Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New doesn't always mean improved ...

There is no doubt that one of the challenges facing every generation of Christians is how to make the gospel reach that particular generation. In our current generation, many have answered this challenge by trying to change the gospel message to make it more palatable to this generation. This is being done in a variety of ways, everything from using pragmatic worldly methods and gimmicks all the way to the Emergent Church experiment. Some of the biggest mega churches in existence have been built on these methodologies.

But new does not mean improved or better. Just like the old debate, it is not good to create unity by sacrificing truth, it is not good to invent new ways of doing things if they compromise the truth. We sing hymns in our church like "Tell Me The Old, Old Story" and "I Love To Tell The Story" or even "Gimme That Old Time Religion." There is a Christian faith that was "once and for all delivered to the saints." We mere humans dare not trifle with it or change it for the sake of modern convenience. Paul once asked in Galatians "Do I seek to please God or men?" When I was in seminary one of the worst insults that could be attached to a preacher was to be called a "man-pleaser." It described a man who had no scruples and would tell any one what they wanted to hear if it furthered his ends. Better was to be a "God-pleaser" and a "truth teller" and stand a strong and bold stand on the truth of the Holy Scriptures.

Beloved, beware of things that claim to be new. Scripture tells us there is nothing new under the sun. A lot of these new things are just the old heresies resurrected under new names. And a lot of what makes people look successful to other humans are the very things that make them failures in the eyes of God.

Instead, turn your eyes to the ancient landmarks. Look for the old paths. Find the ancient faith "once and for all delivered" and there is a place to anchor your faith. Don't look for new "re-imaginings" of Christ, look to the Christ of scripture. Don't look to the god who is a nice guy but look to the God who thundered truth from the fiery cloud on Mount Sinai and caused people to tremble when He spoke.

New isn't always bad, but it is not always good either. Be careful in our day and age that you don't end up trading a golden shield for a shiny one of brass. We are prone to praise the cheap imitation and call it the real thing. In the end, we may find out, it was worthless after all.

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