Water the Thirsty, but Not the Gospel

I have a playlist on my iPod called “Sermons To Keep Listening To.”  These are classic messages and teachings that will be helpful to return to again and again.

This morning I listened to a message given to leaders at a gathering of the Acts 29 Network, a church planting group based in Seattle.  It will definitely make the playlist.  It’s called “Breaking the Missional Code” by Ed Stetzer, who recently published a book of the same name.

Lots of great stuff in the message.  One thing that really gripped me was his explanation of the need to contend & contextualize the Gospel.

To contend for the Gospel means to work for its advancement and defend its purity.  It means to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ and not let it be twisted or diluted in order to keep from offending people.

To contextualize the Gospel means to answer the question: What would a biblical church look like in my local community?  It means speaking the language of the local people and ministering to them in a way that they can understand and relate to.

Stetzer points out that many churches go to one extreme or the other.  Some do a great job of contending for the Gospel, but they’re either so mean and unloving that no one cares what they have to say, or they’re so outdated, isolated, and antiquated that no one understands what they have to say.

Other churches do a great job of contextualizing the Gospel, but they lose their anchoring in Scripture and put cultural values on a par with or even above biblical values.  Non-Christians love to be a part of these churches–but they never come to know Christ as He really is.

What a challenge!  To contend and contextualize is the key to breaking the missional code.  Definitely a message to keep listening to.

Published in: on February 9, 2007 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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