Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but telling or hearing something new. – Acts 17:21
For most Americans, “new” means better … and it usually is. I mean, how popular would a game show be if the prize was “an OLD, USED car!”? Truth be told, most of us like things that are shiny, clean, improved, and well, new.
This attraction to all things “new” may even influence our choices in politics, philosophies, relationships, and religious practices. For example, I am presently the “new” president of a “new” organization and with this new venture comes new hopes, new dreams, and new challenges. Inevitably, however, things will become “same” and “old” … usually placed together as “same old _______” … and I will be tempted to begin looking, once again, for something “new.” This unfortunate, often damaging pattern, is oft-repeated across the American landscape with unintended, negative consequences.
So, is “new” bad? Not necessarily, but a preoccupation with it can create an industry (requiring energy and resources) unto itself. A consistent focus on the next, new thing coming down the ecclesiastical line may cause us to neglect a more urgent need to concentrate on those principles that should be at the foundation of our efforts. If such a focus leads us to ponder new (unbiblical) theology or practice, the outcome can be disastrous.
God’s truth is never new, though it may be new to us and His truth does not change, just our grasp of it. Methodologies change with time and context. Principles should not.
Today not only in philosophy but in politics, government, and individual morality, our generation sees solutions in terms of synthesis and not absolutes. When this happens, truth, as people have always thought of truth, has died. – Francis Schaeffer