Repainting Everything

26 06 2007

goodasnew.jpgWhat happens when God’s moral order collides with immoral popular culture? The answer to that question is apparently up for grabs. Some hold to the idea that the church needs to keep in style culturally in order to “engage” and “connect” on the street level. In practical terms that means to continually modify the image and practice of Christianity to reflect the image and practice of modern society. 

Talk about the tail waging the dog! 

Pop-culture leads – the church follows. Pop-culture doesn’t like the word sin – the church stops using it. Pop-culture likes sex – the church uses it. For example, the Ed Young Television broadcast this past Sunday Morning was part one of Ed’s “hip” series called “Sexual Revolution.” With a king sized bed on the platform as a visual aid he said “Sex is Worship.” He went on to talk about how what people do today is have “little sex” when God wants them to have “big sex.” He used phrases like “I’m going to get me a piece” and “I’m going to get me some of that” (gutter expressions for fornication). Apparently one can no longer “connect” by simply saying that sex outside of marriage is sin according to God. 

American culture is self-centered and consumer-oriented. Pragmatically that means it is better to market Christianity as a product that will enhance personal fulfillment and experience. So if you want to “connect” don’t say fornication is sin and should be avoided, instead say there is bigger and better sex God’s way. Get it? Exploit the carnal desires don’t fight them.  

In other words, find out what people want and give them an outrageously Christianized dose of it. 

Pop-culture wants to bash the churches and justify leaving them… use that passion to build a new type of congregation. 

Pop-culture wants to be entertained… bring on the show!  

Pop-culture likes to feel enlightened, cool, hip, and spiritually evolved… just retool speech, dress, and atmosphere to pander to those feelings.   

Pop-culture embraces homosexuality – but the Bible has all those pesky verses that clearly condemn it. What’s one to do? Just rewrite it (or should one say “repaint it” to stay current?). In fact, the work has already been done. The “Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures” repaints everything just right for today’s Pop-Christian.

 Remember Romans 1:26-27?  The NIV translates it thus:

“26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

That’s just too “homophobic” for today’s culture… so the Good as New translation retells it this way:

God let them go on to pursue their selfish desires. Women use their charms to further their own ends. Men, instead of being friends, ruthlessly exploit one another.”


The whole mess reminds me of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.





4 responses

27 06 2007

Your thoughts are very much in line with what my pastor spoke about this past Sunday. It can be very confusing to know how to testify Christ to a society that refuses to listen unless you use their terms and yet not water down the gospel. I have a tendency to justify my watering down as “being all things to all people”. Then I squirm when my pastor puts it plainly – that there is a God-given absolute for our conduct and we are not to let the world determine what that is in the name of being a trendy Christian. Ouch. The truth can hurt. But when it is straight-up truth, the initial sting turns into such clarity and I feel freer because I know I was letting the world influence my thinking too much before.

27 06 2007
Neal Pumphrey

When your only mandate is to “connect” and people can draw the line wherever they choose, somebody is going to be pragmatic and take things too far. The whole utilitarian mentality among Christians and church planters has me worried. You and I both know that what does the greatest good for the greatest number can be totally wrong.

27 06 2007

A girlfriend and I were discussing just this topic last night – as well as specifically how the church should respond to homosexuals who are also professing Christians…we’re both of the love the sinner/hate the sin persuasion but we differ on if/how to confront the friend (in love of course) with the scripture cited above and the eternal ramifications of continuing to live unrepentantly in sin….it is such a delicate balance – we’re all sinners saved by grace and all of us probably have pet sins with which we struggle. The key difference is we’re actively repenting, not actively living in the sin. No, this doesn’t make us better than our gay friend, it just means we have blessed assurance and we want to make sure he knows the truth and has the same assurance before it is too late.

27 06 2007

Theepiphany, thanks for your post… I’m encouraged to hear from younger Christians (like you) that are willing to listen to their pastor even when it hurts. That is a rarity today. Not that I believe everyone should uncritically accept everything a pastor teaches, but God placed pastor/teachers in the church and they deserve to be taken seriously when they speak. By the way, you are fortunate to have a pastor that is willing to speak “unpopular” truth to his congregation. After all, the Bible is full of unpopular truth from the human perspective. Blessings.

Bro. Pumphery… thanks for your comments. I hate coming off sounding like I’m against everything new that’s going on, I’m not. What frightens me is that so many seem completely unaware of the dangers inherent in the pragmatic approach to Christianity.

Melibru… thanks for sharing. The “special treatment” of homosexual sin is certainly part of the problem. Somehow they are convincing Christians that their “sin” should be thought of differently than other sins. They want us to believe that they deserve special concessions and treatment.
It seems to me that homosexuality is just another sexual sin… like adultery and fornication. I see no reason to discriminate between any of them.

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