The fashion clothing store sign reads: “New arrivals weekly”. We would rightly say that’s just good advertising. There are many things about “new” that can be exciting. Depending on the product, “new” may imply updated, stronger, faster, better suited to purpose. Think of computers and phones.
But what about “new” in the realm of religion? Is something new “better”? No. Over and over again the Bible tells us how men seek novelty but to their own destruction.
“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; you grew fat, you grew thick, you are covered with fat; then he forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you” (Deuteronomy 32:15-18).
In Moses’ song of Israel’s future apostasy, prophesying in language as if already having happened, he said they sacrificed to “new gods, new arrivals.” Having forsaken God, they were attracted to new gods. The weeping prophet wrote much later the solution to their falling away: “Stand in the way and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16). Reject the new arrivals and go back to God’s way.
The itch for “new arrivals” continues today. Christ set in His church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the purpose of “equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God…” (Ephesians 4:11-13). But that wasn’t all. Christ’s purpose in His design is that we not be “children, tossed to an fro with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men…” (verse 14). Christ desires that we be grounded in the faith so that when the winds of doctrines blow with the fragrances of novelty, we will recognize them for what they are and not itch for them but reject them. Paul told the churches of Galatia that “if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:9). Don’t peddle new arrivals and don’t accept them. Paul warned Timothy that he needed to preach the word in season and out of season, convincing, rebuking, exhorting, with all longsuffering and teaching, “for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:1-4). The fables could be old ones or new ones. Either way they would be “new arrivals” in contrast to the truth of the word of God.
Today as then, God’s old paths are being abandoned; new arrivals are being accepted. Instruments of music in worship are as old as the hills; they are old hat for denominations. But for straying brethren, they are a new arrival. One must wonder why they are just now coming around to their new arrival. The answer is in the context of Deuteronomy 32:15-18 above. Like Israel, called Jeshurun in that context, some brethren have kicked, grown fat and thick, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of their salvation. They’ve “kicked” – rebelled – against the will of God, and then they’ve become “thick” in their conscience, losing the sensitivity that was once there – there is no sting of conscience any longer. And as a result they have developed a scornful esteem for God, which is part and parcel with disrespect of His authority. They have set themselves up to seek for and then easily accept and bask in their “new arrivals.” Truly Deuteronomy 32:15-18 is a picture of the road of apostasy.
Let’s don’t go there. Let us ask for, seek, and knock at the door of the old paths. Truth has not changed. The doctrine of Christ is the same today as it was yesterday. The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily to see whether “these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They were looking into the old paths of Old Testament Scripture to verify the truth of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Let us look to the old paths of the doctrine of Christ and reject new arrivals. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
– Larry Jones