Tradition and the Modern World

Religion & Faith * Ben Deacon

Ben Deacon is a senior management & social entrepreneurship major at Roberts Wesleyan College and a guitarist for ReapR. He is a pro-capitalist with a libertarian slant, looking to depict modern events with a Judeo-Christian worldview.

“Biblical truth and sound theology is far more important for the practicing Christian than the packaging under which it is delivered.”

How is the Bible to be reconciled with modern sensibilities? Are we to reject the contemporary changing world or should our view on biblical truth evolve as the culture around us does? For a young adult who is trying to make Christ the center of their life, this question is bound to be asked either explicitly or implicitly at some point in their life and answered by following one of the camps of “traditional Christianity” or “progressive Christianity.” This article should serve as a guide for the young adult who is distracted by all of this noise between arguing ideologies and is instead concerned with finding truth to ground themselves with to lead a life that results in real spiritual growth.

It is important to note that I’m not talking about worship styles or whether your pastor is in a suit or skinny jeans. Biblical truth and sound theology is far more important for the practicing Christian than the packaging under which it is delivered. When Christian circles
cannot agree on major issues of sin and salvation, there is serious reason for concern and a need for guidance. For this reason it is necessary to break down both major Christian worldviews and
attempt to give a pathway for the average person to find truth.


The traditional Christian sees a world that has strayed from the fear of God and has conceded too many large issues of sin to “secular society.” The loss of a culture that was defined by the Church and by the values of the past is the driving force of this view. Consequently, the
traditionalist will view the progressive Christian as a secularist who is attempting to squeeze a belief in Jesus into a culture that rejects his teachings.

In contrast, the progressive Christian sees a world that needs to make amends for the sins and hypocrisy of the past and focus on the acceptance of others rather than condemning them. A sense of cultural relativism and an emphasis on “gray areas” in Christian morality is the driving force of this view and to them the traditional Christian is attempting to hold the world back to a time where good wasn’t being done even though more people appeared reverent.

Simply put, I believe that both of these views are deeply flawed. Attempting to tie the teachings of Christ to any given time period will always lead to sin and hypocrisy because every time period has its own sins of choice that the Church has to struggle with. For example, the traditional Christian is right to stand against the promiscuity and other sexual sins that dominate modern culture just as much as the progressive Christian has the right to stand against the racism and intolerance that have defined large sections of Christendom for years. The standards of God do not change, so we should continually adapt ourselves to God’s will and not the other way around.

“Attempting to tie the teachings of Christ to any given time period will always lead to sin and hypocrisy because every time period has its own sins of choice that the Church has to struggle with.”

For the young adult who doesn’t know where to go or what to do, I’ll leave you with these three steps to make sure that your life is defined by the saving work of Jesus Christ:


1) Find a spiritual mentor to guide you and correct you;
2) Read theology, even the views you don’t like;
3) Lead others to Christ. Taking on the Great Commission will give you a sense of responsibility to be intentional about where you are placing your faith.