In the last entry I talked about how the gospel confronts every culture, focusing on how it confronts the traditionalist. I expect to expand on that more int the future. But for now I want to focus briefly on how the gospel confronts the progressives.
Many who have accepted the challenge to communicate effectively with contemporary audiences are quite conscious of how traditionalism often mutes or obscures the gospel. Unfortunately, some of the leaders in this effort fail to see how the gospel confronts postmodern, contemporary culture.
One reason for this, I think, is that they encounter the genuine and refreshing spiritual hunger and thirst of many contemporary people. Where Traditionalists see onlysecularized, spiritually deaf people, we — and I am one who continually interacts with postmoderns–find authenticity and genuine interest. They seem uninterested to traditionalists, because they don’t buy pat answers–they want more, and that’s good. Those who truly seek will find.
But some go a step further, and simply reject everything from the past, and embrace everything called “new.”
Was traditionalism judmental? Then the gospel must be pure acceptance!
Was traditionalism exclusionary? Then the gospel must always be inclusive!
Did traditionalism condemns some behaviors? Then the gospel must be tolerant!
Are traditionalists into free enterprise? Then the gospel must be socialist!
And on it goes.The problem is, they don’t want more than pat answers, just a different set.
Because the gospel is more complicated than that. Jesus’ example demonstrates that “being nice” –however the culture defines “nice– isn’t always the same as “beign Christ-like. As C. S. Lewis wrote, God wants to engage our minds as well as our hearts. Sometimes Christ said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” and sometimes he said, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Sometimes he said, “Come unt me,” and sometimes he said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”