Thursday, April 20, 2006

That Old Time Religion

The following is an excerpt from an article by Mike McInnis in Issue 14 of Volume 4 of the Grace Gazette, found on Grace Chapel of O'brien, Florida web site.

'I heard a song on the radio just the other day which said, "I’d rather be an old time Christian, than anything I know." It reminded me of another song which seems to be popular from time to time among many which says, "Gimme’ that old time religion, gimme’ that old time religion, gimme’ that old time religion, it’s good enough for me". Most people pat their foot and sing along as their mind travels back to some pleasant memory of childhood. Maybe they remember some all day meeting or dinner on the grounds or some such fond reminiscence. Such recollections may be precious but are generally only an exercise of the flesh. Man’s religious mind can be easily stirred by such nostalgic thoughts and his desires for "old time religion" most often are fulfilled by recreating such exercises or revisiting the sites where such memories were given birth...Here in the south, (the Bible belt if you will) religion of one sort or another has always played a big part in people’s lives. Why almost everybody, in past generations, was raised to go to church on Sunday: especially Easter Sunday. It is such a warm tradition that causes the minds of the more mature folk to be drawn back to a simpler place and time. Sadly, many confuse such traditions and memories with the reality of following CHRIST. When they desire "old time religion" they only desire to go back a certain number of years. Some are satisfied with the forties, some the nineteenth century, or some who really desire to go back may define "old time" as coming from the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. But in reality the basis for the faith once delivered to the saints must go back two thousand years.'

I don't think I've read anyone who puts it exactly this way before. Perhaps it is true that more of our thoughts of "that old time religion" are just good and fond memories of the past rather than a real desire for the faith that is built on the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets. That's something to think about! To read the entire article
click here.


Anonymous said...

I've just finished reading Garry WIlls's new book, What Jesus Meant. Highly recommended description of that very old time religion.

It makes me wonder whether one could right a book called 'The Hidden Gospel of Jesus' which would be -- the gospels.

Anonymous said...

Now why does this excerpt make me so uncomfortable? I guess because it parallels my own inner musings. There are no doubt many who profess Christianity, when in reality what they seek in church is nostalgia and tradition. I only hope I don't mean me. Perhaps I mean all or most of us in one way or another, at one time or another. When I am hot, Christ is truly all I seek. When I am cold, I derive comfort from old songs, old language, old acquaintance, continuity. It does tide me over until He returns.

amity said...

I also have a couple of songs to add... Precious Memories, and Sing An Old Song, and I am sure there are many others sung during church worship, no less. Nothing to do with Christ at all.

clinch64 said...

It seems that many new songs that are promoted as religious or gospel type songs are somewhat vague in their meaning. I have been told that so much of what is labeled as " Contemporary Christian" music has little to do with things of a religious nature.
On the other hand, have you noticed that so much of country music lately will have strong moral and religious themes, such as, "When I Get Where I'm Going", "Three Wooden Crosses", "Long Black Train ", etc. Try to figure that one out.

Neil Vaught

Anonymous said...

Neil, I think that twice-born believers within the country music circle have had some influence on the gospel music presentation. We may be critical of some of them, but many have come from a church background.

If nothing else, it is a pleasant music to listen to, and just maybe, somewhere along the way someone will get the true message.

I seemed to remember one Tennessee Ernie Ford making The Old Time Religion song somewhat least that's where I first heard it when I came over from England.