Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Philosophy of Gospel Tracts - Part 4

This is Part 4 of a series.  The previous parts to this series can be read here.

The next question that I would like to discuss is:  “How important is cultural relevance, and is there a “silver bullet”?

In the last decade, the term “cultural relevance” has become quite a buzzword.  Many churches and ministries have used the term to try to convince people to attend their church, conference, concert, etc.  On the other hand, some have lambasted the term as a sure-fire sign that someone is a liberal compromiser.  I would like to examine the meaning, the misuses, and the merits of the term to see how important cultural relevance is (or isn’t) in the writing of Gospel tracts.

The Meaning Of The Term
So, what exactly IS cultural relevance?  Let’s take one word at a time, then put them together.  Cultural means “relating to a certain culture”.  Relevance means “the sensible or logical connection that one thing has with another.”  So cultural relevance is “the sensible or logical connection that one thing has with a certain culture”.  In other words, to be culturally relevant is to make a logical connection between an idea and a given audience.  In means to show a certain group of people why an idea or product is right for them.  If we are culturally relevant preachers of the Gospel, it simply means that we present our message in such a way that it connects with the people to whom we are ministering. 

Taken at face value, the term “cultural relevance” is a perfectly legitimate and even a wise approach to ministry.  After all, does anyone preach with the goal of making the message as disconnected and uninteresting as possible to his audience?  Why then has the term become so repulsive to some fundamental Baptists?  It might have something to do with the next point.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I picked up a copy of the Phnom Penh Post today.  I usually don’t buy this paper, but this one had an 8-page insert inside, a “magazine” for Cambodia’s youth.  The topic of this particular issue:  youth and religion.  On the back page, one of their reporters (I think he either IS cool or was trying to BE cool…not sure) wrote an article called “5 Cool Things”.  I think the point he was trying to make was that there are cool idols, icons, and items in every religion.  In fact, I think by recognizing 4 of the world’s main religions, he was trying to say that it’s cool to be cool with religion.  Gettin’ chilly yet?

Besides learning how cool religion could be, I also picked up some good news and some bad news out of this article.