“Give Me That Old Time Religion” is a song we rarely hear today because few seem to want it. We’d rather hear a rendition of “Give Me That Comfortable and Contemporary Gospel.”
For many, today’s “gospel” has become a smorgasbord from which to pick and choose whatever is self-serving and unconvicting.
We heap to ourselves many new versions of the Bible, mostly because the old seems too hard to digest, takes too much effort, and requires the Holy Spirit to make it real.
The more we grieve the Holy Spirit, the less we have of Him and the less understanding we’re going to have, thus seeking answers through other channels, many of which are sensual and worldly.
That which was “good for my Mother” and “good for my Father” is not good enough for many, because it does not coincide with today’s lifestyles and culture. The result: Many different “gospels” and “Christs.”
Paul warned us of this in II Corinthians 11:3, 4 when he speaks of “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel.”
His fear was that the people’s minds “should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Jesus warned in Matthew 24:22: “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise.” People may say “Lo, here is Christ, or, lo, He is there ...” (verse 21)
He was not only referring to people who tried to impersonate Christ, but also to those who misrepresent Him, presenting a gospel that is not true to the word of God.
We see this in the present-day watering down of Jesus’ words and all of Scripture. “Hell” is just an old-fashioned, antiquated concept. “Repentance” is a negative concept, and unnecessary.
The Blood of Jesus and the Cross are too graphic and gory. The Second Coming is an old wives’ tale.
Not only that, but adherence to the Bible is based upon personal opinion and comfort, so that “sin” is all relative: Couples can live together outside of marriage and still be saved. Same-sex marriage is culturally relevant, thus acceptable.
Music can be as worldly as necessary to gain converts and stir up excitement. The list goes on and on.
The Christ presented today is often very different than the Christ of the Bible, thus offering religious experiences that do not cleanse and transform the heart.
The Christ of the Bible is holy, who taught the reality of Heaven and Hell, and shed His precious Blood as the only atonement for sin.
Jesus taught the truth about sin — its source, its deception, its consequences.
He taught about sexual purity, holiness and godliness in this present world, and the absolute necessity of it for us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
We need the good “Old-Time Religion,” a personal relationship with God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the biblical gospel, the good news. As the song says, “It will do when I am dying ... and it’s good ’nough for me.”
The Rev. Jon Van Vogt is pastor of the Flour Mill Fellowship and director of the Pataha Flour Mill, near Pomeroy. He is also pastor of SonRise Church in Clarkston, Wash. You may email him at email@example.com or call him at 509-951-5351. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.