In the 1950s, one’s identity was closely tied to religion. Parents would be more concerned if their child wanted to marry someone of a different faith than a different political party. Today the opposite is true. Political affiliation has become much more tightly connected to one’s identity. There are also surveys that show that people of different religions, like Muslims and Jews, are increasingly identifying as “evangelical” — possibly because they interpret the term to mean a devout believer or a member of a particular political movement.
As Christians, our primary identity should be who we are in Christ. Sadly, we don’t always see this on display in members of our churches. What does it mean to root our identity in Christ? If our identity in Christ profoundly shaped us, how would that impact the unity in our churches and the greater Body of Christ?
In this Evangelicals magazine edition, we discuss questions and discover answers about our Christian identity and unity in the Body of Christ. They are questions that the Church must grapple with in order to present a clear and compelling witness to the world.
In the cover article, Ed Stetzer and Andrew MacDonald discuss how culture wars have skewed evangelical identity and hindered unity. We are also reminded by Joanne Solis-Walker that unity (or togetherness) is oneness, not sameness (Page 18). Diversity in the Body of Christ is to be embraced as we hold tightly to the things that unite us, such as our love for God and our loyalty to the Bible.
Still there may be times when division is necessary. Leith Anderson writes about healthy division and harmful division, and indicates that we can foster unity even when we operate in different spaces with different callings (Page 20). One such example is how InterVarsity and Cru have chosen collaboration in ministry over competition (Page 23).
Our identity in Christ should drive the way we engage with other believers and with the world. Jesus prayed that all of his followers would be one “just as you [Father] are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).Download Magazine PDF