A Relevant Gospel

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by pituophis, May 16, 2006.

  1. pituophis

    pituophis
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    On another web site there is a blog about being relevant in today's church. Someone posted the following:

    "Statistics indicate that around 80% of the teenagers that grow up in the church leave after they turn 18 and never come back."

    My question is: Are these 80% lost? If so, what are we to do about it other that continue to preach the gospel? Is the gospel irrelevant for today? (I believe that if stood up and simply read from the Bible ... it would be perfectly relevant! Unless you were deaf or spoke a different language!)
     
  2. npetreley

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    I don't know if these 80% are lost. However, for the most part, the so-called Gospel I usually hear being preached today is totally irrelevant because it's not the Gospel.

    Ironically, it has become irrelevant in part because many churches focus too hard on trying to be "relevant" to the issues of today. I can't tell you how many times people recommend this or that church because "It has lots of good kid's programs, a great singles ministry, etc." These are good things, don't get me wrong. But they're done out of proportion. Meanwhile, the stuff taught from the pulpit is watered down feel-good garbage instead of solid truth.

    On a related note, I don't know what Christian radio is like in your area. But everywhere I've lived in the past several years, I turn on Christian radio during the day and the programs are about family, politics, and managing your money (supposedly the emphasis being good stewards). Solid preaching is generally restricted to the non-prime-time slots.

    Anyway, back to churches. Maybe the above is why these kids leave. Maybe it isn't. But that's my 12 cents (adjusted for inflation).
     
  3. pinoybaptist

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    I agree with you, npetreley. the gospel(s) beng preached are 'irrelevant' while emphasis is placed on being 'relevant'. Talk about paradoxes.
    Even among most Primitive Baptist churches, the young people tend to disappear.
    Not that their staying may be interpreted as them being elect children of God, neither their leaving or staying away a sign of their being reprobates.
    One PB writer proposed that the reason the youth stay away from churches, PB or not, is because for the most part, they have no inkling of what their parents actually believe.
    I don't know if that is true or not.
    God knows.
     
  4. pituophis

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    To go along with this is the disturbing notion that we in the SBC must get our baptisms up! As if I, or anyone else, can convert a human soul. I wonder if it is some sort of political agenda or numbers based ego thing? More and more infants (i.e. children) are being baptised by SBC churches. Why the rush and push? Who are we racing against? It cannot be against Satan because ALL the elect WILL come to Christ. So it must be a race against other denominations?
     
  5. J.D.

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    The gospel is the most relevant message there ever was or is, even today. The problem of sin, and its solution, is the most relevant thing to any human being.

    We make it seem irrelevant by distracting from it in our churches. Big days, big events, big name preachers, big shows - oh, and by the way, if no one is offended, here's a liitttllee gospel sermonet to validate the rest of what's going on. Even in so-called fundamental churches, the gospel is NOT the focus. We may say it is with our lips, but we do not show it with our schedules and emphasis.

    Just this past weekend I met with a Hylesite church planter who told me in no uncertain terms that if a new church plant expects to succeed, they better have a day care, DAILY youth programs, a play ground, a day school, special services weekly, well-known evangelists and singing groups...and never a word about the power gospel. "People are tired, and want to get rid of their kids for a while" is the way he put it. Oh, he said you've got to do door-to-door soul winning too, but that would be ineffective without the extra attractions. And he plans to fully utilize them.

    So much for the Gospel being the power of God unto salvation, and continuing in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship. Now it's candy and clowns.

    So we keep the kids entertained until they get to be about 18 years old or so, then they leave the church. So then we bring in rock and roll to get them back, and if they come back what do we have?

    If young adults are leaving all kinds of churches, from liberal to fundamental, maybe it's just old fashioned rebellion that is in the heart of man, and has been encouraged by our society to be expressed by our young people. Of course, we recognize that this is all permitted by God, and serves His purpose to and end we can't fully see. Dare we admit that some of our kids are not elect, or at least, not regenerate?

    In any case we must be diligent to preach the true Gospel of man's depravity, God's wrath toward the unrepentant, and His mercy toward those that will come to believe through grace. It is the ONLY message that is relevant to the thirsty soul.

    Sorry, got a little preachy there.
     
  6. npetreley

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    No need to apologize. I appreciate your view.
     
  7. Deacon

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    Is the gospel irrelevant for today?

    Now more than ever before the gospel is relevant!
    Our population is growing exponentially,
    along with it, lawlessness and sin.
    Abounding depravity leads many astray.


