In contemporary western Christianity, there seems to be a trend towards being “relevant” to today’s culture. How that would typically play out is by incorporating aspects of contemporary culture into the church – suits are out, skinny jeans and deep-vees are in. Elaborate lighting, smoke machines, overdriven guitars and synthesizers are staples in worship services where believers jump around to the beat of the latest Hillsong United jam. The call to repentance gives way to a personal development speech more at home in a motivational seminar.
The parody below illustrates my point:
Is this how we make the gospel relevant to our culture? I must admit that I don’t see anything wrong with dressing fashionably (I only own skinny jeans ;)) or worshipping God through modern day instruments or giving an uplifting message. What I have been pondering is, do any of these (among other things) make our message any more relevant or our cause any more compelling?
I would have to say no. The gospel of Jesus Christ does not need anything to make it more relevant. It is the most relevant message in the history of humanity! Mankind’s universal need for a saviour means that the unadulterated message of the cross is supremely relevant! We can strip it all away, the lights, camera, action…if all we ever do is proclaim Christ and him crucified then that is enough. God has ordained that the preaching of the Gospel be the means through which people are saved when they believe. If we do not preach the gospel nobody gets saved..it’s that simple. Sadly in contemporary Christianity the message of the cross is hardly mentioned. Ideas like repentance, self-denial, faith in Christ for forgiveness of sins, atonement, justification are seldom heard. A less offensive message may be more palatable but in the end will only result in false professions of faith and little if any true conversions.
I sometimes think that in our well-intentioned efforts to become “all things to all men that by all means we may save some” we can lose our way and end up diluting our message in order to make it more seeker-friendly or palatable. The Gospel does not need to be made more palatable to the unbeliever. It will never be palatable to the natural man because according to the Bible “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” and “there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.”
Salvation is a work of God and we can add nothing to it. So let us not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.