Harold Redd at the Affirming the Faith Seminar in OKC recently said something very worth repeating:
"We need to be far more focused in our Bible study on what pleases God rather than on what God allows."
I fear that much of the so-called scholarship of our day is focused more on expanding our accommodation to culture than it is on learning what God desires from us. Some seem more free to offend God than they do the person they are trying to reach. When "reaching out" to the world becomes more missional than pleasing God, any worldly thing can be justified.
In the emerging church movement, some "pastors" have begun using profane language, drinking a beer now and then, and watching sexually explicit movies, so that they don't appear to be too righteous to others of the world.
Wait! I thought we were to be salt and light! (Matt. 5:13-16) I thought our righteousness was exceed the hypocrites! I thought we were not to be conformed to the world but transformed by renewing our minds (Rom. 12:1-2). I thought we were not to love the world (1 John 2:15-17)!
Well, that's what I get for thinking. These elites have learned that unsalty salt works better than salty salt. Imagine that! I can draw closer to God by pulling further away! Of course, in such matters everything is so muddy, we can't really know anything for certain. Just ask any postmodernist!
I frankly am weary of asking a postmodernist or the public how to be a Christian and how to please God. The postmodernist doesn't know and can't know anything lest he offend someone; and the public changes with the wind. I, for one, am far more concerned about what pleases God. We can know His will. It is not so difficult (Deut. 30:11-20). We are not Christian agnostics; Jesus promised that we can know the truth (John 8:31-32). He has revealed himself in Christ, so that Paul said he had preached the whole counsel of God to the Ephesians (Acts 20:20, 27). Paul knew it well enough to call anyone who tampered with the word of God disgraceful and underhanded (2 Cor. 4:1-3).
The question is not what we can know--we can know what pleases God, because He has told us in His word. The question is whether we are willing to walk in God's ways or whether we will tamper with the word of God in order to accommodate the world.
If we reach out with a bleached out message, we may get a crowd; but they won't be converted to the gospel. They will be converted to a bleached out, powerless human message. I fear in many cases today's form of the gospel makes "Samaritan" who know a little of God but serve other gods. They are ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.