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Please don't give me "That Old-Time Religion"

NO WONDER "religion" is utterly rejected by so many millions today.
NO WONDER a broad segment of American business — men and women
cannot find anything about "Christianity" to inspire and challenge them.
NO WONDER hippies reject the time-honored "establishment" of our "spiritual heritage."
Here's the TRUTH about a part of Christianity you've probably
never heard before — the part about what it means to be a Christian!


FROM the sudden upsurge in religion of the '50s to the riots, demonstrations and hippie movements of the '60s, the pendulum has swung from one extreme to another.

Today, as never before, people are looking for something.

Youth looks for some new, strong leader — a new faith, a new hope. Negroes look for broader rights, more acceptance, less prejudice. Government looks for ways out of Vietnam; for ways to stop the gold outflow and weakening of the dollar, and for solutions to the gnawing problems at home.

All this searching, looking, questing has led one leading scientist, Dr. Herman Kahn, of the famed Hudson Institute, to predict drastic social changes in the future. He said there would be more and more "movements," some rational and some irrational; hippies, "LSD without question" and even a "NEW RELIGION."

But why a "new" religion? What's wrong with the "old" one?



"Gimme that Old Time Religion!"

It's about time men of the cloth wake up to realize modern society cannot — will not accept the traditional "faith of our fathers'' "old-fashioned gospel" churchianity of the past!

Small wonder youth is in revolt, that all of society is in turmoil; when religion has failed utterly to give them any real purpose in living! Irreligious people see religion as a "spiritual tranquilizer" — an imaginary sop to stave off fear; an empty faith to cling to; an impractical dream in a hard, cold, practical world. And are these people so wrong, after all?

Just how does it sound, to an educated, fairly intelligent businessman, to hear frantic pleas of "Ohhhhh WON'T you come — just now — and GIVE your heart to the Lord??" (often pronounced "lard").

How DOES it sound to millions of frustrated youths, facing Vietnam, the bomb, and a seemingly useless future, to be told with stentorian thunder, "CHRIST is the answer!" (pronounced, oftentimes, "crast").

How many people are really given some meaningful goals to cling to when they hear, "REPENT, sinner — right now (pronounced "rat naow") — and don't take a chance on goin' to hell" (sometimes pronounced, "hail").

I don't need to tell you how it sounds.

You know.

It sounds utterly MEANINGLESS to most people. It sounds ignorant, and less than sane to some — impractical and terribly out-of-date to others. And it is not working! But — shocking as it may sound — you have probably never heard the PLAIN TRUTH about what it REALLY MEANS to "give yourself to Christ" or to "live a Christian life!"

Have you?

Have you the remotest notion of the actual DAY-BY-DAY way of LIVING that is described, IN THE BIBLE, as "Christian"?

It would shock many to know the Bible condemns long-haired men; that Christ said He came not to bring peace but a sword; that Christ drank wine; that a true Christian life is one of fantastic interest and excitement; one of LOVE, one of ruggedness and challenge — and is certainly NOT a life of drab, dull, uninteresting self-righteousness!

So — if you, too, have wondered whether "Christ is the answer," and, IF He is, just how is He — then read on.


The Usual "Acceptance" Ceremony

Thousands have "made decisions for Christ."

But what did they do? How long did it last? How were they benefitted?

Continually, many people become "converts" at evangelistic campaigns. They try to "give" their lives to Jesus Christ. Usually, they are remorseful over some shameful deeds in their past — brokenhearted over the loss of a loved one — distraught with financial worry — sick and diseased in their bodies.


Like all society — they are sincerely LOOKING for something!

But what do they find? How DOES a person do such a thing as giving his own self to Christ? What does it mean? Is it merely a temporary decision, or a sentiment? Is it something that is of the emotions only? Or is it a down-to-earth, concrete, PRACTICAL course of action — a WAY OF LIVING?


The Common Belief

A foremost religious leader once said, "First, let us understand what Christianity is NOT. It is NOT a way of life!"

