Os Guinness on the idol of relevance

Attempts by the church to be viewed as relevant by the world are a lot like a dog chasing cars. It never works, and only makes the dog look silly. True relevance comes from obedient faithfulness to God speaking in Scripture, as Os Guinness relates:

Theologia est doctrina Deo vivendi per Christum - Theology is the doctrine of living unto God through Christ

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One of the major themes of Os Guinness‘ short book Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance, is the following provocative phrase:

“Never have Christians pursued relevance more strenuously; never have Christians been more irrelevant” (p. 12).

Essentially, Guinness says that most “Christian” attempts at relevance end up being trivial, trite, and transient. This relevance is not based on truth but popularity, and thus Christianity today is largely irrelevant in the United States (and elsewhere where the same “relevance” is desired, such as here in South Africa). How many non-Christians listen to Christian radio or watch Christian movies because they are so relevant to the deep and fundamental issues of life?

Here’s a synopsis of the book in Guinness’ own terms.

“By our uncritical pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching commitment to faithfulness…

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