Last week, Pope Francis visited the United States. Thousands came out to see and hear him at every stop. But his visit raised a question in the media that troubles me. Several times during news stories I heard journalists pose questions similar to:
Will the Pope address ways the Church can be more relevant in our culture?
Don’t get me wrong. I believe Christians must show how our faith is relevant to people today. But what the media suggested went beyond strategies for reaching and engaging individuals where they are with the Gospel message. They wanted to know how the Church would “update and change” to better reflect our current secular culture. To bring Christianity into the 21st century.
This question doesn’t begin and end with journalists. People from every country and generation seem to want to change or update Christianity to suit their lifestyle. People want our culture to speak to God’s Word instead of allowing God’s Word to speak to the culture.
Consider with me for a moment just how ridiculous this idea really is. We humans – who are beings created by God from a handful of dust and live but for a moment in time – think we have the right to tell the Creator how things should be, what is right and what is wrong, and how we should be able to “get to heaven.”
Job tried this. Here is God’s response:
“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?… Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?… Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?” Job 38:2,4; 40:2
Jesus and Christ and His saving work on the cross is relevant to every person in every culture in every century. All have sinned and are separated from God. All need a Savior. Christ died for all. God doesn’t want any to perish, but all to be saved.
That never changes. It is always relevant.
And yes, I know that’s not really what those journalists are talking about. They are thinking of ethics, and lifestyles, and the things people consider to be important. Those things change constantly.
But God does not change like shifting shadows. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The one, true Creator God is perfect holiness. He is Life. He is Light. In Him there is no darkness at all. He is the Almighty, Sovereign One. He has no beginning and no end. He is all powerful and all knowing. He created life and established its boundaries.
And this is the God to Whom we say: “Hey, why don’t you step into the 21st century? Aren’t you a little behind the times?”
Really? Think about how ridiculous this really is. If our culture doesn’t agree with God’s standards, then who needs to change?
Have you ever thought that God or the Christian faith needed an “update?” If so, in what way?
Note: I totally agree that Christians and the Christian faith is and should be relevant to the culture. I believe Paul expresses this in his declaration that he tried to be “all things to all people in order to win some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). But Paul meant in ways that did not contradict God’s moral standards or teach doctrine differently than God has revealed in His Word.