So, should Christianity be “cool”? The answer in a nutshell? NO! But unfortunately that is mostly what the evangelical church has devolved into, a weak church that is drunk on the liquor of success. To them, in order to have success you have to be, well, you guessed it – “COOL”!
I think you can define the word cool in many different ways. If anything is relative, coolness is. What is “cool” to me is definitely not cool to most. And what a teenager thinks is cool today is probably not what the 60 year old baby boomer thinks is cool. In short, it’s all relative.
We see the desire to be cool causing division in churches. We can see this in many forms. One example is in the so called worship-wars. The older generation wants the more traditional hymns played in a traditional way (piano/organ/orchestra). The younger generation wants something that is more contemporary (and I personally am not against a contemporary musical style provided that the lyrical content is just as rich and theologically great as the rich hymns of the past). The problem I see with the contemporary style is that the younger generation doesn’t only want to get away from the hymns, or simply have more contemporary music. No, what I personally perceive is that they want something “cool”. I see that as a problem.
In the past 20 years we have seen the pulpits in our country disappear from our churches. Instead, they have been replaced with a little stool or podium. In and of itself there is nothing particularly wrong or sinful with this (after all, I don’t remember reading about pulpits in the bible – correct me if I am wrong). But let’s look at the motive behind such a move. If the motive was “people don’t like the authoritative look and feel of a pulpit anymore… instead let’s give them a more accessible look”, then I would say, fundamentally, that is a motive which screams out “we want to be cool and not old fashioned”. This is sad, and wrong. Bring back the pulpits, and with them bring back preachers of the Bible!
This past Saturday I went to an Upward basketball game at a fellow Southern Baptist Church in a nearby city. While walking around I was able to see a glimpse of the Youth room. With all of the rock bands posters up and the cool couch and the cool vibes in the room I wondered if real doctrinal truth was ever expounded there. I pray that it is. I also pray that the kids aren’t so preoccupied with the “coolness” of the room that they don’t bother to listen to the truth of God’s Word (if it is actually being presented to them).
Jesus said: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Mt. 5:11) For some odd reason I doubt a person who encounters those things is going to be considered cool in the world’s eyes.
The Hymn writer wrote: “To the old rugged cross I will ever be true; Its shame and reproach gladly bear” (The Old Rugged Cross written by George Bernard). Once again, this doesn’t sound like “cool” Christianity to me.
Let us rid ourselves of a cool Christianity and get back to the faithful proclamation of God’s Word. Let us realize that in our churches the preaching of God’s Word is 100% sufficient to “get the job done”, and not vain attempts to be cool and appealing to seekers.
Seeker-sensitive tactics (being cool, etc.) will never produce real Christianity. Never.