Monday, May 07, 2007

When Relevancy is Dangerous!

The Church: Different From the World
by A. W. Tozer

The church's mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different, rises with the degree in which she differs and sinks as the difference diminishes.

This is so fully and clearly taught in the Scriptures and so well illustrated in Church history that it is hard to see how we can miss it. But miss it we do, for we hear constantly that the Church must try to be as much like the world as possible, excepting, of course, where the world is too, too sinful....

Let us plant ourselves on the hill of Zion and invite the world to come over to us, but never under any circumstances will we go over to them. The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and the cross speaks of death and separation, never of compromise. No one ever compromised with a cross. The cross separated between the dead and the living. The timid and the fearful will cry "Extreme!" and they will be right. The cross is the essence of all that is extreme and final. The message of Christ is a call across a gulf from death to life, from sin to righteousness and from Satan to God. The Set of the Sail, 35,36

There is a fine line being walked today between being uniquely Christian and being uniquely worldly with Christian in the name! All in the name of relevancy-

I too want to be relevant in my ministry! But there have to be principles that we will never cross because if we don't have them and settle that fact now then we will 'cross over.' We complain about Christian singers who 'cross over'- it's time we be honest about Pastors and Churches that 'cross over.'

I like the fact that we have 'Cowboy Churches,' 'Biker Churches,' 'Skateboard Churches,' 'Surfer Churches,' etc. Those are fine as long as the culture and spirit of those distinctives do not prevail and overtake the Spirit of the Living Christ! It is still all about Him changing us into His image and us not changing the church into a distinctive or worldly image. If we yield to that then we become just like all other social clubs across the land! Social clubs are good and have their place but they don't change the heart of man!

The world still needs Jesus and His Church!


SpanishGoth said...

So what does change the 'heart of man'? Maybe it is not the heart that needs to be addressed, maybe it is the soul.

The heart is open to change on a whimsical notion, the soul is the very essence of being.

Of course, I could be wrong - it happens.....

Brad said...

I agree David. As I travel around the Globe, especially in non-Western cultures, I see how much people yearn for a real realtionship with Jesus Christ, which is different! They want to know the power of God and to see that it is more powerful than the gods they are presently serving. Like Samson, though, we don't even notice in the Western World when we are losing our power and effectiveness by playing with sin! As a result, the church ends up having a form of godliness but is powerless to deal with the forces of evil. Let us go for all God has, and serve Him in purity of heart, holiness in character, and loving in attitude towards all. That is different!

Ontario Emperor said...

"Let us plant ourselves on the hill of Zion and invite the world to come over to us, but never under any circumstances will we go over to them."

While I agree with you theologically (which I assume was your intent), I do not agree with the statement if it is interpreted physically - in other words, you have to physically come to our building if you want us to interact with you. The entire book of Acts talks about how the apostles brought the word of God to weird physical locations (outside of Jerusalem, outside of synagogues, etc.). At times they got trendy (Paul's discussion in Athens about the "unknown god"), but they did not compromise their message.

Too many of us sit back and wait for the people to come to our churches, or we try the Next Big Thing to lure (trick?) the people into coming in. We need to be focused outward.

Not arguing your main point about compromising the gospel; just warning that we still need to be accessible.

Pastor David said...

spanishgoth- response forthcoming-where do you want to discuss this?

brad- thanks for the comment- need to keep the main thing the main thing!

ontario- not my emphasis with this post - I too believe 'we need to go to them' not 'have them come to us'- check out sermons on church web this past week (5/7) and 4/22 for my missional perspective.