Posted 12 Dec 2014
Bible truth versus “relevance”
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Meta4 Picture: Bible truth versus relevance
Listening to a podcast from pastor Katherine Ruonala (Glory City Church, Australia) from 23rd Nov 2014. She speaks eloquently about presenting the whole Gospel of Jesus the Christ. There is a danger that in the name of “relevance” (to non-Christians) we might add something that is not actually Biblical, to the gospel message we present. Of course we are to speak in ways that our listeners can easily understand; using anecdotes & figures of speech which are contemporary – that sort of relevance is fine. But adding or altering anything of the ESSENTIAL, core Christian message (the cross & the Gospel of Jesus the Christ) is always a dangerous & deceptive thing to do. Adding things such as New Age thinking, popular philosophy, Humanist ideas or other religious views, in the name of “relevance” will always have a detrimental effect, because it will always “water down” the Gospel, or “pollute the living waters” of the Gospel, which subtly detract from the essential message: the cross of Jesus & his sacrifice to remove our sins & gain access for us to Father God in heaven. Mixing Bible truth with anything else creates the “lukewarm water” spoken of in Revelation chp 3, which the Lord will spit out – don’t want that to happen to any of us!
This is a most timely message from pastor Katherine Ruonala; as she reminds us on the podcast, there are plenty of people who today are turning away from the whole Gospel of Jesus, & are adding or subtracting things from it, in order to present a more “palatable” gospel… which is no gospel at all, or at least not the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, & therefore incapable of saving anyone from anything!
What matters is TRUTH, over & above relevance.
As 2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV) reminds us:
“There the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine [ie the whole, unabridged Gospel message]. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears WANT to hear.”
Don’t we see this happening already? People gathering so-called philosophers & pundits who tell them just exactly what they want to hear? The danger occurs when Christians are deceived into believing something which is a subtle departure from what is solidly Biblical. That’s why we all have to read the Bible for ourselves – put in the work & get at the truth, so that no-one can deceive us.
Colossians 2:3-4 (Amplified Bible) has an interesting assessment on this:
“In Him [Jesus] all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden. I say this in order that no one may mislead and delude you by PLAUSIBLE and PERSUASIVE and ATTRACTIVE ARGUMENTS and BEGUILING SPEECH.”
[Empasis added – MY]
Since this is mentioned, it must be concluded that such plausible, persuasive, attractive arguments & beguiling speech is actually presented to us! Yes it is – often couched in the beguiling “clothes” of popular scientific theory these days! WE should be on our guard & always listen to what someone is saying, judging it against our “bench-standard”: the Holy Bible.
What happens to deceivers?
Matthew 7:15-20 (ESV) has the answer to that:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Revelation 3:15-17 (Amplified)
[Speaking of the church in Laodicea]
“I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!
For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
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