Thursday, July 23

A Fellowship of Differents by Scot McKnight

In his newest book, A Fellowship of Differents, Scot McKnight takes a look at what the church is supposed to be. To find his answer he turns to the letters by the Apostle Paul. For many people today church is a place to go on Sundays to sing some worship music, hear a sermon, and partake in communion. Usually that church is composed of people very similar to us, usually sharing in the same culture. In looking through Paul’s letters, Scot proposes that the church is meant to be something else. The church in the New Testament is composed of a variety of people from different areas and different cultures, they are a group of differents, but today the church is often composed of a fellowship of those who are alike.

Early on Scot uses the example of a salad, writing that the best salads have a variety of pieces and flavors that complement each other. It’s more than just a lot of lettuce and a couple pieces of vegetables and smothering it with the singular flavor of ranch dressing. Growth and learning does not happen when you are always around people exactly like you, instead it happens when you are around those who are different.

In his explanation of this, Scot writes the following bit, which really stuck with me, “We should see different socioeconomic groups at a church. Do we? We should see different races at church. Do we? We should see different cultures at church. Do we?” And he goes on, asking if we differences between people. Then he writes, “…we’ve made the church into the American dream for our own ethnic group with the same set of convictions about everything. No one else feels welcome. What Jesus and the apostles taught was that you were welcomed because the church welcomed all to the table” (emphasis not added).

Throughout the rest of the book Scot covers a wide variety of topics, from communion, to sexuality, to the relation of church and politics, to eschatology. With each topic it is obvious that he has brought a wealth of research and learning. His words are often challenging and thought provoking. Even if you find yourself disagreeing with some of his interpretations, I found that Scot still writes with a grace that many have not yet learned how to use.

While he occasionally gets repetitive, it does not pull away from the central theme of the book. There were many times throughout reading this book that I had to put it down and think through what he proposed. While I received a digital copy for review, I see myself acquiring a physical copy in the near future so that I can lend it out to friends and family. It’s the sort of book that when you finish it you’ll want to talk it over with other people.

4.5/5 Stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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