Give Me The Old-Time Religion
By Carl A. Trapani
When I was a boy one of my favorite Sunday night church songs was, “Give me the old-time religion At the time, I didn’t know what the song was all about, but so what? It was fun to sine.
It still is. Only now, I am more aware that the message contained in it stanzas is like a beacon of truth that cuts across the darkness of an apostate generation. Give me the old-time religion, Give me the old-time religion, Give me the old-time religion, It’s good enough for me.
It was good for the Hebrew children. . It was good for Paul and Silas. . . It was good for our fathers. . . It will do when I am dying. . . It will take us all to heaven. . . etc…
What is old-time religion? Old -time religion has stood the test of time. It has proven itself to be true even in the face of harsh criticism and satanic attack. “It was good for our fathers – and it’s good enough for me. With many church groups seeking to modernize their religious practices almost to the point of sacrilege, a word of caution is advised. Don’t modify and modernize so much that the power is lost. While hyper-conservatism can stifle relevancy, it” obvious that some religious traditions are good. Jeremiah 6:16 says…
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and wall therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah’s declaration is that the old ways are good ways. They are tried and true, and following them leads to spiritual prosperity.
Old-time religion believes in God: Psalm 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
At the turn of the 20th century religion and education were best of friends Universities were the citadels of religious learning. The Bible and Ten Commandments were the moral foundation for society. Today, Judeao-Christian values have been denounced, mocked in the media, and the public education systems have removed the belief in a Sovereign God from the classrooms. Sad to say, in our society the old-time religion has gone the way of the dinosaur–and sadder still–there is more interest in the dinosaur than the old-time religion!
But an atheistic mindset raises some big philosophical issues. If there is no God, there is no one to pray to. No reason to hope. No miracles. No one outside one’s self or another human being to seek help from. What a letdown. All of us are aware of human limitations and failings. Without God there is nothing beyond this earthly life. This is all there is. Evil triumphs–and goodness suffers defeat. But the old-time religion says this can’t be.
There is a God. And the old-time religion proclaims Him and His existence as being unquestionable.
Old-time religion believes that the Bible is God’s Word: 1I Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
Some men preach from a variety of books but there is only one that is indespensable and irrefutable – the Holy Bible. Burned and banned, it has stood the test of time. When heaven and earth are all gone–God’s Word will still endure. Whichever English translation one uses — it works, just so long as one reads it, believes it, and applies it’s truths to one’s life.
Old-time religion believes people are lost and need a savior: Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity for us all.”
Old-time religion doesn’t trivialize the human condition. It understands the lostness of the human soul. It denies that everyone is fine just as they are. It recognizes that human beings are immoral and undegenerated. Left to themselves, they will destroy one another and
wreak havoc on the planet.
People need guidance, love, and a Savior to atone for their misdeeds. People are not fine in their sinful and lost state. Any expectation of humanity becoming kind, loving, caring, and morally pure solely on its own efforts and initiative is foolish. People need a Savior to fix them and give them a new enhanced spiritual nature. They need Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Old-time religion believes in the new birth experience Nicodem was one of the leading religionists of his day, but he was not satisfied. He expressed a desire to find peace here and life hereafter. Jesus did not say to this hungry-hearted man, “Just live a good life, pay your debts, be kind to people, carry out your religious obligations.” “No,” said Jesus, “if you want life abundant and life everlasting, you must be born again–of the water and of the Spirit. ”
Modern “easy-believe” Christians must have a bit of a problem reconciling their concept of new birth with what is declared in John chapter 3. For them being born again is “accepting the Lord as one’s personal savior.” Very cut and dried – in fact many don’t even include water baptism as an essential for being born again. But the old-time religion declares that water and Spirit are both elements in regenerating a human soul into God’s kingdom. Nothing less will do.
Old-time religion believes in a new lifestyle: When a person gets the old-time religion they begin a different kind of life-style. Old bad habits are exchanged for new good ones. A genuine new birth conversion changes more than where one goes on Saturday night and Sunday morning–it changes the person from the inside out! Appearance, conversation, and attitude are all effected. And what is even more amazing, the surrender of the old habits is not mourned. It is lauded and praised.
Many a convert standing for the first time after a heartfelt repentance, baptism, and spirit filling have reached out to those nearby with a desire to hug and embrace in the godliest manner–something they would have never even thought of doing before their new birth. “Makes me love everybody-and it’s good enough for me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1 Cor 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Cor 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Cor 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
1 Cor 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
Old-time religion believes in Hell: The old-time religion teaches there is a final judgment for what is done in this world. Men and women must give an account of their every deed. No one is exempt. All will stand before God and accept His verdict. The Bible teaches there is only one
thing that can save us from the wrath of God – the blood of Jesus Christ. The only way to keep out of hell, the only way to get to heaven is through the merits of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Those merits, obtained through water baptism in Jesus name and the infilling of the Holy Spirit provide the basis for salvation-eternal life.
Modern religion denies hell, and has mythologized heaven. But, they are: not deniable myths. They are real places that serve as the final resting place for the souls of human beings. The old-time religion that emphasizes Biblical truths with eternal implications has the power to “take us all to heaven.”
Old-time religion will do when I m dying: Over the years, I have been impressed with the power of the gospel to bring hope even to those who despair of life. I have watched as dying saints raised their arms to God and praised the Lord with their last breath. I can not explain the wonder and power of that experience. I have seen others die without God, and their anguish was almost more than I could bear.
The older I get, the more I believe in the powerful truths and benefits of the old-time religion. My faith is such that when my time to die comes, the practice of the old-time religion will bring comfort to me and my loved ones. Its way is the best way. Because I believe, I am convinced that the old time religion will certainly “do when I am dying.” Until then, “It’s surely good enough for me.”
Rev. Carl A. Trapani is the editor of the Wisconsin District News. He pastors the Apostolic Faith Church in Eau Claire, Wl. He is also a professional psychotherapist at Hope Christian Counseling Center a division of Heinz Psychological Services. He can be reached at (715) 8329153 or e-mail: ctrapani@discover-net net. For counseling information call (715) 834-3171.
The Avove Material Was Published By The Wisconsen District News, January/February 1998,Pages 14,15. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purpoes Only.