Sometimes people tell Caine that they just want to go back to the early church as described in the Book of Acts. She finds this amusing and wonders, “Which [church] in particular?” You don’t have to look far in Paul’s epistles to find the apostle addressing some significant problems in the first churches. “That’s why I’m always very positive and I haven’t lost heart,” said Caine, “Even with what we are seeing across every stream of the church.”
Christine Caine: We Need One Another
The fact is that believers from different cultures and parts of the world need one another. Jethani and Caine agreed that it is essential for church leaders to expose themselves to other points of view, even if just through reading. The goal is not necessarily that people would change their views, but rather that they would gain a more accurate perspective and grow in humility.
Keeping a global perspective helps Caine not to get caught up in localized social media debates. She said, “There are plenty of people out there finding Jesus, being discipled, growing in their faith, and you can think what is happening right now in America is the only thing that is happening, and I’m just here to say, it’s not.”
Another benefit of learning from believers across the world is the ability to grow in wisdom regarding how to live in the body of Christ. “I’m having these conversations in Sweden,” said Caine, “I’m having them in South Africa, Indonesia, and South America, as much as I’m having them here in North America. And you almost want to put it all up on a screen and go, ‘Guys, the very thing you’re walking away from this other group on the other side of the world is saying, this is the answer!’”
But at the same time, Caine explained, one strategy might be a failure for believers in one community, but could benefit believers in another community. The same is true when it comes to accountability.
“What may be an expression of narcissism in one particular tradition may or may not be exactly the same in another tradition,” she said. “So saying, ‘This is the answer and this is the check and the balance,’ in all situations in all places in all cultures at all times I think can stop the movement of the church going forward as much as having no checks and balances and saying nothing matters. And those of us that are willing to wrestle in the middle hopefully will be able to find a way forward.”