Relevance & Irrelevance

A few years ago, I began noticing a trend in church liturgy among Western Christianity. I tend to describe it as pop culture pragmatism. In an effort to be relevant to a younger technologically driven generation, many churches and their staff members underwent makeovers. Church services took on the flavor of a mini-rock concert with a cool little message tucked in. Pulpits were now equipped with trendy furniture from IKEA, the attire of the pastor and other leaders consisted of screen print tees and trendy jeans, bottles of hair gel were obviously en vogue, and some of the the worship teams looked more like a glam-rock throwback or something along lines of metrosexuality. I’m serious. Sermons were no longer expositional, convicting and Christocentric. Instead, the sermon was reduced to quaint little talks about God peppered with the latest slang. I’m serious. This is a horrible attempt at relevancy. It was highly irrelevant!

Pragmatism is simply using certain means to reach certain ends.  It’s a “whatever works” philosophy.  So on one hand pragmatism is not necessarily wrong, but the context must be understood to see when it is wrong. When it comes to matters of the Christian faith, pragmatism is referenced as a departure from God’s means to reach God’s ends and instead utilizing other means (whatever works) to reach God’s ends.  These other means always appeal to the flesh and the temporal, which is why a pragmatic approach to ministry is ultimately evidence of a lack of faith in God, His Word and pride. It simply fails to get to the heart of man’s issue – his sin and rebellion against God.  The church doesn’t need to put on a new outfit every time the trends of culture changes in order to be effective and relevant.

Relevant churches are churches that unashamedly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of Scripture trusting God will accomplish His means through the power of the Holy Spirit.

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,…… (Romans 1:16)

Grace & Peace,

d.

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3 thoughts on “Relevance & Irrelevance

  1. Sometimes I think that we get so comfortable with the idea that God is the God who is near, that we forget that he is still the God who is far off from us. No, not in a salvific sense, but in regards to his holiness, his aseity.

    I wonder if this is where pragmatism begins to appear so attractive to the church. The Scripture is clear that God will be worshiped by his own standards [Does he not exact punishment when the opposite is done? Exodus 33:19-29] and so at some point I think we disregard this fact, but woe to us! He is still the God capable of “breaking out against us” if we approach him or represent him wrongly. Is this the judgment we are seeing in our pragmatic churches where possibly many are still pagan to the core with only a mere appearance of godliness? Are we “struggling” with sin as part of a warning or maybe even means of grace that we might turn from this sin [of pragmatism], which is possibly steeped in a wrong view of the nature of the one with whom we worship? I mean, what if we truly understood that he is still the Lord of hosts even and especially in the work of killing sin in our life? That encourages me, not quaint songs and theologies about God that give me the warm fuzzies that don’t last past the time a church member insults me and I’m ready to…

    Psalm 2 admonishes us to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice in trembling. God is gracious and merciful, and he has certainly drawn us to himself, but we would do well to observe (though possibly sinful) the fearful disposition of the Israelites in Exodus 19 when approaching God at Mt. Sinai.

    We need to remember God is not a man and is Holy.

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