A critique of the homogeneous unit principle in light of a practical theology perspective
According to McGavran's theory, people "like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic and class barriers"; therefore, they should not be forced to do so. Instead, churches are encouraged to grow along racial, linguistic, or class lines. The emphasis is on evangelism but this includes both church planting and church renewal. The HUP theory is presented as a real phenomenon which is characteristic of much church development. Its reality as a natural human dynamic is supported with good anthropological data. The debate that has surrounded this controversial perspective is examined both in its historical and current context. Here the HUP theory with regard to sanctification is found to be inadequate and with regard to addressing the moral responsibility of the church in challenging racism is also inadequate. The "mutual acceptance" philosophy, an alternative for church development and mission is presented. The key Scripture of Ephesians 2 is examined in detail. A balance of both sanctification and moral responsibility is formulated. Ethnic churches will continue to be developed by the natural causes of sociological elements; but, the church at large, however, must pursue its theological responsibility of promoting a church that functions beyond such limitations - Christians must accept each other and express that acceptance in koinonia. Finally, the "mutual acceptance" philosophy is applied both to the church situation and to missions as a Biblically responsible approach to bringing the Gospel to the world. Several models are presented for churches in different situations and circumstances. Real examples of churches making an impact on the problem of racism and need for biblical koinonia beyond the limits of ethnicity are examined and joined with creative suggestions for church development.