I was doing some reading in John Walton's NIVAC Genesis commentary today (prepping for an adult Sunday school series that I will be teaching at a friend's church), and I came across this quote by Howard Hendricks:
"It is not too difficult to be biblical if you don't care about being relevant; it is not too difficult to be relevant if you don't care about being biblical. But if you want to be both biblical and relevant in your teaching, it is a very difficult task indeed."
Many traditional churches struggle with the first problem; many progressive churches struggle with the second problem. Most of my students teach and preach in a ministry environment where relevance is highly valued and reinforced. Teachers who get "too biblical" in their teaching are sometimes prodded by their ministry peers to get more relevant - and the implication is that they need to spend less time explaining Scripture.
The average person walking into church does not know how important it is to understand ideas like the Kingdom of God, union with Christ, or justification - three of the most important ideas in the New Testament. Relevant churches often respond by not teaching about these ideas. Traditional churches may teach on these topics, but often fail to help people realize their implications.
What do you think? Is this a problem in the church today? What are some things that you do to try to keep your teaching both relevant and biblical?