Multiculturalism and the gospel (and some other issues)


Brian Edgar
Director of Public Theology
Australian Evangelical Alliance

The community tensions exposed by the Cronulla experience remain even though the worst of the disturbances have ceased. Although newspaper headlines are no longer full of descriptions of riots the issues that have come to the fore are not dealt with quickly or easily.

It is important for Christians to continue to reflect on the experience and there is one simple reason for re-affirming multiculturalism: it is an essential part of the gospel.

It would now be a good time for pastors to teach, and for churches to reaffirm the value of different cultures. This edition of Faith and Community provides a number of resources for those who wish to think, teach or preach theologically about Australia’s multicultural, multi-religious society.

You will find below the statement ‘A Multicultural Vision for the Church’ prepared by the Multicultural Network, which links churches engaged in multicultural ministry and mission, as well as a piece prepared by me on ‘Christ and Multiculturalism’. Both make the claim that multiculturalism is part of the gospel. On the closely related issue of relating to other faiths there is an article by David Claydon, a link to a statement about Christian-Muslim relationships and information about several useful books.

So, there is a lot about multiculturalism but, as indicated, there are other issues as well. In continuing to promote other material which relates the gospel to public issues you would do well to consider getting hold of the latest material from the Zadok Institute, if you are interested in the emerging church, or the latest edition of Colloquium if you want to read about virtual theology.

There are also one or two other articles of interest, especially Paul Oslington’s lecture on the way that theology can relate to economics which appears in St Mark’s review. In a previous edition of ‘Faith and Community’ there was an interesting article on how theology has become alienated from law, and Oslington’s article demonstrates the same for the relationship between economics and theology. This separation of faith and life is one of the main concerns that ‘Faith and Community’ addresses, and this article is a most helpful piece for anyone concerned generally about the specialisation which has led to alienation. You will find further information below.