The true church is not about entertainment, show business, making people feel comfortable, or being in any sense, contemporary. The true gospel is concerned about truth, righteousness, holiness, and most of all, magnifying the God of the Bible. We must not be reading our Bibles rightly if we fail to see these things. Listen: "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).
Let us define "contemporary" first of all. As an adjective, the word means, "belonging to the same period of time; of or having to do with the present time; modern." This is certainly not a definition of the "church" in Scripture. "Church" (ekklesia) means "called out ones," or those whom God has effectually called from sin and darkness into the "marvelous light" of the Son of God (Colossians 1:13; I Peter 2:9). The true church of Christ is out of step with the world.
The true nature of a gospel church is spiritual. It is not carnal or worldly. The gospel makes no sense whatever if regeneration does not effect mighty changes in sinners. And what are those changes, if they are not clear lines of separation from the world and its ways? The problem today is our society is saturated with entertainment, and we want that same environment brought into the contemporary church. This is not to say we should not be relevant, for the true gospel is always relevant (meeting the needs of sinners in any age, culture, and time). We are to be "real people who care" (ad) and loving to all men. But that is not the issue! The issue is the gospel. The issue is the message of the gospel.
The gospel humbles sinners, discloses to them their awful depravity, and reveals to them the mighty grace of God in Christ, which alone can redeem them from their sins. As John MacArthur has rightly said, "There can be no salvation for those who aren’t convinced of the seriousness of their sin" (The Vanishing Conscience, p. 60).
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