by James Winderlich

The eighth commandment instructs us that what we believe and say about other people, how we represent them, matters to God. This instruction includes how we represent people’s cultural diversity.

St Peter understood this and said, ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts people from every nation who fear him and do what is right’ (Acts 10:34,35 NRSV).

Faith in Jesus Christ shapes and guides our relationships in the LCANZ. Our biblical and theological tradition brings an extreme richness to our perspectives concerning cultural diversity because they are grounded in Jesus’ service to us and all people. Our intercultural relationships are inspired, Spirit-in-breathed, by the God who plants and nurtures Christ-given life among diverse people. This is evident over and over in the LCANZ’s historical and contemporary stories.


The book of Acts provides ample evidence of how God reversed the effects of Babel (Genesis 11) to unite diverse people. In Acts 1:8 that vision is clearly stated, ‘You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’.

The Apostles needed to leave Jerusalem for the message and gift of life in Jesus Christ to reach Samaria and the ends of the earth. Leaving Jerusalem, with all of its cultural and social privileges, also meant leaving behind what Jesus’ followers feared and resented most in people whom they had come to regard as their foreign ‘others’.

In Acts 8 this vision takes shape, especially as it happened against the background of Saul’s culture-preserving persecution of Jesus’ followers. But the Holy Spirit transformed St Peter’s cultural perspectives when he was welcomed and embraced by the gentile Cornelius and his household (Acts 10).


Australian Lutheran College (ALC) works with the LCANZ in its many culturally diverse ministry contexts. ALC prepares and supports pastors and lay workers from diverse cultural backgrounds to serve in equally culturally diverse Lutheran congregations across the whole church. The college provides training for Indigenous Australian pastors and evangelists by sending teaching staff to Australia’s western desert communities, and the college works with the LCANZ’s partners in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asia-Pacific communities to prepare people for serving communities from within their own culture.

Cultural diversity should never lead us to bear false witness and in doing so sin against people. Instead, the Holy Spirit calls us to leave, to give up the things that we fear in people so that the gospel of Jesus Christ might be heard and received in its richness, fulness and life. Australian Lutheran College partners with the LCANZ in that mission.

Would you like us to support you as you seek to serve culturally diverse people in your own contexts? Contact us via email at and ask for that help.

Pastor James Winderlich is Principal of Australian Lutheran College.

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