Friday, September 01, 2006

dever on relevance

Mark Dever just made an excellent post on T4G entitled Relevance. The entire article is worth a read but here are a few phrases that really jumped out at me.
None of us ever have a complete understanding of the Gospel, but we must have a clear idea of what the basics of our message are, and we must be clear in our expression of them. If there is a likely misunderstanding, we should address it.
I completely agree. Too many parade about as if to have an exhaustive understanding of the Gospel. I've read many criticisms by those people toward those that are willing to admit we do not and cannot fully comprehend the fullness of this Good News. On the other hand, I'm embarrassed, angered, etc. by those calling themselves Christian but cannot/will not explain the Gospel is clear and simple terms.
Clarity with the claims of Christ certainly will include the translation of the Gospel into words that our hearer understands, but it doesn’t necessarily mean translating it into words that our hearer will like. Too often advocates of relevant evangelism verge over into being advocates of irrelevant non-evangelism. A gospel which in no way offends the sinner has not been understood.
Wow!! The anti-relevance crowd amazes me with their arrogance yet much worse, a gospel which is neither a stumbling block or foolishness to anyone is no Gospel at all.
Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2. He wanted to be relevant. But that relevance gave his words more bite, not less.
Amen. If people do not understand our message because of our presentation, then no decision is required or, they are duped into thinking they are on the "right side" of the problem facing them. But when the reality of sin is clearly presented in a way that hits home, that is going to sting. Followed by the opportunity of redemption, the hearer will make a decision.

As a side note, I'd carry this concept beyond that of "evangelism". I often teach small group leaders that the small group should be safe yet not comfortable. I think that is true of the entire Christian community. We need to know that we are among people that care for us and will bring healing to our wounds. People that will edify and protect. At the same time, we need to constantly consider how to spur each other on in the faith - confronting sins, presenting "God sized" challenges, and the like.

In my search for a new church family and over the years, I have sadly found far too many fellowships where there is much more comfort than I'm comfortable with.

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