One of the most memorable things I took away from Bible School is the idea that being culturally irrelevant is just as much of a sin as it is to be off-based in your doctrine. It was a huge awakening for me, as I had this idea that to be culturally relevant was becoming too much like the world and that the Bible tells us to flee from the things of this world. I have, since, realized that God in all his holiness is also culturally relevant. I read somewhere and wrote in my journal that when we look at how our transcendent, eternal God deals with every person, and every culture, throughout history we find that He does it on their terms. He meets them where they’re at. One of the greatest examples of cultural relevancy is the fact that God came to earth as one of His creations to be able to relate. We can find all throughout the Bible that God speaks the language of the people, there are stories and illustrations that Jesus used to relate with. We can find that he even used examples from pop culture. His message was so relevant (catch this) that the religious people of that time were so upset with him. They called him blasphemous, and condemned his message. (It seems that it is the religious today that are upset with churches that are following Jesus’ lead in being relevant – any coincidence?)
In my notes I wrote of an example of how even the first Christians were doing this…you can see this when you compare the sermon Peter gave in Acts 2 in Jerusalem to the one Paul gave in Acts 17 in Athens. Sometime read each carefully. You’ll find that Paul never mentions the name of Jesus. He never quotes the Bible. He doesn’t give an invitation at the end. In Acts 2, Peter talks about Jesus, quotes the Bible, ends by saying, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you …” Paul doesn’t. Instead he compliments the people on their interest in religious things. He doesn’t attack them because their religious beliefs are wrong. Paul talks about their statues and quotes their poets. And at the end he basically says, “I think you all should seek God.” Why the difference? Peter’s audience was ready for Jesus and Bible quotes and an invitation, so he met them where they were. Paul’s audience was not ready for any of that, so he met them where they were.
This is the verse that stirred the issue…CHECK THIS OUT…
1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”