In an attempt to effectively communicate the gospel message in the modern age, I have often heard people suggest that we need to make the gospel more relevant. While the intention is to make the gospel more accessible, this suggestion can infer that the gospel is no longer adequate or compromise the integrity of the message.
I hold a strong conviction that the gospel is always relevant and entirely adequate with its message transcending time and culture for all generations! The only inadequacy it faces is our ability or inability to communicate it effectively. This is the space where the relevance of the method often gets confused with the truth of the message.
We can attempt to translate the message, which runs the risk of changing its form and altering its original meaning and intention.
We can attempt to transfigure the message, which runs the risk of embelishing parts to appear more attractive or palatable to our audience.
We can attempt to transpose the message, which transfers it to a different place or context without changing its original state.
The word transpose is most often used in the context of music to describe the process of changing the key or the sound of the music while remaining true to the structure of the original score. A thoughtful transposition of a piece of music preserves the integrity of the original compositon, compliments the gifts of the musicians performing the arrangement, and makes a meaningful connection with the target audience.
When it comes to effectively communicating the gospel today, the idea of transposing the message, like with a piece of music, seems to fit well and resolves the conflict between the message and the method; preserving the integrity of the former while promoting the innovation of the latter.