23 August 2006

Faithfulness AND Relevance

In a June 17 post on the Together for the Gospel blog, Mark Dever writes:

"I think the most basic practical division among evangelical pastors today may be between those who pursue faithfulness and assume relevance and those who pursue relevance and assume faithfulness."

See http://blog.togetherforthegospel.org/2006/06/index.html for the rest of why he says this.

The insight of this, I think, is to recognize that no evangelical pastor or church declares they are uninterested in relevance or uninterested in faithfulness. None openly neglects either. All will say they want both. But practically in the pastor's or church's daily operations, while neither is outright shunned, one element is pursued while the other is assumed. This is exactly right.

Let us not only take this to heart but take it to our churches, which desperately need both faithfulness and relevance--indeed, at the end of the day, if we are not being relevant, we are not being faithful.

Taking Dever's comment to heart will go a long way, I think, toward clarity of thought on all manner of issues pressing the church today, not least conversations regarding the Emerging Church. And if those of us preparing for vocational ministry would conscientiously pursue, as Pastor Dever puts it, both faithfulness and relevance, assuming neither--in the Spirit-filled, prayer-drenched, Bible-perspiring way the New Testament prescribes--our culture would perhaps begin to stop yawning at the Christian Church.

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