The church has gone to great contortions in the last 30 years to adapt, to change, and to become more relevant to the world.
Denominational names? Gone.
We allowed for these and a thousand other changes so as not to alienate the world. We so desperately wanted to embrace and relate to the culture. Paul stood on Mars Hill and preached to the heathen masses, even using their statue “to an unknown God” as a way to pierce their hearts. And we thought we were doing the same.
So we put ashtrays outside our sanctuaries, added mood lights to our stages, and dressed the pastor in jeans. “Now the world will relate! They’ll flock!” The result? There has been a continued downward trend of self-identified Christians and a huge uptick in those who claim no religion at all.
- In 1948, only 2% of Americans did not identify with a religion.
- In 1998, 6% of Americans did not identify with a religion.
- In 2002, 10% claimed no God.
- Today, it’s just 13%.
Something happened on the way to being cool.
We need to quit worrying about how we look to the world and simply be about the business of following Christ.
The first century church was relevant, it was engaging, it was exciting. Nearly everyone had either witnessed a miracle or knew someone who had. And yet despite this, the world looked at those early followers with skepticism. Look at Acts 2. The world was “confused”(v. 6) and “perplexed,” (v. 12) And then they mocked (13) the early Christians.
If the first century church had mockers, so will we. It just goes with territory. The foolish things will always confound the wise. In the end, i would rather be a “fool” for Christ, than “cool” for Christ.
“In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. John 16:33