While in the middle of doing some research and study in preparation for a talk at UTC this week I came across a really good article in Christianity Today about the kinds of spirituality that Eugene Petersen believes is destroying the church. I encourage anyone with any interest in church and culture to take the time to read the article. Here’s a quote:

When you start tailoring the gospel to the culture, whether it’s a youth culture, a generation culture or any other kind of culture, you have taken the guts out of the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not the kingdom of this world. It’s a different kingdom…

I think relevance is a crock. I don’t think people care a whole lot about what kind of music you have or how you shape the service. They want a place where God is taken seriously, where they’re taken seriously, where there is no manipulation of their emotions or their consumer needs.

One of the reasons I think a church like Mars Hill in Seattle (pastored by Mark Driscoll) is thriving is because they are very serious about the gospel while not capitulating too much to culture. There is no question that there is a great deal of contextualization that is associated with Mars Hill Church, but it appears this is never at the expense of the gospel (2Cor 5:21). This is where many emerging / emergent and contemporary churches lose their way. They tailor the gospel to culture in unhealthy degrees and, in effect, neuter the gospel of its power.

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