    "Statistics indicate that around 80% of the teenagers that grow up in the church leave after they turn 18 and never come back."

    A missionary friend with WORLD TEAM [LINK] works in NYC teaching English to foreign students and shares the gospel with them individually and in his home church.
    When people are out of their environment they are more open to other experiences and more open to the gospel.

    This works both ways.
    Our kids are more susceptible to the lure of the world when they leave the church environment.

    Besides preparing them to deal with it we also need to be intellectually honest with them.

    One obvious err (IMHO) is teaching kids that young-earth creationism is the only option for a true Christian believer (to the exclusion of any other form of creationism).

    Doing this is flirting with danger.

    Rob
     
  8. npetreley

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    I'm glad you qualified that as "to the exclusion of any other form of creationism" since many Christian scientists have succumbed to peer pressure and claim that evolution is consistent with scripture.

    But on to my point. Perhaps you're right with respect to various creation scenarios. But when we know the truth, telling the truth is never flirting with danger. It draws the right people at the right time. It drives away the right people at the right time. And if God has chosen any of those who were driven away, it will haunt them until it draws them in.

    I see no reason to worry about flirting with danger and, as a result, sugar-coat truth when it comes to the Gospel and sound doctrine. Tell it and let God make it work however He wishes.
     
  9. Deacon

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    I disagree.
    How many times do I hear about how the “Purpose Driven” church is unbiblical?
    Let me tell you, kids need purpose!
    Preaching the gospel is fine but to the unsaved…...
    preaching a gospel message in church, Sunday after Sunday, year after year, everybody begins to tune out. It’s not relevant anymore.

    In 1 Corinthians 3:2 Paul speaks of a desire to give “solid food” to those he teaches.
    IMO “solid food” is the relevant issues.
    Teach stewardship! Teach sacrificial purity! Teach holiness!
    And do it in a way that everybody sees that it is relevant in society
    ….and useful for a productive and happy life with God.

    J.D. is complaining about the delivery system, not the message.
    Personally I agree with the church planter.
    If the church “body” can’t meet the needs of the body, it dies.
    Too many churches are weak because they lack the ability to do anything but preach the same message to the same people week after weak :( .

    Rob
     
  10. MRCoon

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    "OWNERSHIP"

    It is hard for people to maintain a connection to something they don't own. As a Leader in my Church's youth group I strive to create this ownership so they have something beyond just the Church/religion/beliefs of their parents. They have something that is theirs and a personal involvement/ownership that lasts longer.
     
  11. pituophis

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    Deacon: ...stewardship! ...sacrificial purity! ...holiness!

    I thought this is (part of) the gospel! I have 66 books of gospel in my Bible and the Holy Spirit can use any of it to increase my faith (faith comes by hearing...).
     
  12. Deacon

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    I was reacting to npetreley's second post where he described the "watered down" gospel and seemed to discourage teaching proper stewardship.

    Rob
     
  13. J.D.

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    No, I'm not really complaining about the delivery system, I'm complaining about what's being delivered.

    We're working in the blind here and the things I'm saying might not apply to your church.

    I'm saying that too many churches that I know of are emphasising growth and activities to the near exclusion of the Gospel (When I say Gospel I don't mean salvation messages only, I mean that whole counsel of God which is to be preached to the church of the living God. The Gospel which is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes). The effectual working of God becomes secondary in these churches. And there's a philosophy out there, in BOTH the emergent, seeker-sensitive churches, and in most of the fundamental churches - that philosophy say that size is what matters, and the one with the biggest church is right and if there are any questions about that refer back to the size of our church.

    I think we should get back to simpler ways and stop distracting from the biblical worship of God and the preaching of the word.
     
  14. drfuss

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    In the OP:

    "Statistics indicate that around 80% of the teenagers that grow up in the church leave after they turn 18 and never come back."

    Years ago, the number leaving the church was much lower. I wonder if only 20% then were actually christians with a personal relationship with Jesus, and the other 60% were just cultural christians who stayed in the church for family or social reasons.

    Just a thought.
     
  15. J.D.

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    drfuss I too have wondered at this very much and have thought on it greatly, but never able to some up with a rock-solid answer. There are many enviornmental things we could point to, but I don't know if that's really the answer. My own daughter left the church when she became an adult, though lately she seems to be turning back to the church.

    Beleiving that God controls all things, I have to fall upon His mercy and love, and trust that it's all working out according to His purpose, and for the good of them that love Him.
     

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