I’m pretty sure what Paul meant by “Come out from among them and be separate” was “join them and be relevant.”
“You must make the Gospel relevant to where people are at. You have to speak to the culture.”
I understand the intentions and I’m sure advice-givers are good people. I just feel like puking when I hear such advice.
Saying the church must become like the world in order to attract the world is silly. Scripture says nothing about the church being attractive to the world.
Yes, Paul said he became all things to all people so that by all means he might win some.
Paul is not the church. Paul was a person. I can lighten up some of my personal scruples for the sake of evangelism. I can refuse to die on a couple hills out there for the sake of the Gospel. This is a far cry from saying the church needs to put on rock concerts every Sunday with fog machines, followed by a stand-up comedy routine for a sermon.
The church exists for the edification of believers. Ephesians 4 seems pretty clear on this issue. Individual believers go out of the church edified in order to do the work of the ministry—being all things to all that some might be saved.
But if the church sells out to attract the world, then edification of the believers won’t happen and the work of the ministry will not be done.
The Gospel is an offense. Jesus Christ is a stumblingblock. God chose the foolishness of preaching as His tool. The wisdom of God is foolishness with man. When the church gets embarrassed by our foolish Gospel, we sell out. Even if a church attracts the world by being worldly, what is that church attracting them too?
If there’s no Gospel, and no preaching, and no godly wisdom, then what’s the point? So our seats are filled and our mortgage is paid, but is there any eternal benefit? Is there any edification? Are we calling people to something different or helping them conform to the world they already have?
What you attract them with; you keep them with. People like worldly things. Yes, if you do worldly things you will attract more people. The church’s job is to shine the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Men love the darkness and hate the light. We are never told to dim our light so people don’t hate it as much.
The church is not relevant to the world. It was never intended to be. The church represents something the world knows nothing of. The church is separate from the world. What the church upholds the world despises. What the world despises, Christ (and by implication the Body of Christ, the Church) loves.
The church is a group of people called out, sanctified, and now called “saints.” We are separate. We’re no longer in the kingdom of darkness but in the kingdom of light. So walk in the light. Churches are to make their people shine and then send them out to be light in the world.
Keep your relevance. I’d rather keep the Gospel with all its offensiveness.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are
–1 Corinthians 1:26-28