The cry for revolution and drastic change on the part of God’s professing children is not new. The devil tried to revolutionize heaven. He not only failed in his efforts but he also brought eternal damnation to himself and his co-revolutionaries.
At Satan’s suggestion Adam and Eve tried to revolutionize God’s law in the garden. God had said that to do so would result in death, – “… And it was so.”
As the dawn of world history took shape, Cain chose a revolutionary approach to God. Today we would label his bloodless offering as modernism. Cain was an ancient modernist, and Scripture testifies that his works were evil. Abel chose God’s designated approach by the shedding of blood, and his works are declared to be have been righteous and acceptable unto God.
Centuries of reckless misapprehension of the seriousness and finality of divine injunctions have followed those early revolutionary acts, and according to biblical predictions this trend will continue and grow worse and worse to the end of man’s day on earth.
In the first chapter of Romans we read of heathenism to its lowest degree. The no-return depths to which those who once knew God had fallen came from the revolutionary efforts to “change the glory of. .. God” and to “change the truth of God into a lie.” Romans 1:23, 25.
Harry Emerson Fosdick, 20th century modernist, changes both the glory of God and the truth of God when he suggests that it is virtually vitally important that every generation re-examine God, and that as man advances he must leave primitive concepts of God behind. The God who keeps a record of the good and bad deeds of men, and the God who accounted for everything man could not comprehend or control, he declares to be quite dead.
A Dr. Harold Walker changes the doctrine of a Bible hell when he declares that “I believe in hell, I have been there on a number of occasions. Our sins find us find this out and leave is burning with shame.”
Neither are the Mennonites impervious to the mania for change.
Using coffee cake and coffee for communion in a Mennonite communion service instead of the divinely instituted bread and fruit of the vine is one of the ridiculous changes recently brought to our attention.
A young student of theology (now an ordained Mennonite minister) argued in our home that we might well substitute something like shining each other shoes for the divinely instituted ordinance of feet washing. His contention was that if our Lord were here today he would choose to have us do something more in keeping with our 20th century culture.
The wedding ring is being substituted for the Christian woman’s veiling because it is understood better and it is more significant to our present day culture. Thus, an ordinance of divine origin is rapidly being replaced with an ordinance of heathen origin. A Mennonite missionary in Vietnam wrote a letter to the president protesting the United States military involvement in that country, and declared in his letter that he feels compelled to identify himself with the cause of the other side. This means that this missionary is identifying with the communist side which is a drastic change from the “nonparticipation” viewpoint of the Scriptures and the longtime position of the Mennonite church.
Traditionally the Mennonite church has shown biblical respect to the government by counseling our young men to register at the call of the nation and offer their time in service for some type of consistent alternate service. General conference assembled at Turner, Oregon this summer change this biblical position and passed a resolution to support draft resisters
There has been in the Mennonite church a demoralizing and wicked change in patterns of dress. When people are more ready to accept the sensual designs of the immoral, hell-bound designers of immodest dress than to adhere to the biblical immodest patterns of the church they belong to the world rather than to the church, and surely can hope for nothing else but to land at the same destination as the world.
Change can be good and right if the changes we experience and practice detach us from the world enslavement and bring us into conformity to God and the unchanging, eternal principles of His Word. This kind of change we covet for all people.
In thinking of the mania for change today perhaps we should ask the same searching question Jeremiah asked apostate Israel centuries ago… (Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?” Jeremiah 2:36
Aaron M Shank.