30 April 2013
We have to move with the times to make the good news of Christ relevant in this drastically different context.
I am writing this 24 hours after the world learned of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's death. And what has become clear in the day since she died at the age of 87 is that this was a woman who divided opinion; admired by some, hated by others. There has been an outpouring of public vitriol for the policies she implemented during her tenure, while other quarters have praised her because they believe she made the country a better place. The polarising views about the Iron Lady are to be expected. But what has been surprising for many has been that for so many young people, Lady Thatcher is simply … irrelevant. When Harry Styles, a 19-year old member of boy band One Direction tweeted his tribute to the former prime minister, his army of fans were somewhat confused. Many of them had never heard of her. "It's Market (sic) Thatcher," one fan clarified. "Something to do with our queen."
Such ignorance stunned many older people; but it made one thing clear – we are living in a different world. Things have moved on. The context has changed. The heroes and villains, the public figures, the things that are important and not important are different now. Thatcher is not on the average One Direction fan's radar.
There's a lesson here. To communicate the gospel to this new world, the stories need to be different. The references need to be updated. We have to move with the times to make the good news of Christ relevant in this drastically different context.
That is what Laurence Singlehurst explores in his article on page 28. He writes: "In a world that no longer understands words such as 'sin' and 'repentance', how can we make the gospel relevant? "It's difficult to know how we can. But it's important that we do; in whatever that context may be. For the School Pastors featured on page 20, the good news means walking alongside pupils. For Jackie Pullinger, interviewed on page 26, the good news is helping to set people free from addiction. The gospel in context.