so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 3:10 NASB)
The church is God’s theatre to heaven and earth. Without embracing God’s full expression on this earth, the church with all its varied expressions, we will never understand God’s multifaceted wisdom.
The Greek word for manifold is (polupoikilos) which expressed the idea of multifaceted. It was used to represent an intricate embroidery of flowers of many colors. In the New Testament, it is was used to express “most varied” or “many-sided.” Every believer in Christ has a theology. All Christians need to know what they believe and why they believe it, yet those who write systematic theology need to understand their limitations. They need to grasp their need for other believers, especially those with whom they may not agree. Theologically speaking, they may be producing a bouquet of flowers of only one color.
Of course, we should try to clarify what we believe based on the Word of God, yet we all know in part (1 Corinthians 13:9). God has designed the Body of Christ so that no one group has a corner on the market of truth. Theology always has to be within the limits of orthodox Christian thought, but if it is, to discard it, is to take a flower out of the bouquet of God’s earthly expression. As Augustine said, “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
Maybe the reason we have no unity or experience no liberty is that we lack charity for others in the Church. If we never understand our need for other Christians not like us, we will never have the manifold wisdom of God.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing