I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
Over the past forty years, American society has greatly shifted away from church attendance. In its place there is a growing hostility towards Christianity. One reason is because the Christian faith holds to moral absolutes and opposes the moral relativism of the postmodernist. If there are individual interests, in many cases the “organized church” is viewed as out of touch and irrelevant to the today’s issues. For years now, evangelical churches, in varying degrees, have sought to present themselves relevant in order to win “seekers” of truth. Churches of every kind have made changes - some are smalls ones, such as dressing down, others changed their music reflecting the sound and look of contemporary pop, and still others have made reductions in doctrinal emphasis, typically limiting teaching to salvation in Christ alone and stressing living the Christian life. All of the changes are aimed at avoiding division and have stated that salvation is the most important thing.
Regardless of how our society has changed and continues changing, we are not exempt from fulfilling the Great Commission. However, our view of culture and the Gospel will influence how we reach out to our city. Reflection on Paul's statement, “becoming all things to all that by all means I might save some.” does not mean we can adopt anything merely to attract the unsaved. While Paul accommodated his approach according to nationality or the moral convictions of his audience, he in no way compromised the moral, spiritual integrity of the Gospel. Relevancy has a strong penchant towards compromise.
We must witness and proclaim the Gospel in this uninterested and dispassionate world. In doing so, there must be no confusion. We are distinct people – in character, in patience, in love, in concern, and in inexpressible joy. The Gospel is a message of hope and transformation, not of hope and world-likeness.
In Christ, we are never the same again.
--E.C. Malone 2/13/15