a question of truth and relevance

“On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” — Ed Norton, Fight Club

“100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be decreased.” — C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

(Great post on this topic found here.)

The cry of the church for the last few years has been “Relevance”; the leaders of the corporate body of Christ have gone on an apparent quest to make the gospel relevant to our society and age. Their intentions are in fact laudable. The church has at many times been guilty of not engaging society, an attitude that flies in the face of our command from Christ to

be in the world, but not of the world.

The Church has often been far, far too separate from the changes in the world that surrounds it.

That being said, does the gospel need to be made relevant? As believers that adhere to the orthodox position of historic Christianity, we necessarily believe that the gospel equates truth in all that it entails. That the gospel is , literally, “good news” can only be true if the good news that it proclaims is true!

To announce to someone, “Good news! You’ve just hit the 180 million dollar Power Ball jackpot!” and have it be patently false is not good news, it’s a joke of the cruelest sort. The long and short of this conversation about relevance is that truth is always relevant by it’s nature as truth. What needs to be driven home is truth’s relevance to us. To tell you that a car is speeding at 100 miles per hour down the street is relevant, but is only so in a general sort of way. It becomes specifically relevant if I point out that the car is speeding at 100 miles per hour down your street, and you’re in danger of being struck if you don’t move out of the way. All of the sudden it’s much more relevant information. (My sincerest thanks to Pastor Todd Zielinski for that wonderful illustration.)

That’s the upshot of relevant truth. And the Church has always had to grapple with this. The biblical equivalent of this is the modern (and post-modern) church’s tendency to speak only part of the truth. It is insufficient for a minister of the glorious gospel of Christ to speak solely of God’s provision. After all, God’s provision is only relevant when you have first pointed out man’s need for provision. That little observation has been at the root of much of the failure of the evangelistic efforts of the last 30 years.

So…there you have it.


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