Real Relevance

I am posting this article that my husband wrote which is on our church website. This is good food for thought.


Real Relevance
On Thursday evenings I’ve been teaching on a biblical subject that does not get a whole lot of pulpit time, by-and-large, in churches across America.  It’s a series on the subject of Holiness, Modesty and Separation from the World.  I’ve had visitors to our church remark just how difficult it is to find someone who walks the walk, rather than just talks the talk.  Frankly, it should not be that way in the Church.  I trust that they got a different impression from the good people at Cornerstone Pentecostal.
Somehow the doctrines of Holiness, Modesty and Separation from the World—which were once prominent in many church movements—have fallen away over time to the point where congregations of a mere 40 years ago would not recognize that they had any ties to their modern-day counterparts.  Some of the older folks in these congregations grieve inwardly, but have acquiesced to the onslaught of “progressives” and the latest quest for “relevance.”
There is a new “emerging church” (let’s leave that lower-cased, shall we), that wishes to go to great pains to try to appear “relevant” to our post-modern society.  They tell us that doctrine is not relevant. Yet Paul wrote to the young minister, Timothy to continue in the doctrine, and in doing this he would save both himself, and those who hear him (I Timothy 4:16).  Peter, Paul, John and Jude all made doctrine out to be vital—how then could it not be relevant? This emerging church tells us that holiness is quaint, and that modesty is so very, very yesterday—yet these things are dealt with repeatedly by the Apostles as essential.  “Follow…holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” the writer of Hebrews said (Hebrews 12:14). This emerging church is bent on replacing old meaningful songs and hymns with shallow pablum that teaches nothing.  My Bible still encourages us to be “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.”  Yet many of these new 7-11 songs (seven words repeated eleven times ) instruct no one and have little meaning. Many of them are downright unbiblical—not just shallow.
So—what is so relevant about churches that teach no doctrine, sing shallow songs, exhibit no holiness and are, in almost every respect, indistinguishable from the non-Christian world around them.  My answer?  Nothing.  There is nothing relevant about them.  Without doctrine—there is no gospel (I Peter 1:25).  Without doctrine people are lost in their sins—and sins have consequences (Romans 6:23).  Of course, they downplay all sin as well.  Here is the venue: shallow “expressions of worship,” changing “Pastor Jones” to “Pastor Bob,” replacing the pulpit with a stool and a spotlight, replacing dressing up in your “Sunday best” with the rumpled look and a scruffy four-day old beard, talking instead of preaching the Word, lattes instead of altar calls and weeping in the altar—and it all leaves people with a sense that they’ve “done something good,” yet with the uncomfortable feeling that there’s something more to it than this.  I fail to see the relevance.
To me preaching about sin is real relevance because “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23; 5:12).  Preaching the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is real relevance, because we all are in need of a Savior!  Preaching repentance from sins is relevant because Jesus said, “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).  Preaching baptism in Jesus’ name (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5 and 22:16) is real relevance because “there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  Preaching about the blood of Jesus Christ is relevant because “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22).  Preaching holiness is relevant because without holiness “no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
There is nothing so relevant as meeting people at their greatest need with this unchangeable, unalterable message!   Not everyone is aware of their need of a Savior; and not everyone desires to be saved from their sin and its’ consequence—yet their need remains. Cornerstone Pentecostal Church intends to continue preaching this old-fashioned message—because it’s the only thing that worksThat, my friend, is real relevance.

13 thoughts on “Real Relevance

  1. Perhaps this search for “relevance” is an effort to reach more people (hey, I’m an optimist). And some things aren’t that important – for example, within certain limits, it doesn’t really matter what we wear to church. But I agree that what is preached is of UTMOST importance, and this should not be sacrificed in any way, shape, or form in the pursuit of relevance.

    Hi NewMaldon. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I believe there are many out there that are sincerely trying to reach more people, and I’m not necessarily against “new methods” to do this as long as they are in line with the doctrines of the Bible. I do believe that many people come to church looking for something different, and they shouldn’t get just a reflection of something that they can get out in the world. I do think that what we wear can certainly have an impression on people that are visiting the service. We do try to dress nice because of who we are representing, Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It’s something I believe that shows respect and honor to the One that we have come to worship. The gathering together of God’s people is a special occasion, just as much as attending a graduation or wedding. (of course, a lot of people don’t dress up for these events anymore either and perhpaps that has spilled over into the church). We do not look down on visitors that don’t come dressed up, and they will not be treated any less kindly than we would someone who is dressed up. Hope this all makes sense. Thanks again for coming by today.

  2. This message hit me hard b/c I was recently reminded of how spiritual discipline is to be handled in the church. Things that are watered down do indeed lose their relevance and their effectiveness. Thanks for sharing this message.

