Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How Acts uses the Homogenous Unit Principle a bit differently

The Homogenous Unit Principle (HUP) teaches us that in general, people don't like to cross too many cultural gaps to become Christians. This means people will often feel more comfortable joining a church if the people there are from the same culture. Some people have subsequently tried to plant churches that only reach one type of person. For example, I knew someone who set out to plant a church for young professionals. He was from that culture, and was trying to attract people from the same culture. Some people don't like this approach because it creates churches based on one culture, instead of representing the diversity of the New Testament where Jews and Gentiles worshipped together.

I think that in the book of Acts, we do see implications of the Homogenous Unit Principle, but I also think its played out a little bit differently:
  1. Like HUP, we don't see the Gospel jump across huge cultural gaps as much as we see it jump over smaller gaps. 
  2. Unlike common HUP practice, God used bridging people to help the gospel jump these gaps, creating a diverse Church. Philip (a Greek-Jew) is a good example of a bridging person. Compared to a Hebraic Jew, Philip had more in common with Samaritans and the God-fearing Eunuch. God chose to use someone who was closer culturally to the target group to spread the gospel. This might not sound too convincing here, so please watch my video where I explain this much more clearly!
My conclusion is that God uses us to reach people who are 'like us, but different'. If we follow this principle, we get the best use out of HUP, we use it to actually create diverse churches, not mono-cultural ones.