Do we need to make God relevant?

I’ve been thinking a lot (or rather, God has been asking me a lot through prayer) about the notion of relevance. I think the Church is obsessed with being accessible and relevant in today’s culture. It is important to be relevant, of course. But how relevant do you make something before its whole meaning and purpose changes? At what point do you say “OK, I’ve made this as relevant as possible?”.

Can a message of hope, love, grace and freedom ever be morphed and changed to be more relevant and accessible?

Your answer is probably not – and so is mine.

Yet the way in which we communicate that message can be made relevant and accessible according to people group, culture, geographical location etc etc. Can’t it? I guess it can, but what happens when you labour the ‘relevance’ and ‘accessability’ checkbox so much that the present is overshadowed by the wrapping?

I think through history, the Bible has shown that it is God who reveals himself. In other words, he makes himself relevant through divine revelation. Some may, at this point, be worried about where I’m going with this. Am I a Calvinist? No. Am I an Arminian? No. All I’m saying is that the Bible shows that God does the revealing, and people get the message.

I mean, the incarnation, surely, is the best picture of God making himself relevant. Becoming one of us in order that we could understand God.

There’s so much I could say about that – but even that one single statement is enough to blow one’s mind.

In that case, then where does that place all our ideas on relevance, ministry programmes and other such things that the Church harps on about time and time again?

Seems like another tension again – making sure we keep the main thing the main thing whilst ensuring that we keep the Gospel message open to all.

What do you think?

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • Well put!  Indeed, there is a subtle but dangerous evil that lurks in the “relevance” pond.  In fact, one could argue (I do) that in our search for relevance, the outcome is frequently that we succeed only in robbing God of His glory, resulting in … dare I say it … irrelevance.  In seeking to appeal to the world, we merely become like the world.  In short, we lose our saltiness.  To wit:

    http://www.philippianjailer.com/2011/10/irrelevant-god.html

    • Great to hear from you Jailer! You should consider another post on here sometime soon! 🙂