I stated in my first blog post of 2017: “The general aim of this blog is to be irrelevant. Annoyingly irrelevant.” You can read more about Irrelevant 2017 here. More often than not, I have to repent of my relevance, and I believe that churches have to repent of their relevance. We have a tendency to like that which is popular, what is shiny, what is suave and lacks all the rough edges of the prophets of the Old Testament or the pastors and leaders of the New Testament.
Most of these guys would have been relatively unpopular in North America. John the Baptist ate locust and honey. Jeremiah spent a large amount of time at the bottom of a muddy pit. King David spent points in his life on the run and pretending to be a madman. Noah built a massive ship and people came from all around to make fun of him (and yes, a worldwide flood actually happened). All because they were given insight into the “spiritual pulse” of God’s people, and pointed them to the glory of God. God did give earthly glory to many Godly men in the Bible, but only through endurance and faithfulness through opposition (like Joseph).
Someone might have said to Noah: come on, you are going to lose the young people. In response, Noah apologized and told God that he didn’t want to build the ship because if he did, he might lose the young people. Of course not. “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)
A good doctor pursues the truth. And that also goes for a good philosopher, historian, or scientist That’s how new findings come about in science and in the medical field. He tells his patient the truth, even if there is backlash. If he doesn’t tell his patient the truth about cancer or a tumour, that patient will die. And so, even hard words must be said in love for the patient. It has often been with popular opinion (relevance?) that truth has been attacked, and even hung on a tree to die on a Roman cross.
So when it comes to Genesis 1 and Genesis 6 and the truth of other Biblical narratives and doctrines, the Church must be where the truth is. Yes, there are many philosophical, scientific, and historic questions to answer. In fact, philosophy, science, and history are really fun fields to study. Especially in light of how they interact with the narratives and truth of Scripture. But even as I persist in doing all this groundwork in the academic fields, I will be forever and inherently irrelevant among many intellectuals, because I am submitting myself to an authority from God. Dude, you can’t prove that scientifically! No, I can’t, but neither can you.
I believe that this point is one of the key points to irrelevance in our age (or any age, for that matter): that is, submission. Both men and women hate authority. They don’t believe, and so they will not submit. This is why the church often rebels against God’s Word. That is why men rebel against the church. This is why young men play around in the “grey zone”: Did God really say? This is why women submit to men rather than to God, and then when they have been thoroughly hurt they go on a rampage for women’s empowerment. This is why the government and the school systems rebel against parental authority and the authority of the church. It all begins with rebellion against the Lord and His Annointed, Jesus Christ.
This is also why I believe that faith in and submission to Christ is the most relevant the church can ever be. When we fear God rather than men, it doesn’t make life easier, but we can see more clearly through the mist to Jesus who leads the way before us, enduring the cross, despising the shame. It is relevant because we are building an enduring foundation, rather than a foundation that will be washed away by invasion and physical destruction or simply a change in popular opinion. We are looking to the city that is yet to come, and we are laboring to see this kingdom of God among us and in Canada. And for that reason, we can lean into some of the murkier matters of the day. Because His Word is our flashlight when all the lights go out.