Same Message. Different Language.
For my first eDevotionalI I want to dial in on RC’s tagline“Same Message, Different Language.” I get asked pretty frequently, “So what does that mean?” In fact, our office has actually fielded calls asking, “Uh, what language do you guys speak?” We train our staff to respond with, “No Hablo Inglés! No Hablo Inglés!” Kidding.
The “message” I’m referring to is the Gospel message, aka the Good News. It’s the message that Jesus came from heaven to earth, was crucified on the cross for all sins, was buried and raised from death, and those who repent of their sins, confess Jesus and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead…will be saved.
It’s the message that Jesus is the ONLY way to have a relationship with our Creator. Jesus Himself said in John 14:6 that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father, except through Him. And according John 1:14 Jesus is the Living Word. The Word is not only about Jesus. It is Jesus.
We believe the whole Bible, all 1,189 chapters…and we believe that it’s sacred. We’re not going to add to it. We’re not going to take away from it. In fact, Revelation warns those who add to it. So if the Bible says it, we say it. If the Bible doesn’t say it, we don’t say it. For example, there are Christians out there who preach that it’s a sin to go to movies. Does the Bible say that it’s wrong to go to movies? No. Should we say it? No. Should we be selective about what movies we watch and what we allow ourselves to be exposed to? Absolutely.
So there you have it. The Bible. The Word of God. The Good News of Jesus. That’s our message. That’s what we believe. That’s what we preach.
Okay, we’ve established that the message is sacred. So what’s up with the “different language” lingo?
We firmly believe the Bible is relevant to all ages, races, cultures, times, and demographic regions. It always has been. It always will be. The methods by which we deliver the message of Jesus are not. We refuse to dilute, ignore, or change the Word of God, but we have the responsibility to communicate the Word of God in a way people can understand.
If our culture or demographic shifts then our methods of sharing the Gospel need to shift. To be an effective mouthpiece of the Gospel requires us to deliver the message in a relevant way to the people and culture we are trying to reach.
- “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” ~1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)
Another translation says, “I have become all things to all people that by all possible means I might save some.” In other words, we gotta be willing to do whatever it takes (minus sin) to reach people! And you know who did thisbesides Paul? Jesus. He used parables and metaphors that His culture could understand. He hung out with sinners. He spoke their language.
What did Jesus tell us to do? Go into all the world to preach the gospel and make disciples. He commanded us to be fishers of men. Well, you have to use the right bait to catch the right fish.
This, of course, always bring up the question, “What about being worldly?” Is it “worldly” to use comedy, video, loud music, or even technology to deliver the Word of God? In general, NO. If the video, comedy, music, etc. has content that is contrary to Scripture…then YES! Hey, let’s not forget that the famous hymn “Amazing Grace” originated as a bar tune. Has God used it? Yep. Can God use Colton Dixon on an American Idol platform? Yep. Can God use a donkey? Yep. Can God use a long-haired preacher in a video featuring a Black Eyed Peas song? Of course. He already has.
The message is sacred. The methods are not.
On the Rock,