FEAR OF CHANGE

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THE FEAR OF CHANGE

 

RAYMOND GLENDINNING

 

        No one likes change!  I remember finding the first gray hair on my head; I couldn't get it pulled out quick enough.  Now if I were to pull the gray, I would be bald!  Time not only calls for, but demands change.  If all that changed was the color of my hair, then I could live with that, but as you know that is not all that changes.  I'm not as slim as I used to be, not as fast on my feet (or my mind) as I used to be, and those ten minutes (reviving) naps, now turn into hours.  The 1:00 a.m. bedtime hour now sounds better at 11:00 p.m.  Of course I could react to all this change by becoming a member of the "mid-life crisis" club, but that still doesn't solve the problem.  To make it, I just have to accept change.  That does not mean I have to like it, but since it is outside my control I will just have to learn to live with it.

 

            In the church there are changes taking place.  I am not talking or considering changes that seem to be doctrinal.  I am talking about the cosmetic changes.  You see, it is not within anyone's power to change the doctrine.  That is God's business and if He wants it altered that's fine.  But since it says in His word His ways are unchangeable, I don't expect His plan for man's salvation to be changed on dot!  However, methods are changing.

 

            Church buildings are not what they used to be (remember the days of no air conditioning, or even worse, remember the days of two-hour services).  Church meetings have changed.  Remember the times we had two-week (that is as far back as I go) gospel meetings?  Now we read of churches having one-day meetings, some of which are on Sundays which really doesn't make it much of a special occasion.  They just give the preacher the day off, and bring in a special speaker for the day.  Some of the songs we sing are different from what we are used to, and some even put them on overhead projectors instead of using songbooks.

 

            People today don't dress up the way they used to to go to church (remember those special Sunday clothes?).  Preaching also has changed.  Some preachers have got away not from book, chapter and verse, but the way they use book, chapter and verse.  Instead of using numerous texts that people left not remembering, some preachers now use a handful of texts, but they explain them in such a way they play on your spirit the rest of the week.  Leadership within the church has changed.  Elderships have moved from being a board of directors to being shepherds, and caring for the welfare of God's people. 

 

            How do we react to all this change?  There are some who go into "this is all new, and we have never done this before" crisis.  They get all upset and dig their heels in, also challenging someone to drag them into modern times.  They seem to forget that they at one time were the agents of change.  We may not like all the changes we are beginning to see, some even make us uncomfortable, but the fact is change is inevitable!  Methods of proclaiming the unchanging gospel have, and always will go through periods of change.  I, like you, have witnessed methods that overstepped the boundaries laid down by God, and they have flourished for a while, but then because a Source of life were not in them, they died their death.  Let us all give God the credit for "snuffing" out the methods that do not meet with His approval.  He is still in control!  Let us also realize that change does not mean one is on the slippery slope of apostasy.  I have heard it said many times that "all this changes is leading the church astray." 

 

            Have the changes that you have made over the years led the church astray?  Why then make the judgment on others who have just continued what you and others before you begun?  Surely they love the Lord and His church as much as anyone before them, or why else would they have stayed with it?  The only thing threatened by the change of methods in proclaiming God's word is our traditions and our comfort zones, and in the scheme of eternal things they don't amount to a "hill of beans."  If we have book, chapter and verse, then speak up and speak out in opposition to the changes that are not scriptural. But, then, if we only have "well, I don't like it," be like me with my gray hair and realize, having it beats the alternative of not living long enough to go gray, or just going bald!  Change beats death!   

*Raymond is the minister for the Meridian church of Christ; Meridian, MS.
-July, 2006


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