“Why, if we have the timeless truth of the gospel, do we need to concern ourselves with culturally relevant ministry? Because if we don’t, the message of the gospel gets confused with the cultures of old. The unchurched think that Christianity is a retrograde culture rather than a living faith. Our job is to remove the “extra” stumbling blocks of culture without removing the essential stumbling block of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23). Unfortunately, the stumbling block of the cross has too often been replaced by the stumbling block of the church. Most people aren’t being recruited by other religions; they are being confused by the practice of ours.” Ed Stetzer, Why is cultural relevance a big deal?

Being contextual, relevant, ‘cool’, isn’t intended to remove all the barriers between faith and unbelief, between acceptance and rejection for a non-Christian. What it is intended to do as Stetzer says so well here, is remove the un-necessary stumbling blocks of culture so that people can see the real stumbling block – the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23). If we don’t remove the stumbling block of culture, particularly Christian sub-culture, we’re likely to never allow our non-Christian neighbor the opportunity of being confronted with the cross.

Traditionalism for traditionalism own sake spells the end of meaningful, chatachesis; which spells the end for vibrant, life transforming liturgy. Its not a question of stumbling blocks being entirely removed, only a question of which stone they are going to be tripped on, and which stone for that matter our own ecclesial cultures are tripping on – one hopes daily…