Moderism vs. Ancient Paths
Friday, October 15, 2010

  vs.

“This is what the Lord says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Jer. 6:16)

 

                The above is one of my favorite Old Testament passages.  It is hard to imagine in our modern world that Jeremiah, who lived on this earth over 2500 years ago, would know about ancient paths.  He was living on an ancient path.  Yet, Jeremiah had over 1500 years of Hebrew history upon which to base his life.  And if “finding rest for your souls” in the ancient pathways was true for Jeremiah, how much more true for us, who have the ancient pathway laid down by Christ Himself.  And His words were, “Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and there you will find rest for your souls.” (my paraphrase).  But we find ourselves in conflict with these passages by the impetus of our culture.  We are a culture steeped in modernism and our lives search for peace in drugs, sex, modern psychology and psychiatry, and politics.  Here is framed the argument of culture today.

                 Modernism (very simply stated) is the rejection of the past to make present decisions.  This is in stark contradiction to the teachings of Scripture.  Yet we see the competing values of modernism and tradition butting heads at every turn.  Faith in God is considered personal and archaic, while faith in the will of the people to make culture better is our new God.  Sadly, we even see this played out in our churches.  People flock to churches where “rest for the soul” is defined, not as the person of Christ, but modern psycho-babble.  A person is far more likely to find a church today teaching “how to have a better life through life principles” than by being transformed by the renewing of the mind in Christ Jesus.  So if the battle of modernism and the ancient pathways is being played out in our churches, it is no wonder modernism is scoring great victories in our culture. (Some of you may be thinking Bud is living in the past.  Modernism has yielded to post-modernism.  However, post-modernism is in reality politically correct modernism, so it is of little difference except in academic circles.)

                The real question today in my mind though is where does a culture such as ours, with all its busyness, stress, and mental anguish find rest for its soul.  Is it in the teachings of the ancients, or in the modern remedies of the will of the government?  I will not comment on the latter, but look intently at the former, particularly Jeremiah (my favorite prophet).  First of all, he makes it clear, that these were not his words, but the word of God.  It is a classic, “Thus sayeth the Lord,” statement.  “This is what the LORD says,” – God speaking!!  And God says, “Stand at the crossroads and look.”  Before you choose one road or the other, stop, stand, and think about the end game.  Look at where each road takes you.  One leads to life, goodness, and eternal rest, while the other leads to ultimate death and destruction.  Jesus talked about those two roads in the Sermon on the Mount.  One leads to life and the other to destruction.  But the good road is steep, hard to climb, narrow, and full of finger pointers.  The other is so easy to take.  The map is in the sinful heart.  Just follow your sinful nature and you can walk upon the easy road that is politically correct, popularly accepted, and full of good-time friends.  But God says to Jeremiah, before you make the decision, stand and look.

                The ancient path is the good way.  It may not be the perfect way.  It may have more ruts from millennia of travel and missteps, but it is the good way because it is in the direction of rest for our eternal souls.  Here is an interesting fact.  Not one university in America today has curricula on “how to be a good person.”  If fact this thought defies the epitome of political correctness.  It would be the ultimate cultural sin today for anyone (even God) to define what makes a good person.  But sadly, that is where we will find rest for our souls.

                Let me conclude by appealing to all who call themselves Christians.  Let us return to the ancient path of Jesus.  Not Christianity, because its history is sordid, but Jesus Christ Himself.  Let us be authentic in following Him.  Let us learn what He teaches every day – loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving one another as He has loved us (sacrificially, not worried about our rights, humbly, and considering others better than ourselves).  You will find, in so doing your burdens have become lighter, and in Him there is real rest for the soul.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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