Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Relevant Is Not a 4-Letter Word

Why is "relevant" such a bad word? Why is it assumed that Cultural Relevance equals Biblical Irrelevance?

Check Out Ed Stetzer's post on Relevance this morning.

I think that cultural relevance means two things:

1. Speaking the language of the culture.
Using traditional church language in your church services tells unchurched that your church is not for them. It is like going to Lithuania and using only English in church. By your chosen language you are saying "All English Speakers Welcome". If you want to reach the Lithuanians you've got to speak their language. If you want to reach the unchurched of your community, you got to speak their language. A great book on this is Reggie McNeal's The Present Future.

2. Dealing with the issues of the culture.
This one is more difficult because of the idea that many have of only teaching what comes next in the Bible. After all, we should teach the whole Bible right? Of Course. But shouldn't there also be a place where we deal with where people are at?
Take for example, the passage where Jesus met the woman at the well who had had numerous husbands and was living with a man she was not married to. He talked to her about living water probably because her relationships revealed that she thirsted for life but was looking in all the wrong places. What if Jesus had chosen instead to talk to her about Jewish dietary laws?
How about in Acts 17 when Paul chose to talk to the philosophers about their unknown God and how he was the one who created everything and wants to have a relationship with them. What if Paul had talked to them about adultery?

Irrelevnace is Irreverance. (thanks NCC)

We have been entrusted with the greatest message in the world. It is not God's fault if people don't accept the message because they don't get it when we tell it.

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