    Hi Becky. I definitely agree,with the statement that things that are watered down do lose their effectiveness. Such is the case with God’s Word.

  3. I totally agree with you on the emerging church movement.actually I just finished a book on on this subject called. Faith Undone it refutes this movement. What bothers me is how many of todays young people are being influeneced by this movement.

    Hi Angela. I’d be interested in seeing this book you mentioned. Do you know the author’s name?

  4. Sis:

    I totally concur with this message. The bible says: Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein]. God’s word and His way is always best. It never becomes obsolete or irrelevant. Sure there may be new means and ways to reach the lost, but if they do not line up with God’s word, they’re not worth it. Thanks for posting this. And thanks to you and Pete for standing for truth, holiness and separation. Love you. Keek

    Hi Keek. Yes, God’s Word and His way is always best. I appreciate you and Bub too and the way you have stood for God’s Word over the years. The godly legacy that you’ve passed on to Jeremy will soon be passed on to the next generation. I am looking forward to seeing you and Mike become loving, godly grandparents! 🙂

  5. Hi again-
    After re-reading your article I realize I misunderstood your argument, and also did a bad job of presenting my own. I apologize for that. I think we are on the same side of the debate.
    I looked through your recipes, too, and am looking forward to trying the tilapia.

    Hi New Maldon. Even if you did disagree with the article, I would not take offense because I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, I am glad to hear that you do agree, because frankly, I think we’re right. 🙂 I think if you try the tilapia, you will really like it. My kids are not big fish eaters, but they love this recipe.

  6. Amen! I love the message of relevance and authenticity!!! But applied to the Body of Christ as a whole. Why is it that mainline churches carry the perception that they aren’t? I mean really. It’s a sore subject for me, as we (lutherans in my church) value and study the Bible in relevance and authenticity everyday. We know the difference between Biblical and theological. And receive it as such.

    I’m actually annoyed, as who gave these churches the liscence to run under the name of the ’emerging church’??? Aren’t we all??? Emerging??? All the time???

    It never would have bothered me until I began to see attacks against the ‘church’. seems to me that this would be an excellent way for the enemy to divide and conquer if you ask me.

    thanks for this post… I was beginning to think I was the only one in the blogosphere that didn’t think the emerging church was ‘all that’. I’m all for people finding Christ how they need to, but when it comes to the constant attacks I’ve been reading… well, I’m just sick of that.

    Hi Cindy. I’m not sure what you mean when you say you love the message of relevance and authenticity but applied to the body of Christ as a whole. Does it not apply to individuals as well? As far as an emerging church, I believe the church should be emerging in the sense of growing in our knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Just as a healthy child doesn’t stay in a state of infancy forever but goes on to grow, so individuals should be growing spiritually in our understanding of God and His Holy Word. In this sense, you could say that someone is “emerging”. What I disagree with is those who would like to set aside the Bible and it’s teachings, substituting things that are definitely not scriptural for the sake of what they would consider “progress” or for the sake of numerical growth in a congregation. Does this make sense?

  7. Good afternoon. This is a post that I want to link to when time permits, and comment on in more detail as well. This notion that we somehow have to “be like the world to win the world” is a dangerous one. And while I’ve never taken time to explore the whole “emerging church movement” in detail, my perception is that it’s just the latest attempt to blend in with those who we are supposed to be reaching, instead of being a city set on a hill.

    If the whole world lies in darkness, why are many professing christians so obsessed with being like it? These are strange times indeed.

    Thanks also for finally giving me a name to apply to the light say-nothing jingles that are so commonplace today. “Seven-Eleven songs.” This has been a trend that’s bothered me for some time, but haven’t known how to approach it.

    I’ll stop back when time permits. Blessings always in Jesus name.


    Hi Timbob. That’s a good question you asked.

    If the whole world lies in darkness, why are many professing christians so obsessed with being like it?
    It seems clear to me in God’s Word that Jesus calls his people to be separate and different. Romans 12;1,2 tells us that we are not to be conformed to this world. When those outside the household of faith walk into our churches, they need to see people that have been transformed by the Word of God. May God help us to truly be that “salt” and “light” that Jesus spoke of in the book of Matthew.

  8. Not sure how I missed this post 🙂 Excellent! AMEN, AMEN!!!! It has been a concern of mine that it’s easy to see how some just let the worldly ways absorb them. It happens so slowly and subtly that’s it’s barely noticeable, until one day you “SEE” a drastic change and wonder when it happened?!!!

    I agree…we need to HOLD on to the Biblical truths and standards… maintaining holiness. We are in this world but not of it… just on a journey through it and trying to show others the path.

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