Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is the Bible Relevant?

I listen to a lot of different radio teachers when I’m in the car. I’ve noticed the one thing the really popular radio teachers have in common is ‘relevance’—they have learned how to speak to what-we-call people’s ‘felt needs.’ This is a buzz word from the 80’s, when psychology began driving church programs and when seeker-sensitivity became the new ethic.

Anyone who has read one of the many “church growth” books on the market today knows that one of the fundamental tenets of a seeker sensitive church is a "relevant” Sunday morning message. But I fear this emphasis on ‘relevance’ is doing harm to the teaching of sound doctrine. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but … they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). Where ‘felt needs’ and relevance become the guiding principle behind the church’s pulpit and programs, does it not imply that the Bible has little to say about current issues?

Zac Poonen says “There is not a single situation that you can ever face in life for which the solution is not found somewhere in the Bible. The answer will always be there in the experience of some Biblical character that parallels your own, or in some teaching of Scripture.” Leonard Ravenhill said: "The Bible is either absolute, or it's obsolete."


  1. Greg,

    Maybe what preachers are referring to as "relevance" is more accurately understood as "life-imparting?" Human beings have an inherant dependence upon life because we are designed to live. Unfortunately, we crave life so much we are not always careful when someone or something makes the claim that it is life-imparting. (Back to the "God-shaped" hole or "God-sized hole)...

    A real problem happens when the ones who should be the most trustworthy end up falling into error themselves (I guess this might include some preachers, sad to say.)

    But, oh, when we finally do experience life and that more abundantly, what a difference! Living becomes thriving!


  2. Thanks Stan. I think the 'relevance' I am referring to is the "self-help" type of teaching. A lot of the stuff I hear on shows like Focus on the Family and Family Life Today is stuff that could just as likely been taught by a secularist. The bible verses they use to support their self-help teachings are like adding flavor but not fundamental.