A battle rages on today that will last until Jesus comes–the battle between traditional church and something newer or contemporary. I fall in a more conservative line than many, yet do not get as worked up about some of the newer stuff as some do. In the Independent Baptist world the battle is even more intense than in other circles. There is not, to my mind, some simple answer that is beyond dispute. In either case the argument will go better if there is no one in the room from the other side.
Still, there is an unusual phenomenon in these days. Some advertise themselves as being one of the few that still do “old fashioned church”. Again, if someone says they are traditional or conservative, those terms at least make sense. We have some idea what that means and it seems at least fair advertising.
While there is not one uniform model of the churches that call themselves old-fashioned, some of them carry a few similar traits. We should, too, specify that calling ourselves old fashioned when we feel the whole world is running ahead of us is a fair and common usage of the word. To use it, though, as many do now should have a more accurate time element to it–it should be at least a little ancient.
In my unscientific observation, I have noticed many of these churches will have conservative music, though it may have some get-up-and-go to it. Others may prefer a great deal of shouting. Others a very specific order of service. I have nothing negative to say about any of it. Phrases like “have it your way” come to mind; or as they said where I grew up, “More power to you.”
The funny thing is how did those specific things become the standard bearer of being old fashioned? Right or wrong, how far back can you really trace them? If you carried one of these old fashioned services back just 100 years, how do you think it would have been perceived? Or how about going on back to the frontier in colonial days? Do you think you would have been thought some sort of modern usurper of the godly way of doing church? I think you likely would have. I think we have no evidence that our “old fashioned ways” look anything like what a service led by the Apostle Paul would have.
A lively, yet very conservative, piano piece would not have been accepted in the not-so-recent past. I have read of the scandal the first organ playing brought to church services in the Middle Ages.
It is a fair discussion to try to figure out what is appropriate for our churches, or more importantly, what would please Christ. Whether we all arrive at the same answer, we should all seek the Lord till we think we are where He would want us to be. On the other hand, I don’t see how we are going to make much progress on the discussion between ourselves until we learn to choose our words more carefully. I am not sure “old fashioned” as often used is very accurate.
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