Saturday, October 29, 2011

Relevant Church or a Relevant Gospel?

QUESTION RECEIVED:

How can a church be culturally relevant without being culturally determined?

MY ANSWER:

Cultural determinism definition I found on Wiki: "Cultural determinism is the belief that the culture in which we are raised determines who we are at emotional and behavioral levels. This supports the theory that environmental influences dominate who we are instead of biologically inherited traits."

You know what culture will do to the gospel? Our culture will reject the gospel because culture is in love with self. Yes, I know that Paul said we need to be "all things to all people." The Lord does not care if you sing southern gospel, old hymns or contemporary Christian. We are to preach the Bible, Pray the Bible say the Bible, sing the Bible, hear the Bible and see the Bible in baptism and the Lord's supper in our worship services. Our churches are to maintain worship. Churches are to develop disciples in ministry and missions. Churches are to participate in the evangelism of the world.

The church is not relevant. It may at times seem cool in popular marketing today.
The gospel is relevant. Without the gospel you have no true church.

Here is a passage about when Jesus came to church one Sunday and preached.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
Luke 4:16-19 English Standard Bible (ESV)

"16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.

Jesus said in Luke 4:16-19 what was relevant. 1.) The Good News or gospel. 2.)Liberty to captives of sin. 3.) To open the eyes of sinners. 4.) Set captives of sin free. 5.) Declare the Sovereignty and kingdom of the Lord.

Jesus declared the gospel as relevant in His first public service.
"21And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." 22And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. Is not this Joseph’s son?"
(The crowd said-"That's nice , the local boy is a preacher.)

(Then the crowd got snarky. Jesus was preaching the gospel, not saluting their culture.)
23And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself.' What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well." 24And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

(Jesus told the congregation that the great prophet of old, Elijah, was right but not relevant to their sinful ancestors.)
25But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27And there were many lepers[a] in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." 28When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.

(Now the congregation went to show how relevant Jesus and His gospel was. They rose in unity to throw Him off a cliff.)
29And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30But passing through their midst, he went away."


The only relevant thing that should determine the ministry of the church is that we are sinners. Jesus Christ the God-Man lived a perfect life. He died on the cross to pay the punishment of believers who broke the law. The wrath of God intended for sinners was poured out on Jesus. He received our punishment on the cross. When we confess and believe, we unbelievably receive the riches of Christ Jesus the only Son of God- peace with God, eternal life with the Father, and forgiveness of sins.
It is nice to fit in with a community. Yes a church will often mirror it's culture. Believe in the gospel. It is the only relevant thing that will save and preserve any in this sinful culture.

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