Joel James of The Expositors Blog lays out the unintended consequences of adopting worldliness as an evangelistic technique.
Never in its history has the evangelical church been more intentional and more systematic in its efforts to imitate the world than in our day. In fact, worldliness, which used to be a sin-to-be-avoided, has not only become an obsession for the church, today it has become the evangelistic technique of choice.
In the Old Testament, God told Israel, “You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you” (Lev 18:3). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul told the church, “Do not be conformed to this world” (Rom 12:2). Nonetheless, today’s self-appointed evangelical relevance experts tell us that the only way to reach the world is to be like the world: we must talk like them, dress like them, be entertained like them, sport tattoos like them, address human sexuality like them, and so on.
Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own” (John 15:18). Clearly Jesus expected His followers not to be mirrors of the world. However, today in a bizarre inversion of Jesus’ intention, the goal of many evangelicals is to be as much like the world as possible in order to be loved by the world, purportedly as a precursor to evangelism.
In the words of John MacArthur, we are being told that, “If we can convince them that our message poses no threat to their way of life and that they have nothing to fear from Christ, perhaps we can then…reach them…. [We must persuade] them that church is fun, Christians are just like everyone else, and they have nothing whatsoever to fear from God” (Ashamed of the Gospel, 3rd ed., 214). of adopting worldliness as an evangelistic technique.
HT Erin Benziger