Friday, February 1, 2008

Homogeneous Principle

Aubrey Malphurs (Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century) believes in the “homogeneous principle” for Churches -- that is, grouping people by culture -- a view that originated with Donald McGavran. He considers that “singles tend to prefer to meet with other singles ... The same is true of couples”. This applies, therefore, to “ethnic peoples” (Malphurs A 1998:179). But did he consider that e.g. singles or couples of different ethnic groups might group together? Malphurs considers that it all comes down to the changes people are willing to make (or not) to their "values", but that people resist such changes (:180). And here, perhaps, lies the problem. It is values that separate. But the desire to worship -- the desire to love -- the desire to minister to each other unites. In my view, NON-homogeneity of various kinds is a litmus test of spiritual health in a Church. QUESTION: How would NON-homogeneity (heterogeneity) indicate spiritual health (or otherwise)?


Stephen said...

I couldn't agree more with your diagnosis of what true church health looks like.

Thomas Scarborough said...

Thanks, Steve. I myself minister in a Church which has no majority culture. This is such a joy and enrichment to us all, and there are various reasons why I endorse this (maybe for another post). I first became aware of McGavran's doctrine at Fuller Theological Seminary. At first, in fact, without knowing McGavran’s doctrine, I saw it applied at Fuller’s All-Seminary Chapel, and at some Churches in the USA. It had me quite baffled. I couldn't work out what this was.