HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
VAN ECK, Ernest. Inclusivity as gospel. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2009, vol.65, n.1. ISSN 2072-8050.
In antiquity, group identity was based on cultural ethnicity. Groups used their ethnicity to define and delineate themselves as unique. Ethnicity was determined by characteristics like family (kinship), name, language, homeland, myths of common ancestry, customs, shared historical memories, phenotypical features, and religion. The Jewish temple religion and law-abiding Jews in the early church (as depicted in Acts and the congregations of Paul) also used their ethnic identity as argument for justifying the exclusion of other groups/ethnic peoples from the Temple and the early church, respectively. Jesus, Acts and Paul, on the contrary, proclaimed that ethnicity meant nothing when it comes to being in God's presence, being part of the early Christ-followers, or being part of any local (Pauline) congregation. For this reason, it can be concluded that the New Testament bears witness to an inclusive ecclesiology.
Keywords : etniese identiteit; inklusiewe ekklesiologie; kuturele identiteit; etnisiteitsteorieë; evangelie.