Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you exhorting that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.Jude 1:3 LSB
Every generation feels the need to reinvent Christianity, to make it relevant, but the truth is, the Christian faith has endured for over 2000 years. The faith once delivered has survived heresies that are repackaged for each generation; it has survived persecution, it has grown during persecution, and the fire of the Lord refines it. In the nineties, it was the seeker-sensitive movement; in the early two-thousands, it was the emergent church; in the later years, it was the new Calvinism; it was cool, but it wasn’t confessional Calvinism, and that’s why the cool part died. Now, we are seeing the reemergence of the emergent movement within social justice and woke church ideologies.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” There is so much truth in this verse as it relates to the life of the Church. Because so many of us are unfamiliar with Church history, each generation seems to fall for false teachings condemned many years ago. The charismatic movement has fallen for the heresy of Gnosticism, believing in secret knowledge and the whispers of God that often lead contrary to the Word of God. The new Calvinism failed because it was the seeker-sensitive model with a little Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy sprinkled on top. For the most part, young leaders in that movement never went deeper than the five points of Calvinism. The lack of robust theology among the leaders has led to pastoral failings, the embrace of charismatic theology, and for some, an embrace of the woke church, critical race theory philosophy.
The only thing that will keep us from and rescue others from false teaching is to be tethered to the truth of the Word of God. Colossians 2:7-8 ESV “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we don’t need to hear God for ourselves. The enemy of our souls and the enemy of the Church wants us to think we need to give the faith a new look, redefine harsh doctrines, and just change the method. But the reality is, the “religious” and “dead” creeds and confessions of the early Church safeguarded them and will safeguard us from false teaching.
Christianity didn’t start with us. We don’t need new perspectives on Paul; we don’t need Jesus Calling; He already called. We don’t need a prophetic word; we have a more sure word of prophecy – Jesus Christ. Creeds and confessions may have fallen out of style, but the truth never changes. It’s time for us to drop cool and return to the confessions. The day of celebrity pastors and Instagram influencers need to die in the Church. We need to return to pastors who shepherd and believers who disciple. Church history is our history. Old confessions should still be our confessions because truth does not change.
Are you tired of chasing the next fad? Are you tired of waiting for the next move? Return to the faith once delivered. Read a biography of a reformer like John Calvin, and read the biographies of Pastors from past centuries who stood firm in and for the truth. Be encouraged by men of our day who preach the gospel and don’t rely on gimmicks or manipulate your emotions. Be honest with yourself. You’ve been looking for something more, but something more is less; it’s simple, not spectacular. It’s tried and true, not new. It’s the faith once delivered. It’s found in the Scripture, and it’s summarized in confessions and expounded in theology. You don’t need the new; we need a return to the truth.