An Inside Look at a New Generation of Pastors: David Platt on Why He Doesn't Need to Make the Bible Relevant (Pt. 5)

CP: What about the hard places, the places where society is really coming against Christian beliefs, how do you maintain orthodoxy there?

Platt: This is where you come back to the foundational truth. We proclaim God's word for what it says. It's the same truth across cultures, across time, and there are certain issues at different points in history that press in particular against the truth of God's word and so it's at those points that we must be faithful to proclaim God's word, even when it is going against what the culture is saying and against what many believe, and even in the church. Some mainstream churches, or those that proclaim Christianity, are shrinking back from truths of God's word. Martin Luther said one of my favorite quotes, he said, "If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, then I am not confessing Christ." He said, "Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proven and to be steady at all the battle fronts besides is near flight and disgrace…" That quote has just stuck with me because there is a battle in our culture over certain issues, whether it's marriage and family, or sexuality, the list can go on, and it's at a point that the battle is raging and the world and the devil is attacking, to use Luther's words. So I want to profess that the truth and the love of Christ at that point most clearly in the culture around us. If I don't do that then I am shrinking back from that which God has called me to do. I want to be faithful to that.

CP: How do you keep the Bible in one hand, preaching orthodox theology, but balance that with being relevant to the young generation and engaging the culture?

Platt: The only thing I would add here is that I don't have to make the Bible relevant. The Bible is relevant. The Bible hits at the core needs of the human heart. God's truth satisfies in a way that nothing else in this world will satisfy. And so I don't have to make the Bible relevant to today's generation. I just have to show the relevance of the Bible to meet the deepest needs of people's hearts and the deepest questions on people's minds. When I'm faithful to proclaim God's truth, it will do the work in penetrating those needs and addressing those questions that most need answering and needs that most need to be met.

CP: What is the balance between evangelism and edification (discipleship) when you are preaching to mostly saved people in the congregation?

Platt: This comes back to preaching as well, because the central message in the Word is the Gospel itself, and the Gospel has applications into both the believers and the unbelievers. When the church is gathered together the primary exhortation from the Word is to the gathered people of God – to the Church. But in a "1 Corinthians 14" type way, there are unbelievers who are overhearing. I know that there are unbelievers every single week in the church that I pastor listening in, so I speak intentionally to them in the process of speaking primarily to the gathered church. As I'm preaching the Gospel, why the Gospel is necessary for building up the Christian life, so that's true for discipleship, it's the Gospel that propels discipleship, it's the grace of God and the Gospel that compels radical beings to Christ on a week-by-week basis in a believer's life. So I am constantly giving to the believer in the Gospel, at the same time, making eye-to-eye contact with the unbeliever who is there and saying there's a reason why the Gospel is worth it. Here's why Christ is worthy of all your devotion. Christ is worthy of your life. Here's why you need to call out to God for His salvation because of His grace toward you in the Gospel. In essence, the message is the same for the believer and the non-believer – the Gospel.