Our world is facing increasing hostilities. Political and cultural differences rage, even among people who otherwise show goodwill. And the church is no stranger to extreme polarization, theological backbiting, and political squabbling. Jesus’s prayer in John 17—that the church be one as he and the Father are one—seems increasingly unattainable.
But what if Scripture actually provides the key for thinking about unity in diversity?
In Uncommon Unity: Wisdom for the Church in an Age of Division, Richard Lints explores the nature of diversity and how Christians can think more clearly about unity in an increasingly polarized age. Drawing on theological, historical, and sociological resources, Lints exposes problems with the inclusion narrative of democracy and shows a better way forward for fostering unity in the midst of extreme diversity. If we are to think rightly about diversity, wisdom is required for the church in our late modern world. Through wisdom, Christians can display real unity in diversity and bear witness of the God who made them for himself as diverse members of his one body.
Readers of Uncommon Unity will be heartened that Scripture and Christian tradition provide an antidote to division.
A crucial book.
—Timothy Keller, from the foreword
The writings of Richard Lints invariably display, within the contours of orthodoxy, fresh thought and analysis. This book is no exception. At a time when the siren demands of both unity and diversity are threatening to destroy the credibility of democracy itself, Lints outlines the patterns of unity and diversity within Scripture, and argues convincingly that these patterns ought to undergo some adaptation as they confront the complexities of our broken world. Nevertheless, it is the gospel itself that lays down the approaches to these tensions that our hearts desire. Highly recommended.
—D. A. Carson, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; president and co-founder of the Gospel Coalition
Confident that Christ’s kingdom out-narrates the distorted narratives of our age, Lints nevertheless recognizes that how we envision, tell and practice that story is conditioned by other stories we often just assume. Identifying and analyzing these different takes on unity and diversity for many years, he at last shares the fruit of his labors! Diving beneath the tiresome and polarizing rhetoric of the culture wars, this book gives us deeply informed, well-considered and timely insights that we desperately need.
—Michael Horton, Professor of Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
Richard Lints is senior consulting theologian, Redeemer City to City, New York City. He was formerly provost and Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He is the author of Progressive and Conservative Religious Ideologies, Identity and Idolatry, and The Fabric of Theology.