Have some of us gone too far to be relevant? Or have we not gone far enough?
In Scripture we see a lot of effort to make the Gospel relevant to the "real life" situations in which people find themselves. Clearly, it's still "in but not of" the world, but there is that element of "in" -- which is a call to be relevant. If we err, here are three reasons to err on the side of relevance...
"WWJD" - What Would Jesus Do?
We don't have to look far to find the Master of Relevance. Jesus healed people if they needed healing, preached the gospel of the kingdom to people if they needed a savior, taught the principles of kingdom living to people if they needed to know how to live their faith, and trained men to be leaders if they needed leadership skills for his calling on their lives. For Jesus, relevance did not focus on changing culture, but bringing the kingdom into the culture.
Paul Was a Chameleon
If ever a man used whatever "relevant" approach would work at the time it was Paul. He taught that circumcision meant nothing, then circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3). He taught against being subject to the law, then observed it to win approval in Jerusalem (Acts 21:25). He said, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22).
A Positive Approach
Also, Jesus and Paul always took the high road. They presented a positive attitude. Paul didn't curse the Athenians for their many gods, upsetting as it was - he reasoned with them. As always, he took a rapport step with them: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious…" (Act 17:22-23).
Perhaps Francis Schaeffer said it best: "Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting."
Better that we never err, but if we must, God, let it be in a way that attracts rather detracts.
Until every church disciples every man...