Monday, March 24, 2008

Guinness on Relevance

By our uncritical pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching commitment to faithfulness, we have become not only unfaithful but irrelevant; by our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant.
-Os Guinness, Prophetic Untimeliness, page 15

In my opinion understanding Guinness' plea will determine whether missional (emerging, contextualizing, whatever title you use) churches are "successful" 15 years from now. If they uncritically pursue relevance or "coolness" at the expense of faithfulness we will be having the same dismissal of the seeker-sensitive movement.

What Guinness is saying in this book is that being faithful to be biblical gospel will bring about our relevance. Here is a question for Guinness' quote at odds with this quote by Stetzer?

"It may sound uncharitable, but we do not mean it to be so. But...many will say that theses shifts, and a book like this, do not matter. They are convinced if you just 'preach the gospel' and perhaps 'love people' that your church will reach people. They are wrong, and their ideas hurt the mission of the church. Communities across North America are filled with churches led by loving gospel preachers--most of whom, if statistics are true, are not reaching people."
Ed Stetzer, Breaking the Missional Code, page 14

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