Unity in diversity

May 24, 2024 blog post by Prof. Dr. Gert Kwakkel share this article:

‘Unity in diversity’ is the subtitle that follows the main description of the theme of our upcoming FEET conference, which will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 23-27 August 2024. The conference has been prepared in close cooperation with the European Evangelical Alliance. Its main theme is: Evangelical Identity in Europa Today.

Diversity is an outstanding feature of the Christian church, ever since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. On that day, three thousand Jews and proselytes joined the ranks of Jesus’s disciples. They were from every nation under heaven, born and raised in places as distant from each other as Rome and Persia. Their diversity manifested itself in a wide range of native languages, which they were accustomed to use.

Since God’s intervention to stop the construction of the Tower of Babel, linguistic differences have impeded human communication and cooperation. At Pentecost, suddenly this problem was over when the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to speak about the mighty acts of God in a substantial number of different languages, which they had never learned before. All those attending could hear and perfectly understand the good news of Jesus Christ in their own languages.

It is true, the differences between the languages did not disappear once for all on that day. However, they do not impede the unity of Christians anymore. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit showed that he has the power to overcome our differences. He is able to accommodate diversity among Jesus’s disciples and assign a useful function to it. The secret of this lies in the proclamation of the mighty deeds of God through Jesus Christ. Those who accept this message will no longer strive for their own name and glory, as our ancestor in Babel did. In humility, they will call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

Hopefully, we will experience this unity in diversity during our conference in Prague. Inevitably, several participants will have to struggle with language barriers. Still, the message that binds us together will be one and the same.

Gert Kwakkel
Professor of Old Testament, Faculté Jean Calvin, Theologische Universiteit Utrecht Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians

PS: Do not forget to register for the conference, as soon as possible. After 31 May, prices will be higher.

Prof. Dr. Gert Kwakkel