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A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God's Design for Life Together Paperback – August 30, 2016
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Fifty years from now, pastors, scholars, and Christians from a wide variety of denominations will look back say, “God used A Fellowship of Differents to change the church in America!” This is the most important book you may ever read outside of the Bible. The staff of Transformation Church will be reading this phenomenal book. -- Derwin L. Gray, lead pastor of Transformation Church; author, Limitless Life
I love this book! It’s the theological mac to my social-psychological cheese. The pursuit of unity in the midst of difference is a trek across a minefield. With each step, we must contend with challenges that threaten to send us running back to the “safety” of similar others. That’s why I’m so thankful for A Fellowship of Differents. McKnight draws from Paul’s letters to give readers the robust foundation and action steps needed to keep pursuing unity at all costs. -- Christena Cleveland, author Disunity in Christ; associate professor of reconciliation studies, Bethel University
For over twenty-five years I’ve served as a church planter and pastor of churches that wrestled with being pots of stew (or “salad bowls,” as Scot McKnight would put it). Pastors in my situation found ourselves ---sometimes unwittingly --- in conflict with the so-called “homogenous unit principle,” that highly pragmatic perspective at work in megachurches whose explosive growth had many of us drooling and sitting at the feet of CEO-pastors. Yet I craved something else: a resource to encourage and challenge us from the Scriptures, affirming our work among people of various backgrounds, different races, ethnicities, genders, and economic groups. McKnight has blended his expertise in the NT and his passion as a life-long participant in the church to address just about every topic we can imagine! I enthusiastically recommend this book! -- Rev. Dennis R. Edwards, PhD, senior pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and settle into this timely, provocative, and challenging book on what it means to be the church. McKnight’s conversational style and his perceptive insights to American Christian culture combine with his expert analysis of Scripture to illuminate God’s design for Christian fellowship. An essential read for all who long for the church to live out its calling. -- Lynn Cohick, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
A Fellowship of Differents echoes God’s plea for true community: for the church to become the real deal embracing all of God’s different kinds of people, to unite in a “wild revolution of equality” through Him, to bring visibility to the otherwise invisible. Most importantly, this book shows us how true unity is the only way to achieve Jesus’ heart for his bride, the church. -- Bruxy Cavey, author of bestseller The End of Religion; teaching pastor at The Meeting House
At a moment when so many are questioning what the church is and wondering if it even matters, McKnight’s claim --- that the way we follow Jesus is shaped by our local church more than any other source --- is a bold, prophetic, and compelling idea. Reading this book gave me a new vision for what my church is and what it could be. It was nothing short of a love affair with Jesus’ bride all over again. -- John Mark Comer, Pastor of Teaching and Vision, Bridgetown: A Jesus Church
A Fellowship of Differents is an impressive achievement: it puts the church in conversation with today’s most difficult differences and differents --- and the church comes out making sense. Scot McKnight’s work is precisely in step with Jesus’ famous words: “I will build my church.” We need this book because all of us different people in the modern church are the ones Jesus has trusted with the keys to the kingdom! -- Anglican Bishop Todd Hunter, author, Giving Church Another Chance
Ever wonder what Paul would say to the Church today? This is it. Scot McKnight has captured the mind and heart of our beloved apostle, who spent his whole life pursuing one dream, preaching one gospel, sacrificing everything for one beautiful vision: that all people would believe in the Lord because the church --- this strange collection of humanity united by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit for one purpose --- is the very body of Christ. -- Rodney Reeves, professor of biblical studies, Southwest Baptist University
One of my life values is that uniqueness is better than conformity, firmly believing (though I realize this is strong) that conformity only leads to death. My work with church leaders shows me that healthy thriving churches are not only places of diversity, but they love that about themselves. A Fellowship of Differents will feel like a commendation to churches who already live in this tension, and like a loving and prophetic intervention for those who wrongly worship the god of sameness. -- Mark Oestreicher, partner, The Youth Cartel; Author, Hopecasting
Scot McKnight applies a professor’s mind with a pastor’s heart to one of the greatest enemies of God’s plan for his church: disunity. Instead of being a “salad bowl” fellowship of difference and differents, we’ve segregated ourselves into homogeneous groups so remote that we are virtually invisible to each another. The author doesn’t stop by describing this inconvenient truth, but identifies six themes of the Christian life that, when implemented in the church by God’s grace, will help us to love one another and flourish as one people of God. No Christ-follower who cares about the beauty of Christ’s bride, the church, should miss this masterful guide to creating a fellowship of differents! -- Dr. E Andrew McQuitty, senior pastor of Irving Bible Church, author of Notes from the Valley
The local church certainly has its failings and therefore, its critics. Most critics are just angry and few are helpful. Scot McKnight loves the local church and because he loves the local church, his words of criticism don’t wound as much as they remind us – of who we once were, of who we’re called to be, and who we can yet become. Like a parent showing a child the child’s baby picture, Scot McKnight, in his book, A Fellowship of Differents, calls us back to the original dreams of fellowship and transformational love Jesus first intended for us – and still intends for us now. -- Mike Glenn, Senior Pastor, Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, TN
In the context of a rapidly changing world, our ecclesiology must go deeper. In a winsome manner, Scot McKnight brings the teachings of the apostle Paul to life so that we may rediscover what the church is supposed to be. A Fellowship of Differents provides a hopeful and an applicable ecclesiology for the twenty-first century that provides insight into the burden and joy of being the church. -- Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism; author of The Next Evangelicalism --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Scot McKnight (PhD, Nottingham) is the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is the author of more than fifty books, including the award-winning The Jesus Creed as well as The King Jesus Gospel, A Fellowship of Differents, One.Life, The Blue Parakeet, and Kingdom Conspiracy.
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Community is not about conformity toward sameness. It is according to popular author, Scot McKnight, a "fellowship of differents." Using the metaphor of a salad bowl, McKnight argues passionately that the Church should look like a "salad" of different tastes, different ingredients, and different mixes. In fact, the Church is "God's world changing social experiment" for bringing all sorts of different people together. Differences are not to be despised but welcomed. Alternatives should be celebrated. This refers to not only gender or ethnicities but also status changes like widows and widowers.
I especially like McKnight's presentation of Pauline theology throughout the book that transcends the work of others I have examined to date. McKnight's research on the life of Paul and the house churches he established is clearly presented throughout the book to show how this is not a new idea but one marked by a counter-cultural way of relating to others which Paul and the early house churches were known for. In order to facilitate the fellowship of differences, McKnight proposes six ideas to keep different people together.
This book is a wonderful contribution to how a "third way" can be realized, to give a fresh breeze of hope for the weary and a renewed sense of purpose in accepting one another not simply because we are different, but because we are all in Christ. There is no single common denominator than to build the church on Christ.
And the diversity he tackles is not just ethnic diversity, though that's his strongest argument. He challenges every Christian to examine their routines to see how we're trusting the routine more than we are God. Some thoughts are fleshed out better than others, but all-in-all, a great book.
The Groom must be proud of the way this book hopes for His bride - warts and all.