Churches should be purple! What is a purple church?
In the previous post, we learned that a purple church is not colorblind. We have been studying the purple church, as Paul describes it in Galatians 3:26-28. The next phrase Paul uses to describe the purple church is that it is neither slave nor free. Slavery was a massive institution in the Greco-Roman Empire, with numbers of slaves similar to or greater than those in our own country’s history. Slavery, therefore, affected the church. In the church, as Paul writes in another letter Philemon (which we studied previously in a couple series of posts starting here), slaves were becoming Christians, as were their owners. What then? Paul teaches in Philemon and here in Galatians that the class distinction between the two, in God’s eyes, is false. There is no social distinction in Christ, as if some people are lower and others are higher. We are all equally loved and valued in God’s eyes, no matter what social class the world creates and uses to try to segment and divide us.
How about you? Are you upper class, lower class, or middle class? Doesn’t matter in a church family, because we are all one in Christ. This is one reason I love how Faith Church traditionally celebrates communion, with rows of people kneeling together at the communion rail, taking the elements in unison, as a visual reminder that before Christ we are the same. In the USA, our class system is primarily economic, but in the church we should not abide by the class system. We read about this in the book of Acts where those with extra properties and possessions sold them to help those in the church in need (see Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-37, where we read, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”)
In a purple church, all social distinctions disappear into one family.
The final phrase Paul uses to describe the purple church in Galatians 3:26-28 continues this theme of oneness, when he writes that in Christ there is neither male nor female. This is a curious one, because we can look around and see the males and females among us. It is obvious.
So what is Paul talking about when he says in Christ there is neither male nor female? Is Paul suggesting that when our bodies are resurrected, they become androgynous? No! Again, the genders, like ethnicities (which we studied in the previous post), are a wonderful thing. Maleness is a wonderful thing in God’s eyes. Femaleness is a wonderful thing in God’s eyes. He created both, and therefore both are good. Just because there are differences between the two doesn’t mean that one is better or worse, no matter how much society tries to tell us that. What Paul states clearly is that we are equally loved by God.
So when it comes to ethnic, social and gender distinctions, all are one in Christ. The church, then, is a place where are all one in Christ. That teaching has specific ramifications for a church family, doesn’t it? Especially in a culture that seems bent on creating distinctions. Paul chose three category distinctions that were very much hot topics in his day. As he would, because he is writing to people in his day. What we do, then, is strive to apply the principlet to the category distinctions that are prevalent in our day. Check back to the next post, as we’ll attempt to apply the principle to church in our day.