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Monday, August 14, 2006

Prophetic Untimeliness

On the advice of someone I trust I just finished reading a book by Os Guinness called Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance. Guinness takes a serious look at the modern church in his well articulated critique.
“Never have Christians tried to be so relevant. But never have Christians ended up so irrelevant. How can this be? The problem, says Os Guinness, is that our views of relevance and our efforts to redefine ourselves are captive to the seductions and pressures of our modern clock culture. Ironically, we end up as neither relevant nor faithful. And in the process we are in danger of losing not only our identity but our authority, our significance, and even our very soul.”
I feel this book is only the continuation of what God has been teaching me over the past several years, namely that the gospel is timeless. It reaches across the ages and across cultures, because it addresses not the problems of the day, but the deepest and most daunting problem that all men face, namely their union with Adam. This book is ultimately a wakeup call to the modern church, though like most prophetic words I fear it will go unheard as its title intimates. R.C. Sproul says that the evangelical church is mired in a modern-day Babylonian captivity of Pelagianism. Guinness says we are in a Babylonian captivity of modernism. I think King Solomon spoke wisely (go figure) when he wrote in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. I think Sproul and Guinness both speak of the same thing, and while one speaks to antiquity and the other to the obsession with the future, both resonate with the same theme: the exaltation of Man.

The modern church culture seeks to be relevant by courting the ideas and patterns of the world around it. How can this be? We are told to live in the world, but not be of the world, to not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed in our thinking, yet the modern church subculture bears a remarkable resemblance to the world which it purports to oppose. We have abandoned the gospel by trying to making it relevant to the day instead of acknowledging that, “it is the power of God to salvation;” that it never needed help, we did. The battle cries of the reformation, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Fide, and Soli Deo Gloria, have been abandoned because they are old, and new is always better. They have been abandoned for the new battle cry of the enslaved church: Sola Cultura! The modern, the progressive, the ever changing world about us has become the driving factor in the church, instead of the sound and inspired truth revealed from God.

This is why I feel I have been led to focus so much on reformed teaching and sound Biblical exegesis. I believe that the gospel is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago and it does not need to be updated to accommodate the ideas of modern pop culture. This is why Christians have become so irrelevant in the world. Instead of knowing God and being firmly planted in the Word, the modern Christian’s entire faith is based on subjective spirituality, sloganeering, and bumper sticker theology. We have lost sight of who God is and who man is in relation to Him. If there is to be a revival in this nation, a new reformation, if we are to escape the fate of Europe’s secular implosion, then we must return to God. We must embrace the gospel as written, not as we imagine it to be, or would like it to be. We must stop focusing on trying to be relevant and become relevant by honestly seeking after God. Only by being obedient to the truth can we ever hope to be relevant again.


Blogger Rachel said...


8/14/2006 8:17 PM  

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