I endorsed a new book, Intercultural Church: A Biblical Vision for an Age of Migration written by Safwat Adel Marzouk.
It is wonderful new book for those searching for how to be church in today’s world.
Intercultural Church: Book Endorsement
Safwat Marzouk offers a biblical vision for what it means to be an intercultural church, one that fosters just diversity, integrates different cultural articulations of faith and worship, and embodies an alternative to the politics of assimilation and segregation. A church that fosters intercultural identity learns how to embrace and celebrate difference, which in turn enriches its worship and ministry. While the church in North America might see migration as an opportunity to serve God’s kingdom by showing hospitality to the migrant and the alien, migration offers the church an opportunity to renew itself by rediscovering the biblical vision of the church as a diverse community. This biblical vision views cultural, linguistic, racial, and ethnic differences as gifts from God that can enrich the church’s worship, deepen the sense of fellowship in the church, and broaden the church’s witness to God’s reconciling mission in the world.
Today’s church faces the challenge of what it means to be church in the light of the ever-growing diversity of the population. This may entail advocacy work on behalf of the undocumented, asylum seekers, and refugees, but the church also faces the question of how to welcome the stranger, the migrant, and the refugee into the heart of the worshipping community. This may mean changing worship, leadership, or ministry styles to embrace diverse communities in the church’s neighborhood. Marzouk surveys numerous biblical texts from the early ancestor stories of Israel to the Prophets, to the Gospels and Acts, the letters of Paul, and Revelation. The stories introduce themes of welcoming strangers, living as aliens, playing host to outsiders, discovering true worship, and seeking common language for expressing faith. Discussion questions are provided to encourage conversation on this complex and important topic.
“Whether you sit in the pews or stand in the pulpit of your church, Safwat Marzouk introduces you to all the sojourners and settlers who inhabit the Bible. He creates a compelling proposal for the intercultural church–profound, provocative, and practical: a must-read in our politically polarized times.” —Ulrich Schmiedel, University of Edinburgh
“Immigrants and refugees bring fresh ideas and new ways of living that enrich our communities. Still, challenges arise as ethnicities, languages, and cultures collide. In such times, how do churches flourish in their witness to Jesus Christ? In Intercultural Church, Safwat Marzouk points toward intercultural ministry as the answer. He shows how an intercultural church worships and welcomes to become a church for today and for the future. Marzouk calls us to embrace diversity fully in order to become the prophetic church and the body of Christ. This is an important book for those who love the church and wish to engage in a living ministry.” —Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Earlham School of Religion
“In Intercultural Church, Safwat Marzouk calls the church to a posture of resistance against theologies and politics that suggest that there is not enough to go around by casting biblical visions of migration’s centrality in Christian faith. This compelling book points followers of Jesus to a more abundant and graceful conviction: God’s hopes for us, the path of the migrant, and the church’s future are intertwined.” —Eric Daniel Barreto, Princeton Theological Seminary
About the Author
Safwat Marzouk is associate professor of Old Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.He is an ordained member of the The Synod of the Nile and served as a pastor in Egypt. His background includes a context of interfaith dialogue among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. He is a contributor to The Huffington Post and the The Christian Century.