“All things to all people?”


Source: Christian Post
May 25, 2010
By Tullian Tchividjian
(Rev. Tchividjian is the grandson of Billy Graham, and pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

TchividjianBecoming “all things to all people” does not mean fitting in with the fallen patterns of this world so that there is no distinguishable difference between Christians and non-Christians. While rightly living “in the world,” we must avoid the extreme of accommodation-being “of the world.” It happens when Christians, in their attempt to make proper contact with the world, go out of their way to adopt worldly styles, standards, and strategies.

When Christians try to eliminate the counter-cultural, unfashionable features of the biblical message because those features are unpopular in the wider culture-for example, when we reduce sin to a lack of self-esteem, deny the exclusivity of Christ, or downplay the reality of knowable absolute truth-we’ve moved from contextualization to compromise. When we accommodate our culture by jettisoning key themes of the gospel, such as suffering, humility, persecution, service, and self-sacrifice, we actually do our world more harm than good. For love’s sake, compromise is to be avoided at all costs.

As we have already seen, the Lordship of Christ has a sense of totality: Christ’s truth covers everything, not just “spiritual” or “religious” things. But it also has a sense of tension. As Lord, Jesus not only calls us to himself, he also calls us to break with everything which conflicts with his Lordship.

In an article titled “Calling Christian Rebels,” journalist Marcia Segelstein describes the cost of being a Christian in our current culture: “It means taking unpopular stands on highly charged issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and divorce. It means risking derision, humiliation, and scorn. It means looking at the way things are and-when they undermine the Word of God-challenging them.”

In this sense Christians will often be troublesome to our culture. Devotion to God’s authority will bring us into conflict with any authority that challenges his. Loyalty to God’s standards will inevitably cause us to clash with the standards of this world.

In seeking to “engage” and “connect,” Christians must remember that God hasn’t called his people to be popular. He has commanded us to be faithful, even in the face of mockery, criticism, and persecution. The truth is, many in this world will not take kindly to those who follow Jesus, as Jesus himself pointed out (Matthew 5:11). Since he told us the world would hate us, something’s dangerously wrong if we achieve popularity with the world. Contextualization without compromise must be our goal….

The rest of the article may be found here.

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