"The world changes but the word doesnt" – Rick Warren

Rick Warren wrote one of two forwards in Dan Kimball’s book Emerging Church-vintage Christianity for New Generations. I am sure that Dan wouldn’t mind me repeating that he believed he was at the more more conservative end of the theological spectrum of the Emergent Church. So perhaps he isn’t a neo-liberal at all. Anyway, I intend to read his book and blog about it (although I suspect that if Nancy Pearcey’s arrives before I finished it I may go onto hers in the interim!)

Anyway Rick nails his colours to the mast quite clearly when he says the following

In ministry some things must never change whilst other things must be constantly changing. God’s five purposes for his church are nonnegotiable. If a church fails at worship, fellowship, discipleship ministry and evangelism it is no longer a church. Its just a social club. On the other hand the way or style in which we fulfill these eternal purposes must continually be adjusted and modified, because human culture is always changing….

As a pastor Ive watched churches adopt contemporary styles in worship programming architecture, music and other elements. Thats OK as long as the biblical message is unchanged…..

The only way to stay relevant is to anchor your ministry to unchanging truths and eternal purposes while being willing to continually adapt how you communicate those truths and purposes…..

Remember the world changes but the word doesn’t. To be effective in ministry we must learn to live with the tension between these two.”

Now, I have to confess that if those quotes are enough to make Rick Warren a neo-liberal then ironically enough I am one too. But then surely that means anyone who allows a guitar in church must be a liberal (yes I am sure that some of my fundementalist readers might agree!)

I am all for the church adapting and being “all things to all men” BUT like Warren suggests I would anchor myself on certain truths that will be unchanging unless and until I become convinved that the bible says something different to what I have believed.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. His book, Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything was published by Crossway, January 2010. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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