Globalization is becoming more and more the norm for societies throughout the globe. Individual cultures are being pushed closer and closer to an interdependence that overcomes nationalistic boundaries and cultural prejudices. Through this move toward globalization, the church of Jesus Christ must do an inventory of its evangelistic models, its own cultural prejudices, and its lack of intentional progress toward reflecting the command of Jesus to go to all nations. (Matthew 28:19)
According to Northouse (2012), ethnocentrism causes a nearsighted perspective that places an individual’s affiliations with a group at the center of their observations of others. (Kindle Locations 7170-7171) This perspective has the potential to have “adverse influences on positive intergroup relations” and tends to be highly pervasive. (Bizumic, 2012, p.887) This adverse influence can often result in prejudice and sometimes hostility where the extreme cases end in wars. (Bizumic, 2012, p. 887)
This is far from what Jesus desired when he commanded his followers to go and make disciples “of all nations”. (Matthew 28:19) Throughout his ministry, Jesus was consistently reaching over cultural divides, setting a non-ethnocentric example in a widely ethnocentric climate. (DaSilva, 2004) His conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4:7-26) is probably one of the most prominent examples of Jesus subverting cultural divides and extending love and acceptance, setting the example for his disciples before he commands them to do likewise.
Globalization is an opportunity for the Christian community to reevaluate its methods and mindsets and return to the example Jesus set. It is an opportunity to mature past ethnocentrism and reach a world in need. Globalization is an opportunity to interact with members of other cultures and grow in culturally acceptable relationships (Lee, 2010, p.285), opening wide the door to go and make disciples of all nations.
Bizumic, B., & Duckitt, J. (2012). What Is and Is Not Ethnocentrism? A Conceptual Analysis and Political Implications. Political Psychology, 33(6), 887–909.
Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: study Bible: English standard version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.
DeSilva, D. A. (2004). An introduction to the New Testament: contexts, methods & ministry formation. Downers Grove, Ill. : Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press ; Apollos.
Lee, B. (2010). Toward liberating interdependence: exploring an intercultural pedagogy. Religious Education, 105(3), pp. 283–298.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.