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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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HAS GOD CHANGED HIS MIND?

Nelson Mandela said in A Long Walk To Freedom, “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”  The church of Christ would do well to take note of Mandela’s statement as we enter the 21st century with all its emphasis on the new and the different and the changing.  The constant and rabid emphasis on change has led some even the church to be suspect of anything that is old.  But wise people will be suspicious of that kind of suspicion, for the Word of God itself is old and getting older!  Older, but not obsolete.  Almost 2000 years ago the writer of the boook of Hebrews penned one of the most powerful statements ever made about Jesus Christ, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  This verse reminds us that not one single, solitary fact, command, or promise of the gospel has changed.  While means and methods of spreading the Word come and go, the message of God always remains the same.

Willard Collins once warned, “A lot of preachers try to find something wrong with the Bible.  When they can’t find anything wrong with it they try to find something new.”  (Madison Church of Christ, Nashville, 10/18/97).  Many have indeed seen “New” things in the Bible.  The result is a new and improved “strait and narrow way” that is much broader and wider than the one Jesus talked about in Matthew 7:13-14.  This new way accommodates many who found the old straight and narrow way much too restrictive and uncomfortable.  Instead of the one body, one Spriti, one hope, one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, and one God we read about in Ephesians 4:4-6, a kinder and gentler and more tolerant religion now offers a plurality of choices in worshiping God with the soothing assurance that one choice is as good as another.  Instead of worship in spirit and truth as Jesus taught us to do in John 4: 24, some have turned worship into an entertainment event, with the primary consideration being what pleases people instead of what pleases God.  In noting Paul’s directions concerning the role and work of women in the church (to dress modestly, learn in silence and submission, and to be devoted to good works) as described in such passages as 1 Timothy 2: 9-15 and 1 Timothy 5: 10, author F. Lagard Smith observes, “If this seems outmoded at the end of the 20th century, one must ask whether God has changed His mind along with changing times.”  (Men of Strength For Women of God, p. 255).  Times and people may alter and change- but God and His word are always the same.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