Is it good for Christians to be stubborn? Like most universal and complex questions, the answer is yes—and no! Christianity is a movement of two parts. The first is truth. You could also call it values, or perhaps call it theology. You could also summarize it as principles. They are truly sacred—never changing. Then, there are the delivery systems: language, styles, programs. You could also call them methods.
Principles are forever. They never change—should never change. Methods continually change. To summarize, you could say this: Methods are many; principles are few. Methods always change; principles never do.
If you change principles of Christianity, the faith becomes impotent. If you never change methods, Christians become irrelevant.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapters 9 and 10, the apostle provides a long discourse about the pain he feels for his fellow Israelites. He describes them as stubborn people who refuse to receive God’s promised Savior, Jesus Christ. The refusal is mostly blocked by their energetic commitment to methods. Paul says in Romans 10:1-3, “They refused to deal with God on His terms.”
It’s easy for Christians to get caught in this rut as the world and the audience (unbelievers) change.
Tradition, as we see in Hebrews 11, is the living faith of the dead. But Christ-followers slip into traditionalism: the dead faith of the living. Faith in customs. Faith in approaches. Faith in methods. This roadblocks effectiveness in mission.
Think about it: The world changes, and is changing, more rapidly than ever. The Christians who perpetuate “feel-good” methods that have become irrelevant are not part of the solution; they’re part of the mess. The tragedy? They communicate that Christ is irrelevant. The result? The Christian movement takes a wrong turn—on the road to extinction.
But there are always people like Paul, like prophets, calling the church back.