I suggested on Wednesday that Christians should not be afraid of, and even encourage, creativity and innovation in our outreach methods, but the Gospel truth is something that we cannot change to fit the whims of society.
That is going to make us look a little bit strange. Christianity is going to be quirky by the world’s standards. We might do things that other people simply don’t understand. When our society is saying that there is no such thing as absolute truth, we are going to seem very odd when we say that there is an all-powerful God who is Truth.
When the belief in the supernatural is seen as nothing more than childlike superstition, we are bold enough to say that our faith necessarily depends on the historical fact that Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man, was actually crucified, died and rose again through the supernatural power of God.
That is the fascinating part of the Christian worldview. On one hand, it is a perfectly logical and rational system, but some of the realities that Christians understand are seen as foolishness by the world around us.
Therefore, we need to embrace our inner Jesus freak (cue music). Because we will not change the gospel to fit the culture, there will be inevitable tension. There will be times when the world around us moves in one direction, and we’re going to stand firm where we have always stood.
I read an article by Rod Dreher in The American Conservative entitled, “Making Christianity Weird Again,” where he said the following about Christianity:
“The real thing is wild, and weird; it is not a set of ideas, but a way of life. There will always be some people — young, middle-aged, and old — haunted by the sense that there is something else there, a longing that cannot be anesthetized away. If the church stands true to itself, and doesn’t apologize for itself, then they will come.”
It simply will not make sense to certain people because it is a way of life that is often times at odds with the world around us. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised as Jesus promised in Matthew 10 that the world would not be kind to those who would sincerely follow Him. However, we want Jesus to be wrong. We want to believe that our culture will just open up and embrace our Christian beliefs.
As we have seen throughout history, the world has a way of rejecting the truth.
Russell Moore has continually made the same point in his writings. In an article he published on his website entitled “Is Christianity Dying?” he said the following:
“Christianity isn’t normal anymore, and that’s good news. The Book of Acts, like the Gospels before it, shows us that the Christianity thrives when it is, as Kierkegaard put it, a sign of contradiction. Only a strange gospel can differentiate itself from the worlds we construct. But the strange, freakish, foolish old gospel is what God uses to save people and to resurrect churches (1 Cor. 1:20-22).”
The gospel is nonnegotiable. We cannot begin to modify it to make it more socially acceptable. The minute we do that, we start to create heresy. Our methods might certainly look different in different times. I have even heard about churches establishing PokeStops on the premises as a way of attracting people who are playing Pokémon Go. That kind of creativity can work out well and might be an interesting outreach opportunity. I’m not opposed to that kind of innovation whatsoever and encouraged that Wednesday.
However, we do not innovate the gospel to make it more appealing. The gospel is what the gospel is. It is truth, and as we have looked at today, it might seem strange to modern sensibilities. However, that is where we are going to stand.