Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mark Dever, one of my great pastoral models, has a great article in the Baptist Press on being too relevant in our churches today. Here's a clip of the article:

"I would like to suggest that the most fundamental problem in the church is not that we are not relevant enough in relation to the world, but that the church is not distinct enough from the world. Our churches must reflect the character of God,"

And more...

"Instead of being directed by [visible] success, we should be directed by faithfulness. We should say, 'If the Lord doesn't like our product, we will change the product.' We shouldn't take the idea that if we don't have X number of conversions in our church, then we must be doing something wrong. I am glad Jeremiah didn't think that. And I am glad that Jesus Christ didn't think that. Let us remember that we are following the One who was crucified as a revolutionary."

I exhort you to read it and be challenged to stick to the Word as we do church ministry to the glory of God.


Anonymous said...

Good post Geoff.

Actually, this whole issue has been much on my mind since the whole emerging/emergent church stuff got stirred up.

I have yet to hear a bold affirmation or acknowledgement from those who advocate "contextualization" that (1) man is totally unable to respond spiritually apart from the Holy Spirit doing a work of regeneration and that His work is not at all contingent on us being culturally savvy or in-step with the 20-35 year old crowd, (2) God's Word, applied by the Holy Spirit accomplishes His perfect ends, and (3) that while we have freedom in means, God is God and not us, so we need to submit to His inerrant Word and proceed with boldness, confidence and submission.

Yes, the emerging folks would say "yes" to this (how can they possibly deny these things?), but it seems only after someone raises the issue.

I suspect someone might go to Paul in Athens as a template for being relevant. But, how many of the savvy relevant folks really want to pursue the Pauline model in totality, sacrifice, rejection and all? How many relevant folks would say they have determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified, and can say that they count all this world's "rubbish" as exactly that in order that they may gain Christ?

Love you!


geoffrey kirkland said...

Great comments!


Laura said...

Geoff, great post. I echo your dad's words. Dever says, "In the Bible, the people never create God's Word. Instead, God's Word always creates the people. That is how God has always worked. And that is how we should preach." The moment we try to recreate/reshape/evolve (whatever the emerging church is trying to do) the gospel to fit this "postmodern" generation, that's when Satan gets his hold.

Also, happy 6th month anniversary!

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