TO CHANGE OR NOT TO CHANGE?
To Change or Not to Change?
By Dennis (Skip) Francis
There has been tremendous pressure applied in recent years to change the message the church preaches, to change the methods used for getting the message across, and to change the moral ground on which the church stands.
The agents of change say that the church and it's message has become irrelevant, and for it to become relevant again, change must occur. Talk seems to center around such issues as "tolerance," and "presentability." It is suggested that the church should become tolerant of certain types of behavior or attitudes or that the church should become more presentable to society to be accepted by more of that same society.
In religious issues, change is good when it brings us closer to God and his ways. Change that takes us away from God and his teachings is, of course, bad.
The apostle Paul, speaks about how some changed to become closer to God. "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17-18). Changing from slaves of sin to slaves of righteousness was good.
Paul also wrote, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:6-7).
The Galatians had obeyed the gospel but had changed and were turning away from Jesus Christ. In Galatians 3:1, Paul says to them, "Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth." The Galatians had changed, but it was not good change. Further, those who were responsible for their change were called "perverters of the gospel."
There are good changes and some bad changes. Are the changes that modern-day critics of the church desire good or bad?
Many today say that the church must become more tolerant. Tolerance, in the mind of some, means non- judgmental. To many, being non-judgmental means never saying that anything is wrong, except, of course, saying that being judgmental is wrong.
In Luke 13:3, Jesus says, "But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" and illustrates for us that he is not tolerant of sin! In Luke 19:45-46, we read how Jesus went into the temple and drove out the moneychangers, and then says to them, "It is written, My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." This also illustrates that Jesus was not tolerant of those who defile God's house.
Not only was Jesus intolerant of some things while he was on this earth, the Bible tells us that he will not be tolerant when he comes again. In 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Paul tells us that Jesus will come with "flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel." Jesus is most decidedly not tolerant of those who do not obey the gospel!
God's Word does teach tolerance, but not tolerance of sin. Rather, it teaches tolerance of people, not their behavior. God does not desire that anyone should perish, but that "all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).
What about the presentability of the church and it's message? Should that be changed?
Most of those who advocate changi
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