As the culture changes does the church need to change with it? And if so, why does it need to?
The Church of England’s bishops, for instance, in a “radical new Christian inclusion” – based on “a proper 21st Century understanding of being human and of being sexual” – have voted in favour of performing a service of blessing on same-sex couples following their civil marriage or partnership. All COE congregations, therefore, should “celebrate and affirm same-sex relationships.”
So here’s a case of a global church changing with the culture. And the reason given is to affirm and celebrate the diversity of views in the culture on sexuality, relationships and marriage, so that no one feels like a second class citizen in church. Taking into account – for those who still believe Scripture only talks of marriage between a man and a woman – that God is love so, the bishops claim, any relationship based on love is scriptural.
Well, it certainly makes the church more attractive to those with a diversity of views on sexuality, relationships and marriage. But why would the church want to do that, when it risks turning Christians away who believe Scripture is clear on the subject of marriage?
Is it because the church feels the need to be relevant to survive? And to be relevant means representing all types in society. In other words, become what people with many different lifestyles and views want and expect the church to be, enabling them to continue their lifestyle in church without prejudice, rejection or hostility.
But is that the church’s job, to fit in with people’s expectations of what church should be? Not according to Paul in Romans 12:2, where he writes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world….but test and approve what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is.” “For,” he wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:31, “this world in its present form is passing away,” just as John wrote in 1 John 2:17, that the “world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
The church exists, then, to explain what does not pass away, and what God has in mind for us now and forever. And the Holy Spirit is given to those who believe that (Ephesians 1:13). So why try to fit in with the culture instead? For institutional preservation, perhaps?
One thought on “Does the church need to be relevant?”
The “church” with its “diversity of views” and “traditions of men” has become, for the most part, just an empty shell blowing hot air. It has nothing on the “ekklesia” which stays true to God’s word…