In a recent podcast titled, "How to be the Light of God in a Digital Age", Bailey Mullens and Mathew Swanson, an entrepreneur and soon to be Texas A&M graduate, explore what it means to be a Christian in the midst of constant change. They also talk about Matt's plans for the future, and lastly what it means to embrace innovation and use that innovation to further the Kingdom Of God. For the full Podcast, you can find it on Bailey's YouTube Channel, Created Curious.
So how should Christians respond to innovation?
Well first, let's look at what the Word of God says about it. In the Gospel of Mark Jesus states that,
"No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins." (Mark 2:21-22 ESV)
First off it is important to look at the context. Jesus is being harassed about healing a paralyzed man by saying "Your sins are forgiven" and the Pharisees are saltier than ever. Later, we see them criticize his disciples for not fasting where Jesus retorts with the above verse. In this, he is speaking to the issue at hand but he is also addressing the Pharisees' hardened hearts. The Pharisees are the original traditionalists. They often reject anything new that challenges their current way of life. Yet that is Jesus's whole entire mission. He is there to literally turn the tables on the normal Jewish way of life. He is the innovation.
we see that in today's church all the time. Have you ever seen that church that thinks anything not mentioned in the Bible is inherently bad? These Churches might also make the lines of secular and sacred very clear. The Bible, hymns, and button-ups on Sunday morning are sacred practices. While Social Media, video games, and rap are secular practices and not to be indulged in by a "Faithful Christian". Dividing lines always lead to division. Now don't get this wrong. There must be clear distinctions between following Jesus and following the world. Churches or people who are constantly looking forward may forget that tradition is needed also, and that when we are separated from the root of Christianity which is the Word of God, then theology can often get mixed up into trying to adapt to the world around us.
How about an example.
If a man lost in the desert came to a river to find it stagnant and undrinkable, he may attempt to drink it, get sick, and die. Or, he may choose not to drink it and also die. Similarly, if that river is roaring and the current is moving forward at a speed that the man can't get his hand in the water or he will be swept away. He also may try to drink from the water. Where he will be swept away and die in the river. And if he chooses not to drink, then he still dies. Yet if the water is flowing at a normal pace, it is the man's refuge that saves his life. Following Jesus requires balance. Christians as the People of God must be rooted in the traditional teachings and practices of the disciples. Then, being rooted in that tradition, find ways to innovate and bring people into the church. Innovation was always known by God, and he is asking his people in the Body of Christ to step up in their giftings and change the world. One innovation at a time.