Then And Now - R.Earl

When one considers the state of which the church is in today, we have both reason to boast and reason to be concerned. It is common for some to mention the “good ole days” of the church. However, bragging about the “good ole days” is not the answer.
            When one talks of the “good ole days” it seems that they are convinced that those days are over. Some will boast of the great debates, the great preachers and their lessons, and the many conversions of the lost. Has that much really changed? While we may not have one every week, is it not true that we still have debates today? Yes. Is it also true that we still have tremendous preachers who bring powerful lessons from God’s Word? Yes. Do we still have events that result in several being converted? Yes. It’s also true that the church grew by large numbers during these “good ole days”. However, the church is still converting souls today. It’s still proclaiming truth and it’s still refuting error. The growth of the church may have slowed, but the good days are far from over (Gal 6:9). I believe that we could be on the verge of a great surge if we, as Christians will work together. If, and only if we will stand for truth, expose and refute error and humbly proclaim God’s Word, giving Him the glory for all that is done.
It seems, that there are multiple reasons for the problems we face today.  First, man has more to be distracted by today than ever before. The vibrant color and temptation of sin is literally at the fingertips of man, every second, of every day. It flashes in the face of men, women, & children throughout the day. Many, because of this constant 24/7 onslaught, have created for themselves a heart of stone for religious matters. However, at the same time, the church has been able to use similar venues for the cause of Christ. The internet in general (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc) have allowed the church to reach more people, more easily than ever before. It seems that the use of such tools for the cause of Christ are often grossly underestimated or completely ignored.
            Another problem we still face today, sadly, is our own brethren.  It’s curious that some encourage debates like in the “good ole days”, but when we ask Bible questions of our own brethren who are teaching error, many times we are met with ridicule, anger and contempt for doing so. Yet, these still maintain we should have more debates? How confusing! On the same note we have many who when teaching error have no desire to discuss it with those who disagree. For these teachers of error the possibility of debating the topic is out of the question.
            Today we must realize that if we are going to reach the lost, we must use the venues available to us, without compromising the cause of Christ. We must warn, encourage repentance and when necessary, remove ourselves from the fellowship of those who refuse to repent. We must encourage and support those who proclaim the truth without compromise. More will be accomplished if we labor together to do what was done by the Apostles; proclaim truth, expose and refute error, and warn the sinner and the apostate. That’s not enough though, we also need to support those who do such acts, who “fulfill their ministry” (2 Tim 4:5b) and save souls from hell by doing so (James 5:19-20).
            Let’s not reminisce about the “good ole days” let’s work so that those days never end. After all, didn’t the good days begin in Acts 2? The church EXPLODED in size, adding thousands on just one occasion alone! We must labor together while respecting the ways things were done before and the way things can be done today. Those good days can and will continue if we labor to please God in all we do as evangelists and as members of the body of Christ. It’s time to stop comparing then and now, it’s time to work together as fellow laborers and heirs together in Christ (Rom 8:17).
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