God’s great goal in all of history is to uphold and display the glory of his name for the enjoyment of his people from all nations.
If this is true—and I argue extensively that it is in chapter 1 of Let the Nations Be Glad, as well as in Desiring God (appendix 2 in the hardcover) and The Pleasures of God (chapter 4)—then a question worth addressing is this: How does God’s focus on the diversity of the peoples advance his purpose to be glorified in his creation?
It is an important question to answer for every generation, including our day when the apparent fears of some white Americans are receiving fresh media attention. Whether the fears are sparked by non-white Muslim refugees, Latino immigrants or African Americans protesting injustices, what seems to be missing among many Christians is a solid biblical conviction that ethnic diversity in the church is a beautiful thing, and part of God’s ultimate design for his people.
It is inconceivable to me that a Christian can have a Christ-exalting love for diversity in the church and be hostile toward diversity in the nation. The knee-jerk hostilities I see betray, it seems, a very thin veneer of politically correct tolerance of diversity, instead of a deep, biblically grounded, cross-centered exuberance over God’s plan to reconcile all nations in Christ.
Perhaps it will be helpful to ponder the reasons why God ordained ethnic diversity and the unified harmony of diverse ethnicities in the family of God. One diverse body. One chosen race. One royal priesthood. One holy nation. One treasured possession. One family. And all of this unity blood-bought. Christ did not die for this in vain.
What follows is a slight adaptation of the end of chapter 5 in Let the Nations Be Glad.
1. The Beauty of Unity in Diversity
First is the beauty and power of praise that comes from unity in diversity that is greater than that which comes from unity alone.
Psalm 96:3–4 connects the evangelizing of the peoples with the quality of praise that God deserves. “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.” Notice the word “for.” The extraordinary greatness of the praise that the Lord should receive is the ground and impetus of our mission to the nations.
I infer from this that the beauty and power of praise that will come to the Lord from the diversity of the nations are greater than the beauty and power that would come to him if the chorus of the redeemed were culturally uniform.