Assimilate What?

            Evangelism’s main goal is, “sharing the Gospel with those who do not yet confess Jesus Christ is Lord, to the end that they might enjoy all the benefits of our Lord Jesus Christ.[1]  However, once this has happened, a newly converted person then begins the lifelong process of being discipled in the midst of the church.  This happens as they join together in community around the Word and Sacraments.  The theology and understanding of assimilation simply covers the process, reason and ways that new Christians or new members are included into an already existing church body.
            It would be best before we pursue a theology of assimilation for us to understand exactly what is meant by the term assimilation.  Assimilation is the blending or fusing of minority groups into a more dominant society.[2]  In other words, it is the process of taking a minority group or a person and grafting them into a large dominant society.  In the case of our discussion, the minority group would constitute a new convert to the faith[3] or we could also apply this to the addition of a Christian to a church from another local church.[4]  Both the recently converted and the transfer Christian are then assimilated into a larger dominant society such as the local church body made up of fellow believers.
          In the upcoming blog postings we will be examining the doctrine of assimilation in connection to the local church body.  Enjoy the Assimilation Series...

[1] The Board for Evangelism Services, LCMS.
[2] Wikipedia, (January 30th of 2011)
[3] One could characterize this as Conversion Assimilation.  This kind of assimilation is grafting in a newly converted person into the theological and practical culture of an already existing church body.
[4] One could characterize this as Transfer Assimilation.  This kind of assimilation is grafting an already converted person into an new church body context.