“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Fads and gimmicks come and go. Yo-yos, hula-whoops, rubik’s cubes, and fidget spinners were all the rage in their time. I laugh when I think about the clothing and hair styles that were popular when I was a teenager. We all thought we were so “cool” with our mullet hair and blue jeans, our handy combs sticking out of our back pockets. It isn’t just clothing, hairstyles, toys and dance moves that come and go, but prevailing philosophies also. Post World War II, a deathly fear of communism was pervasive in the western world. Today university campuses endorse and promote government micro-management of our lives, including heavy taxation and the redistribution of wealth. We’ve seen a major shift in prevailing moral philosophy also. The western world, guided by Judeo-Christian ethics, saw sex outside of marriage as sinful and homosexual behavior as a moral abomination. Today virtually every cultural megaphone promotes and encourages all kinds of sexual degeneracy. Times change, unfortunately, and not always for the better. Professing Christendom has fared no better. The church has had its share of fads and gimmicks also. There was the Purpose Driven fad, the Prayer of Jabez fad, the Daniel diet, and various other self-help, church-growth gimmicks. Sadly, North American churches have abandoned sound doctrine and practice in order to conform to the prevailing philosophies of their age. I find this astounding. The Blessed Founder of our faith warned us that we would not be accepted by the world (John 15:18-23). “An unjust man is an abomination to the just” says the proverb, “and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked” (Proverbs 29:27). There is no fellowship between light and darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Many forget that Christianity’s distinctive doctrines and practices were absolutely counter-cultural the moment they came into the world. The Jews could not accept that Jesus of Nazareth was greater than the Law or the Temple. Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus was a stumbling block to them (1 Peter 2:6-8). Nor could the Greeks believe in the doctrine of resurrection, which is the center of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 15; Acts 17:32). At no time, however, did the original apostles water-down, edit, amend, or adjust their message in order to harmonize with the prevailing philosophies of their time. Paul’s address to the Epicureans and Stoics in Acts 17 is a stellar object lesson. Almost everything he said was offensive to the philosophical and religious sensitivities of his audience. Some mocked him. Some gave him a polite brush off. Some, however, believed his message to the saving of their souls. May God so empower us to be consistent witnesses to the goodness of God in Christ, faithful custodians of the everlasting Gospel, forever settled in the heavens.