Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Truth & Relevance

The question of truth does not resolve itself with the issue of relevance. Truth is irrelevant to relevance in that they have no direct relationship. However truth is a major factor in the evaluation of relevance. Our honesty of who we are is in direct relationship to our position as redeemed sinners (sinner-saints) and an understanding of the nature of our relationship with God as defined by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a propitiation (atonement),"...in this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfactory sacrifice) for our sins.

2 Timothy 3:16, "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine , for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

We are finding in the 'emerging church' a quest for cultural significance. This quest is manifesting itself through a variety of avenues. We see churches where swearing, I mean the use of cuss words, vulgar language, is a prevalent aspect of the Pastor's vocabulary, we have prominent Church leaders advocating a moratorium on the topic of homosexuality to allow Christians the time to rethink our position, we are seeing the promotion of a mindset divergent from the Word of God and its inerrant truth, we are seeing the promotion of a feminist sub-culture to counter the seeming anti-feminist culture of the Church, we are seeing the influx of worldly values and sexual innuendo, we are seeing the erosion of the requirements for Godly leadership and the qualities and character required as mandated by the Scriptures. It appears from the standpoint of relevance and appeal to society that the Church has come to terms with its place and position in culture. I disagree.

Our position in culture is not to be defined by the culture in which we live. Matthew 5:14, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men..." We are not to be hidden in the culture around us, we are not to position ourselves where we are no longer visible as an alternative or better stated as representative of the 'Way'. We cannot attain to cultural relevance and remain the Church of Christ. Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

I understand the issues of being relevant to the degree that we are achieving the mandate of going and making disciples in all nations, however there has to be a distinction from reaching out and remaining true to the Word of God. We must never sacrifice our Saviour in the name of relevance. There are these contentious issues (as defined by the prejudice of the perpetrator of whatever compromise is in question) in scripture which alienate us from the general population, it is in the attempt to appease by throwing spins upon truth, or removing the truth entirely as revealed in the Bible that we see the eroding of the essential truth of the Bible and God's relevant, determinant, inerrant, revelation of the character and stance of His Church. It is difficult to maintain relevance to the mandate of the Bible when as viewed by the culture around we are no different. The perversity which lies at the heart of the current situation is that in allowing or promoting aspects of culture in our churches, this assimilation removes us from offering any significant redeeming alternative to any other lifestyle in society. We may attain significance in being cultural, but our mandate is found in being counter-cultural, and even more distinct yet, in making counter-cultural appealing and workable. We must live out and exemplify the productive, loving, relationships that God has ordained and show that this is the way in which we are to live in harmony and peace. It becomes hard to convince a person of the error of their lifestyle, the need for salvation, the need to change from a destructive lifestyle, the need for a relationship with God, the need to set themselves apart for a greater purpose, the need to seek out and be found by God, to convict someone of sin and error by the example my life is in living for a reason contrary to people of my community, when the defining aspect of the church is not only acceptance but promotion of the aspects which I in my lifestyle am trying to refute. In this I must and it is required of me to be honest, this is not achievable by any exertion of my own strength and ability, but solely the work of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit indwelling me and providing all that is necessary for that result. Having said that, it is imperative that the Church be seen as the illustration of the distinctive work of God in the lives of Christians, in healing, in reconciliation, in restoration, in redemption, and I am not just referring to the relationship with God, but as well the relationships with each other and those who are outside the Church. We must always remove the preson from their sin and love them to the degree that Jesus calls us to love.
Leviticus 19:18, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself; I am the Lord."
John 13:34, "... love one another; as I have loved you,... by this all men will know that you are My disciples. if you love one another."
John 15:13."Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."
This mutual and disinterested (having no stake in the outcome) love was to be the essential and distinctive trademark of Christ's disciples and as the command in Leviticus states was to be extended beyond the parameters of the church to include all of those in our constituency.

John 15:19, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Has the world become more Christian or Christians more worldly? Our integrity as the Church of Christ lies with our adherence to the principles of consecration, those ways of obedience which set us apart from the arenas of thought around us.

Sacrificing reproach for the comfort of the world may seem to be a astute decision, but much like the wise steward who Jesus described in Luke 16:9,"...and I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home."

1 comment:

Rodrigo said...
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