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Friday, May 11, 2012

Hooray for irrelevance!

I recently read in a magazine article a suggestion that an important part of preaching is making it relevant to the congregation. Such suggestions irk me, and I can't let this one pass without comment. It is not the gospel that is irrelevant and our lives that are, but the other way around. The gospel is truly relevant, and our lives are mostly irrelevant. It is the task of preaching, and of Christian proclamation in general, to make our lives relevant to the gospel. A focus on relevance reflects how easily we are seduced by the consumerism and narcissism of our culture, turning the gospel preaching into glorified advice columns. Advice is plentiful and cheap, and can be found almost anywhere, and often it is pretty good advice. The good news about Jesus on the other hand is found in few places, and is more precious than the finest jewel.Of course Christians have always sought to communicate the gospel effectively to those for whom it is strange, inviting them into the gospels relevance. But the distinction between these two is important.