Excerpt from an email from me concerning recent changes in the formerly-known-as-college ministry at TFB:
I have been called by God to do one thing. And I will do it. In the past year or so, I have been sidetracked--that's on me--but God's wapped me upside the head with a 2x4 and I am committed to not being sidetracked again. I will continue what we have started with Tuesday Night Bible Study:There are some who feel the need for 'relevant' teaching. I understand the impulse. I disagree with the impulse. Just because one feels the need for something it does not necessarily follow that the "needed" thing is the actual answer. Relevance is not the answer; clear understanding of the Word is the answer. (I wrote on "relevance back in October of 2005 and I repost it below.)
I have no choice but to do as I have been called to do.
- to point and keep pointing people to the Word of God which is able to convict and transform,
- to train them to chew and understand God's Word for themselves, and
- to equip them to point others to God's Word.
Despite the fact that I posted on clarity versus relevance in 2005, I did not listen to my own advice. Too often in the past year or so, my teaching has been unclear and the students were unable to see the relevance of God's Word. They were bored and to bore people with the Word is a grievous sin. I agree with God that this is wrong and I apologize to those who have suffered under it.
Some of these are tired of waiting. To them I am sorry and shame on me.
Others, thinking they want something 'spiritual' and 'encouraging' go and search other pastures for so-called relevant teaching. To them I say shame on you.
Something amazing is happening. Something exciting is happening. Right now, there are the dimmest glimmers in the distance, but when we see them, our hearts leap within us. What was tfbcollege is no more. Something else is slowly growing in its place. This 'something' has been dubbed, SANCTIFY! The change from tfbcollege to SANCTIFY! may well send some people packing for more 'relevant' teaching. This is too bad.
We are committed. I am committed.
REPOST FROM Oct 2005American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
Relevant: Having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand.
Clear: 5. Free from impediment, obstruction, or hindrance
Okay, given these definitions, can we agree that there is NOTHING we can do to make the gospel relevant. The gospel IS relevant because it has a bearing on the matter at hand. That matter is that humans have chosen to separate themselves from God by worshiping themselves instead of worshiping him. There is nothing we can do in ourselves that will remedy the matter. The gospel--that Jesus came in flesh, died, was buried, rose, ascended, and is coming again--is the only solution to that situation. The gospel is ultimately relevant.
On the other hand, too often it is not clear. We crud it up with fancy words, fake rules, easy believism, and a bunch of other stuff. It really is quite simple: believe in Jesus and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). In other words, stop trusting your own resources to get yourself out of the mess, stop worshiping your own marvelous self, and decide once and for all to trust and follow Jesus.
What we need to do is make that clear. There is a place for the specialized language of theology--but those places are rare. Most places need plain language, speaking the truth in ways that people can hear.
"Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."
John 17:17 ESV
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org/