“Even if you’re
on the right track,” Will Rogers once said, “you’ll
get run over if you just sit there.”
of churches are definitely on the right track. Their doctrine
is right. They believe in God’s Word. They teach that salvation
is found in Christ alone. But they’re in danger of being
run over by the barreling train that is today’s rapidly
changing culture. A church that becomes self-absorbed, no matter
how pious, will have difficulty fulfilling the Great Commission.
outreach, it is essential to understand the complex cultures that
now surround us, and be willing to adapt in ways that will bridge
the massive gaps. Yes, I know that God never changes (Malachi
3:6) and that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today
and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). But it was this unchanging
Savior who rebuked the religious people
of His day for trying to put new wine into old wineskins (Matthew
is difficult when we confuse style with principles. We must hold
fast to our principles, yet find new ways to reach a changing
world. Churches must not rigidly cling to traditions and structures
that are simply a matter of taste. To Jesus, forms were simply
tools and sometimes the wineskins had to be replaced.
put it this way in Discipleship Journal: “All believers
are called to share the truth of Jesus Christ with those around
us. Just as foreign missionaries must strive to understand the
culture in which they minister, so we would be wise to study the
emerging postmodern culture, its language, and its customs.”
always be important to know what we believe and why we believe
it. Our message will never change. But we must realize that people
today are not as interested in having the truth proven as they
are in having it demonstrated. They want to know if it’s
hold beliefs that are both true and practical. We should be out
in the world demonstrating what we believe.
comfortable to keep things the same. But Jesus did not call us
to comfort. He called us to reach the world. And to do that, from
time to time, we need new wineskins.
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