Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has a "You may be too fashionable if ..." list for Christians. In light of my recent sermon from Matthew 9:35-38 regarding the harvest being plentiful and almost overly ripe (“white unto harvest”) but the laborers being few, I thought this piece from Tullian (a PCA pastor and grandson of Billy Graham) would be helpful as a follow-up to the Matthew 9 passage. He warns believes that they may be too fashionable if:
-- You look around at church and notice that everybody is the same age and looks and dresses pretty much like you do.
-- You can't stand singing a worship song that was "in" five years ago -- much less singing a hymn from another century.
-- You believe social justice is more important than evangelism, or that evangelism is more important than social justice.
-- Your goal in spending time with non-Christians is to demonstrate that you're really no different than they are. To prove this, you curse like a sailor, drink like a fish and smoke like a chimney.
-- You've concluded that everything new is better than anything old, or that everything old is better than anything new.
-- The church you've chosen is defined more by its reaction to "boring" churches than by its response to a needy world.
-- You've decided that everything done by the church you grew up in was way wrong and you're now, thankfully, part of a missional "community" that does everything right.
-- The one verse you wish wasn't in the Bible is John 14:6, where Jesus says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." That's way too narrow!
Tully goes on to say, “God's house can accommodate many styles. He doesn't have security at the door deciding which sinners are trendy enough to enter. There's nothing wrong with seeking relevance and connections to the world beyond the church. Effective missionaries are passionate and respectful students of the cultures they're trying to reach with the Gospel. They seek to learn which aspects of culture are bridges they can use to share Truth, which aspects oppose Truth and which are neutral. As the Apostle Paul, the greatest missionary of all time, said, "I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22b, NASB).
But Paul never hesitated to deliver Truth straight-up, unvarnished and in your face when the situation called for it, regardless of the consequences. Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don't make a difference by being the same. To be truly relevant, you have to say things that are unfashionably eternal, not trendy. It's the timeless things that are most relevant to most people. ... When the relevance of God's Word reigns supreme among God's set-apart people, we influence the wider culture by expressing His revealed truth with both our lives and our lips."
Quoted from Erich Bridges who is an IMB global correspondent. You can listen to an audio version at http://media1. imbresources.org/files/148/14842/14842-82233.mp3.