Does the church need to change with the times? Not if the church holds the truth; the unchanging truth of God needs to be applied to man’s changing times as the measure or yardstick whereby men and events are to be judged. ~ R. J. Rushdoony
The entire premise of outreach in the modern megachurch is that Bible teaching must be adapted to changing times. Today’s church must compete with the luxury and entertainment of modern society, so we’ll hear about “short attention spans,” the “sound byte society,” and how “today’s pastor” should preach messages that encourage “today’s Christian”—the Christian who’s too busy for God’s Kingdom.
However, if God is unchanging, and we are born of His Spirit, then redeemed men and women must be unchanging in terms of their culture but changing in terms of God’s image. In his letter to the Roman church, the apostle Paul stated this in plain terms:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ~ Romans 12:2
The priority is clearly on the comprehensive will of God—good, acceptable, and perfect—with no effort put towards conforming to the will of men and society. Therefore, what need is there for watering down the message? If they are God’s people, they must know that a love of the world places a question mark on their salvation:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. ~ 1 John 2:15
The Scriptures are clear that the central antithesis for every Christian is a love of the world, and conforming to it, versus proving and doing the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God:
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. ~ 1 John 2:17
As God’s people, we are given His revelation so we might conform to the will of God in heaven in order to fulfill that will on earth; and we can’t do that if we’re overly attached to the world and its ways.
The Good News of “Little Commitment”
Yet, the modern pastor says, “How can an ancient text be completely relevant to a modern world? Times change, and we need to make the gospel relevant to the felt needs of people.”
The mistake in reasoning here should be obvious. As faithful ministers, we simply do not begin with the primacy of man and his environment but rather with God and His truth and how that must be applied to all of man’s life. Otherwise, what gospel have men believed, and how can they avoid dictating to God what they want if the gospel preached to them encourages them to do so?
Whatever message men hear when they walk into a church for the first time will have to be the message they always hear throughout their attendance. You cannot introduce them to a man-centered gospel of little commitment and then later bring in the real gospel of total commitment—the one that requires they become a living sacrifice:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. ~ Romans 12:1
Anxious to Please Him
Maybe the modern pastor, desirous of salary and a large congregation, underestimates “today’s Christian.” Maybe today’s Christian is willing to hear the truth. Regardless, it matters not what men say or how they respond. It matters only “What saith the Scriptures.”
The Word of God judges our times, and therefore, it will make clear to us just how much WE have “changed with the times.” The Word will also serve as a sure guide to repentance and return to godliness:
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. ~ Psalm 19:7–8
We should not rejoice that we have heard a gospel that pleases our ears but rather that God has graciously granted us knowledge of what pleases Him. Shouldn’t the Christian heart be anxious to do so?
 R. J. Rushdoony, A Word in Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life, Volume 2 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2011), p. 127.
- Chalcedon Editorial