Thoughts on Liberating the Church from the Babylonian Captivity of Relevance

Is it possible that the Church has become another piece of cultural furniture in its pursuit of relevance? It’s one thing to speak to the culture in terms which it understands but it’s an entirely different thing to speak to the culture on the terms it will accept. The former is contextualization, the latter is capitulation. Perhaps it’s time to replace our fascination with the trendy with a confident commitment to the timelessness of truth.

But Pastor, does everyone have to do church the way Presbyterians do church?

I am convinced that Presbyterians, like all churches, fall short of God’s design for His church as she seeks to be a movement of the Kingdom of God, and I am equally assured that Presbyterians have much to learn from others in the Body of Christ. Nevertheless, methods are never neutral; they always ultimately impact the message. Furthermore it must be remembered that the end does not justify the means. On the contrary, the means actually and ultimately will determine the end.  The adiophara i.e. “things indifferent” may all be used in doing church but while there are “indifferent things,” the use of things are never indifferent.  The question is not do we “do church” like Presbyterians but do Presbyterians as well as all who name Christ “do church” as Christ commands? The Message (Christ-centered, Gospel-saturated, Spirit-filled), the Ministry (making Disciples who do God-centered worship and who are Gospel-driven Christ followers), the Means (expository preaching, Gospel deeds of love and mercy and justice, fellowship and above all Heaven assaulting intercessory prayer.)

Now we are ready to contextualize in the terms that the culture can understand. In other words, there is something called by Christ His Church and it does not matter if it is Kansas or Kenya, 800 A.D. or 2000 A.D. that Church Christ has promised to build and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. When that transcendent Church is embraced with confidence, we will be ready to land it in our generation.

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