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Friday, May 17, 2013

Times, They are a Changing

Change! It's an alarming trend in the Church. Presidents have been beating us over the head with it for decades. The intimation is that change is good. Change is different, not necessarily good. Yet, it conjures tantalizing images of progress, new, and better.

Change gives the impression of accomplishing something, and being busy, but with little regard to the end product. What is it accomplishing? Politicians have lathered us with it for so long that the word is now cliché. Tentacles of this dogma infiltrate the Church. We drift more and more toward the world in our attempt to be relevant. Slapping a thin coat of Christianity on secular practice doesn’t make it right. In fact, it makes the practice worse because we muddy the Gospel again.

The late Brennan Manning said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” We accomplish this by imitating the world rather than Christ. We accomplish this by embracing change in the guise of living a true Christian life…all of the time…in every situation.

Change isn't necessarily good; it's just different. No more than loud translates to quality when it comes to worship. While one’s intent may be pure, our assessment of cultural need is generalized, softened, and neutered. Society is a mutant that equates looking good with being good.

I'm going to shock you.

Some things don't need to be changed. Of Christian tradition, keep what works applying it to the culture in which we live. This is the best way to reach the world. Too often the traditions that have built the church are pooh-poohed by popular church culture. It's often done at the expense of the older Christian. I can't tell you how disappointing it is to attend conferences where the entire focus is on calling the youth to service while completely disregarding an auditorium full of middle-aged and older saints who are perfectly willing and able to serve. This is disrespect to the very people who are responsible for the survival and continuation of the church they’re trying to change!

It’s the antithesis of unity. Preferring one generation over another is contrary to Scripture, demeaning, and disrespectful.

Rather than to worship change, it's more important to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Yes, Jesus was a boat-rocker; He challenged false religion and hypocrisy (not Christianity); He challenged religion scholars (again, not Christians) who knew better but lied to people. He ushered in a whole new way of life because that was His mission. We are to follow and complete what He started. We have ten thousand ways to accomplish this biblically and the freedom in which to achieve it. We do not, however, have the freedom to further the Gospel by bashing tried and true traditions and devaluing those who came before us. It is wrong to put down the old songs, old saints, and old ways making these precious pillars obsolete before their time.

You are here today because of them.


Jenny M. said...

I agree. It's especially troubling when younger people (and some my age) bash hymns as totally out of touch and unnecessary. I still see older saints respected and being useful, but older ways of worship are all but abandoned. I wish I had something more cogent than that to say tonight, but I appreciate your heart.

Deborah Vaughn said...

Jenny: I share some of your experiences, especially in worship. I pray that God will bring unity so that we all value what the other is contributing; we're all on the same side.

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