Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 10, 1969
NUMBER 48, PAGE 10-11

Article Of The Month


That Old Time Religion L.A. Stauffer

in "Son Rays" Bulletin of Emerson Avenue congregation Indianapolis, Indiana The theme of a song we sang when I was a boy says: "Give me that old time religion; it's good enough for me." One verse of the song says: "It was good for Paul and Silas and its good enough for me." The old time religion practiced by Paul and Silas, Peter and John and all first century Christians is unquestionably good enough for man.

Today, however, some people are adverse to that religion because they wrongly associate it with hysterical crying and frenzied shouting combined with guitars thumping, banjos twanging, horns blaring, feet stomping and hands clapping. This picture of old time religion is really a view of man's distortion of first century Christianity. In the first place they used no mechanical instruments of music in the first century worship and in the second place they were forbidden to worship in mass confusion. (Eph. 5:19; I Cor. 14:26-33).

Others, though, have an aversion to that old time religion because they feel man has outgrown it. They assume that modern man is different from first century man and that religion must be updated to provide "new" solutions for "new" needs of a "new" man. While we agree that man has advanced technologically, we deny that he has any new needs spiritually. What spiritual need does man have today that he didn't have in the first century?

Do we at 40th and Emerson, therefore, believe in and accept that old time religion? We do indeed. Our whole objective is to help mankind understand it and see that it is relevant to man's needs today. Consider with us this week a brief outline of that religion.

To begin with it is the unquestioning belief that God is and that He is the rewarder to them who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) It is also the unwavering confidence that the New Testament contains the words of Christ and is his authoritative guide for man (John 16:13; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 3:1-5). It is, furthermore, the steadfast trust that Christ is the Son of God and that the sacrifice of his body is sufficient atonement for man's sins (Matthew 26:28).

In connection with this last point, the old time religion says all men are sinners and that in order to obtain forgiveness through Christ's atonement they must genuinely believe in Christ (John 8:24), repent of their sins (Acts 2:38), confess their faith (Romans 10:9,10) and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

Those who do these things are then recognized as people "of Christ." Or, as they are to be known in various local areas — churches "of Christ." (Romans 16:16) Since they are people or churches "of Christ," they must conduct themselves according to the teaching of Christ (II John 9). This means serving him faithfully till death (Revelation 2:10).

This faithfulness includes worshipping according to spirit and truth. (John 4:24) This involves singing (Ephesians 5:19), praying (Acts 2:42), observing the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:23-26), giving as prospered (1 Corinthians 16:1,2) and preaching or studying the Scriptures (Acts 20:7)

Faithfulness also demands preaching the gospel to every creature, teaching and edifying the brethren and assisting saints who have physical needs (Mark 16:15,16; Ephesians 4:11-16; Acts 6:1-6).

Faithfulness, moreover, necessitates serving God in local churches. Every church is to have its own elders (sometimes called bishops and pastors) when men are qualified. And each of these churches is to be independent and self-governing. (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:1,28; I Peter 5:1-3; I Tim. 3:1-7)

Faithfulness as individuals requires supplying the physical needs of all men as they have ability and opportunity (James 1:27; Gal. 6:10), studying and meditating on God's Word (II Peter 3:18; Psalms 1:2), continuing steadfastly in prayer (I Thessalonians 5:17), maintaining pure and moral lives (Ephesians 4:17-24) and, in general, imitating Christ and following his teaching in all things (I Cor. 11:1; Matt. 28:20). When they fail, as they will, faithfulness compels them to repent of their sins, confess them to God and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:22; I John 1:8-10).

Friends, this is the old time, first century religion that was founded solidly on the teaching of Christ, that was good enough for Paul and Silas and is relevant to the needs of modern man. It provides remission of sins, gives meaning to life and guarantees an eternal reward (I Peter 1:4). What could be more relevant to man's needs than that?

— February 16, 1969. 4005 N. Emerson Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana 46226