts. People believed in Jesus from among all these groups. Jesus ministers to all people. (John 5:19-20; Matt. 15:22-28; John 4:1-26; Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 8:26-39; 8:1-3; Mark 10:14; Luke 2:22-38; Mark 10:17-27; John 3:1-21; Matt. 8:1-4; John 19:38-39)

It is the Holy Spirit’s Power and Progression for ministry.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit the good news spread from Jerusalem to the whole world. The Church began with Jewish disciples, and soon included Jews from many regions, languages, and cultures. The gospel and evidence of the Spirit spread to Samaria and to an Ethiopian by Philip. The Apostle Peter received a vision from God to share the good news to God-fearing Romans, who in turn received the Holy Spirit. God calls the Apostle Paul at his salvation to be the instrument to proclaim God’s name to Jews, gentiles and the whole world, including to people of mixed ethnicity, such as Timothy. Through the unity of the Spirit all people are called to God to worship and minister together as one people. (Acts 1:8, 2:5-12, 2:42, 6:1-7, 8:1-40, 10:1-48, 9:1-16; Rom. 15:18-20; Acts 16:1-3, 13:1, 14:1, 5:14; 1 Cor. 7:17-23; Jam. 2:1-13; Col. 3:11-12; 1 Pet. 2:9; Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35; Eph. 4:3-6)

It is how the Church is Pictured.

Jesus’ command is to go and make disciples of all ethnicities, and it is how the Church multiplied, becoming a new united people of God. The New Testament Church was comprised of people of different ethnicities, cultures, genders, and social level, all using their gifts to serve the Lord. Not every local congregation will achieve diversity in every way, because not all geographies are diverse in every way, but before the throne of God will be people from every ethnicity, tribe, people, and language. (Matt. 28:18-20; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:5-42, 6:1-7, 9:36-40, 13:1, 16:1-3, 18:26, 21:8-9; Rom. 16:3-7; 1 Cor. 7:17-23; Gal. 3:28-29; Eph. 4:1-6; Col. 3:1-14; Philemon; James 2:1-13; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 7:9)

It displays God’s Peace.

Unity is a consistent command of Scripture to God’s people. In the Church, the power of Jesus’ sacrifice has torn down the dividing walls between ethnicities, cultures, socioeconomic status, and genders, and he has given us the ministry of reconciliation, which is: for God’s people to live in unity with each other, to appeal to people to be reconciled to God, and, while not being reconciled to the world, to live in the world in such a way that the peace of God allows godliness and holiness to grow. (Ps. 133:1; John 17:23; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 1:4-14, 4:3, 4:13; Col. 3:1-14; Rom. 5:11, 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:16-21; Rom. 1:16, 2:9-10, 3:22, 10:12; Gal. 2:14, 3:26-29; Eph. 2:10-16; Col. 3:11; 1 John 2:15; John 17:15-18; 1 Tim. 2:1-7)

On this basis, we, Oakdale Wesleyan Church, claim this promise of God, and follow in the path and power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to bring the gospel of salvation and the ministry of reconciliation to all humanity, so that God’s people, as pictured in heaven, may be formed here on earth in the Church.

More information can be found at The Multi-Ethnic Ministry page of The Wesleyan Church.