"Relevant"- a word pervasively misused in the church, commonly revealing a manipulation of Truth, intentional or not, to become acceptable, even enjoyable to people.
"Relevant" should define that which is pertinent, or that which connects to the matter at-hand. Sadly, within many Christian communities it has come to mean something very different. "Relevant" now defines that which is simple, easy to comprehend, and something that an individual would want to hear.
Here are some common examples. A brief response follows each example and translation:
Translation: "We want to make sure that everyone likes the message, so we will avoid challenging material and will use cultural hot-buttons."
Truth IS relevant! We cannot make it more so. Furthermore, Truth is challenging; we often do not want to hear it because of what it makes evident. "But all things being exposed by the light are made evident." (Ephesians 5:13) Teach Truth, not relevance!
"We make the Gospel Culturally Relevant".
Translation: "We bend and shape the message (Truth) to make sure that people receive it well".
The human condition is universal, not cultural, and the Gospel, or Biblical Truth is the only solution to the human condition. We can familiarize ourselves with a culture to better relate to it, but the Gospel will always be and has always been relevant to all people in all cultures! Truth cannot be molded or shaped. To do so is to part ways with Truth.
Translation: "We want worship time in Church to sound good and to give people an enjoyable experience."
As opposed to "irrelevant worship?" No such thing exists. If it is irrelevant, than it is not worship. All true worship is relevant.
Many who use this word remain unaware of the accompanying assault on Truth. Its usage signals an attempt at lowering Christianity to meet the people, instead of having people rise to Christianity. It is MAN who must change, not the Truth. "Relevance" ignores this concept.
Beware of the word and use it with care.