“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”(Hebrews 13:8)
Recently I posted a picture on Facebook of my wife Ruth and I in 1969, standing on the campus of John Brown University. As interesting as the two figures in the photograph may be, it is what stands BEHIND us that is really significant.
John Brown University has changed significantly in the past 50 years. The dorm that can be seen behind us in the picture has been torn down, and a beautiful new school of business now stands in its place. Behind that now stands a modern library and office complex. The building that at one time housed the post office, administration offices and coffee shop where Ruth and I met is now gone, and in its place stands a classroom building complete with all of the newest technology. Where our duplex once stood (our home when we were first married) stands a brand new nurses school, and behind that a new art building.
Growth usually requires losing the old in order to make room for the new. Sometimes that is painful: I would love to be able to go back to the place where Ruth and I first met, but it has been replaced by something far more functional and useful, leaving me with only the memories. Some things never change. Hebrews 13 tell us that our MASTER is the same yesterday, today and from now through all eternity. Our MESSAGE never changes. In I Timothy, Paul states, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners”, and that is our timeless, changeless message.
But our METHODOLOGY: that can and must change in order to meet the needs of a changing culture. John Brown University will be 100 years old next month (September, 2019). it would not make sense for the school to still be using the same typewriters, rotary-dial ,party line phones, number 2 pencils and lined notebook paper that were in vogue in 1919!
We must be willing to exchange what we know for what we need. Change is a positive thing, and will help us clarify our message to a new generation, but will always involve sacrificing that with which we are familiar and comfortable. Soli Deo gloria.