I was recently approached by an elderly saint of God. He had a statement about some of the changes that we were making in the church. As a music minister I hear a lot of people who are concerned about the worship in the church. Many people say, “The music is too loud”, or “I can’t hear the keyboard.” This aged member of teh congregation was worried about something different. His statement was, “I don’t understand why things need to make changes for the new comer. If the old time religion was good enough for me, then it should be good enough for them.”
Many older Christians have the same question, so I would like to help answer the question. Twenty-first century Christianity is 2000 years different from what it was in the first century. Twenty-first century Christianity is drastically different that Twentieth Century Christianity. Christians like to thnk that they version of Christianity is the same as the Apostles had. Even the song says, “If it was good for Paul and Silas then it’s good enough for me.” Nevertheless, there is no contemporary version of Christianity that matches the first century Christian’s.
What do twentieth century church people mean by “Old Time Religion”?
Old Timers are refering to the the superficial running the ailes service of the the twentieth century. These services were built on hype and emotional reaction. They wanted to preachers who scream and turned red in the face. They loved to go to church where hell fire and brimestone fell every service and the altars were filled with weeping individuals. Sadly these weeping individuals made an emotion decision for Christ because they were told how worthless they are and that they needed to accept Christ. On Monday morning the new believer is caught back up in the same sins that bogged them down saturday night.
That is not the Church of the first century. The first century church was under severe persecution, and this weeded out those who were not genuine. Over the past two hundred years few Christians are genuine. Christianity no longers includes a sacrifice.
They did not believe simply because they were told, but as the church at Berea in the book of Act, the early church study out the word of God to make sure what they were being taught was correct. Early Christians were missional minded. They sought to spead the good news to everyone.
Over the last 2000 years the church has changed. God has not changed but the church has changed. As society changes the church adapts to reach the new version of society. For this reason, the church of today is not the church of the twentieth century it is the church of today.
So is “Old Time Religion” really good enough for today? No, today’s church needs to be approached as a brand new generation of Christians. These Christians are the MTV and Internet generations. They will not be reached by ministers who demand loyalty but they want freedom to understand the Gospel. They are not looking for superficial Christianity but something that is genuine.
Today’s Christianity is new and inviting. It is not condescending and condemning. The Twenty-first century church is completely different from the past generation of churches. It is a generation who does not want to be told what to believe, but to seek and discover the Word of God for themselves.