Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Tyranny of the Pseudo-Relevant

One of the great plagues that has come upon the modern American evangelical church (and God forbid that international churches seek to emulate the Christian evangelical church on this point) is the absolute intoxication with relevancy.  Relevancy is the great eleventh commandment that drives the evangelical, ministerial engine.  Everything that is deemed "relevant" is unquestioningly adopted as, well...relevant.  And it is invariably linked with that great text of all texts for ministry, missions, and evangelism...drum roll please..."I have become all things to all men that I might win some", which many cool and relevant Christians who want to be effective in ministry interpret to mean, "I have become relevant in all things that I might win some."

There are two BIG problems with the embedded idea of man-centered relevancy in Christian ministry:  first, relevancy means nothing until we determine who defines what is relevant (and in the case of Christian ministry, God determines relevancy), and second, there is no biblical evidence (and I mean absolutely no biblical evidence) that man-centered relevancy is God's chosen means of reaching people for Christ (perhaps we need to talk about what "reaching people" really means, but that is for another blog entry).

Pseudo-relevancy in Christian ministry asks people what is relevant to them (man-centered), then it modifies its worship, Bible study, preaching, ministry, and service to accommodate this so-called relevancy.  The bottom line is that the unregenerate sets the agenda for the church. Doesn't anyone see a problem with this?!  Can you imagine Lot doing a survey in Sodom asking, "We are going to start a Baptist church in Sodom.  What seems to be relevant to you Sodomites? We want to build a need-meeting ministry at the 'What's Happening Church'.  Our motto is:  'We are a church for everyone!  So, tell us your expectations of our church, Mr. Lost Sodomite."  What foolishness, and yet this methodology is applied every day in the American church in the name of evangelism and "reaching people."

How much we need to hear the voice of God in Scripture calling us to a biblical ministry.  A biblical ministry is declarative in nature.  It declares what God has done in Christ redemptively. It declares that what God has said is true.  Sinners have lost their mental and spiritual balance because of sin.  They are, in fact, dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1).  How can sinners know what is relevant to them? Christ has sent the church with the message of God's redemption in Christ. Let us preach this message with love, with prayer, with tenderness, with gentleness, with tears of compassion, but with bold resolve.  Ours must not be a ministry of the interrogative ("What would you like our church to do for you?").  No, ours is that ministry that bears the authority of being called and sent by God as ambassadors for Him (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

No comments:

Post a Comment