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Out With The Old, In With The New

One of the greatest marketing ploys in the world is the use of the word “new.”  Marketers know that if they claim that their product is new and different, then they have a much greater chance of convincing people to purchase it.  You can see the evidence of this by the number of products in any grocery store that have the word “new” on the packaging.  You can also see this in advertising for cars, restaurants, clothing, furniture, and just about everything else that is sold.  This ploy is used so often because it works so well, and it seems to work better now than ever before, for we have become convinced that we must have the newest houses, drive the newest cars, wear the latest styles, and always have something new.

This tactic is not only used by those who are selling merchandise, but it is often employed by churches that use the appeal of something new to draw people to their assemblies.  Sometimes this is in the form a new, so-called progressive style of worship.  Sometimes it is the appeal of a new, dynamic preacher who has a new and exciting message.  Sometimes more peripheral things are used to draw people, like new church buildings with facilities for sports and recreation or new programs to help with social needs.  All of these new things have been proven to attract people, so the new mantra of many churches is, “Out with the old, in with the new!”

While we must admit that the appeal of something new attracts the interest of many people, let us realize that God still appeals to us for salvation through the old, old story of the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16).  The gospel truth of God’s grace toward us through Christ and our faith toward Him through obedience has not changed since it was first delivered (Jude 3).  Moreover, the words of the Bible that give instructions and patterns for Christians individually and the church collectively are still the same as they have always been.  There is no new revelation from God that alters God’s will for us.  Therefore, let us acknowledge that the constant call for something new does not come from God, but rather it comes from men who are dissatisfied with God’s old ways for salvation.

Truly, the promise of something new is a carnal appeal, for it stimulates the senses and stirs the emotions.  In our modern, attention-deficit society, we are so over-stimulated that we quickly become bored with old things and need something new to provoke our interest.  Our “been there, done that” attitude tends to make us think poorly of what we already have and seek something new.  We have been deceived into believing the false premise that whatever is new is always better than that which is old.  This trend has affected us to such a degree that we even cast off old spouses in favor of new ones.  No wonder carnally minded men have influenced churches to cast off God’s old ways in search of something new.

The old gospel of Christ lacks this carnal appeal that men crave, so many have rejected it.  Of course, it is possible for carnal minds to be excited about the gospel when it seems new to them.  For example, consider how the Athenians wanted to hear the gospel from Paul because they “used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:19-21).  Yet after they heard him, their carnal interest waned, and most turned away (Acts 17:32-34).  In a modern example, the people of the Czech Republic were highly interested in the gospel of Christ when they first obtained religious freedom in 1992, but today there is almost no interest there at all.  These examples demonstrate that the substance of the true gospel has no appeal to worldly people.  A carnal mind will never be attracted to the spiritual value of the unadulterated gospel, and no amount of worldly packaging can ever save anyone.  Those who attempt to present the gospel in some worldly way are deceiving themselves to think they can ever succeed in saving anyone by their carnal means.

In truth, the only new thing that carnally minded men need is a new attitude and a reconsideration of the old word of God.  Consider Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jeremiah 6:16 – “Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.’  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”  For those who have said, “We will not walk in God’s ancient paths,” the source of their souls’ unrest is their rejection of God’s old ways.  Therefore, let us embrace God’s ancient paths, and let us reject the world’s spiritually immature and carnal view of modern religion.  Do not be deceived into thinking that something is better just because it is new.  In the case of the gospel of Christ, there can never be improvement for the old, old story.

Stacey E. Durham



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