Nearly 2000 years ago the church was established in Jerusalem. From that fateful day onward the church has reached out into all the world. So much so that even the worldly had taken notice. Those in Thessalonica had perceived that the world had been turned upside down by the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 17:6). This occurred around 25 years after it was established. In less than 25 years the church had such an impact upon its surrounding cultures that it could no longer be ignored. What I find utterly amazing is that as the church was growing, and while the church certainly faced some interior controversies, it never waned from the standard which God had set, or least not in its early days.
As the moral code of our society continues to break down I have often wondered what Paul would have said. What would John have said? What would Jesus have done? I find it hard to imagine that they would have tolerated what the average “Christian” does today. In a recent survey among Catholics here in America stated that 78% would be more apt to follow their conscience than that of the teachings of the church. 62% think same sex marriage should be legal. 74% think abortion should at least be legal in some instances. If we think these alarming numbers are only among the lost Catholic church we are gravely mistaken. These numbers are on the rise among Christians as well. How sad it is that more and more Christians would openly accept their conscience as their guide over the word of God. How sad it is that Christians would openly accept the murder of innocent children as sometimes acceptable. How sad it is that Christians think that the destruction of the first institution which God gave, the family, is okay. To get an idea for how bad things have gotten, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a member of one of the most storied Catholic families in American politics, stated, “"Gay marriage is part of a larger refusal on the part of the church to listen to, and to understand, the people in the pews.” (Keep in mind that Catholics believe that authority derives from the church.) Ms. Turner further complicates the issue when she wrongfully assumes that authority for religious matters derives from the masses. And again, before you think that this is not an issue for the Lord’s church… it is. It has already happened. This is why more and more churches are giving up the battle on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. This is why more and more churches are giving up the battle against abortion. This is why more and more churches are giving up the battle against drinking. They are too afraid that they will lose members. Preachers are too afraid they will lose jobs. So, the church and the preachers try to remain “relevant” in today’s culture by pretending that God’s word is malleable and changes wit the times.
I am no expert when it comes to church history. But, it does not take a doctor’s degree to see what is going on in the New Testament. The church was not established and preached to a bunch of puritan minded people. It was preached to a people who were not just knee deep, or neck deep, but completely submersed in sin. The Jews, while a religious people were so caught up in tradition that they had corrupted what God had initially given. God was calling for them to cast aside the burdens of the Old Law and find rest for their wearied souls in Christ. Had God listened to the masses, Christ would have never been raised from the dead. It was the masses that crucified Him. Unto the Gentiles there is not a better place to turn than that of the Corinthians. In I Cor. 6:9-11 Paul rattles of a list of sins that the Corinthians used to engage in. Among these were homosexuality, adultery, drunkenness, fornication, and covetousness; 5 sins that are plaguing our country today. It sure doesn’t seem like Paul was compelled to cast aside the truth for the sake of the people.
My friends, it doesn’t matter what we think is right. It doesn’t matter what we think is fair. What matters is what God has said. Let us be certain we stand upon His word, after all that will be the standard by which we will be judged (John 12:48).
So back to the question proposed in the title. Is the church not relevant enough? That all depends upon the angle you take. I believe that the church should be relevant. I believe the world absolutely needs what God’s church should be preaching. However, God forbid the church strive to look like the world in an effort to be “modern.” Like Jeremiah once said, “Seek ye the old paths (Jer. 6:16).” ~WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Is the Church Not Relevant Enough?
Volume 4 Issue 26