But what does the newly converted Christian DO then that MAKES him a Christian? Commonly, it is believed that the remorseful feeling of sorrow over past mistakes and misdeeds, plus the acceptance of Christ — the worship of Christ — is a saving experience. Hundreds of thousands of sincere, well-meaning, earnest people are content they are Christians — satisfied they are headed toward eternal life — when they actually have never taken the first step toward becoming a true Christian, believe it or not!


Christ Says REPENT!

Listen to what the Bible actually says!

"From that time Jesus began to preach . . ." (Matt. 4:17). Jesus was a preacher. Jesus Christ came with a message from God the Father — and that message was what He preached! What was the very first thing HE told His audiences to do? ". . . REPENT: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). Notice — the words of Jesus are: "REPENT!"

Later, the apostles — Peter, James and John, the apostle Paul and others—preached the same message Jesus brought from His Father. When Peter stood up to explain the amazing events of the Day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. he said, "REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Later, Peter said, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your SINS may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19). Jesus gave stern warning that "except ye REPENT, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5).

Then there is something required in addition to the acceptance of Jesus as personal Savior! Jesus said so!


A CHANGE Required

Do you suppose it could be POSSIBLE that these many thousands of sincere, well-meaning people could actually be TRYING to gain eternal life — but are headed in the opposite direction? What does the Bible say? What did Jesus actually say?

He instructed, "Strive to enter in at the strait [difficult] gate: for MANY, I say unto you, WILL SEEK TO ENTER IN, and shall not be able!" (Luke 13:24)

Diametrically contrary to what many thousands of people presently believe, and what is taught as an accepted standard of Christianity today, Jesus said, "Not EVERYONE that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven . . ." (Matt. 7:21). Again, He said, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth [by professing Christ — by making a "decision" for Him orally] and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But IN VAIN do they WORSHIP me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:89).

Do you see?

Jesus Christ, the Savior (and He should be the One who really KNOWS, shouldn't He?) tells us that it is possible to WORSHIP Him — to PRAISE Him — to BELIEVE on Him — and be doing it all in vain!

What was it Christ said to do?

"REPENT." That was His cry. That was His message!

To repent and be converted is to CHANGE. That is the very meaning of the word "convert." Just what is that change, then?


Change What?

"I'm a changed man," said the reformed smoker. "I have finally quit the tobacco habit!" This man felt, because he had dropped a bad habit, he was a changed man! But was he really?

What is it Christ wants you to change? Merely your way of "thinking" about Him? Do you change your "outlook" on religion? Do you change your church? Change your habits? Change WHAT?

The apostle Paul explained that the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). That carnal mind is the NATURAL human mind — the normal, sincere, natural, common "way of looking at things" that all of us were born with! It's the mind of every normal human being PRIOR to this change Christ was talking about! Paul went on to say, "Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). Did you notice it? If a man have not the Spirit of Christ — he doesn't belong to Christ, and therefore IS NOT A CHRISTIAN!

This change has something to do with the carnal mind, and the Spirit of Christ! Let's notice another important scripture. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:1-2). Read that scripture again! Study it!

Study all the scriptures given in this article — in your own Bible. None of them will sound AT ALL like the usual run-of-the-mill "old-time religion" ideas you've heard preached from so many quarters.

What you'll find here is the plain, straight-from-the-shoulder TRUTH you SHOULD have been hearing all your life — the truth about REAL Christianity.

When you study the literal meaning of the scripture just quoted, you'll see God says you must undergo a renewing, a transforming, and a CHANGING — OF THE MIND!

This changing of the mind is a change of human nature!

The normal, natural way of human nature is the way of selfishness. The SELF is the entire motivating drive in human nature. It is the pleasing of the self, the satisfaction of the self — the way of getting for the self that is the basis of human nature. You are extremely selfish! All human beings are selfish.

And, behind the selfishness of every person lies the root cause of it all: vanity!

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; ALL is vanity" (Eccl. 1:2). Every person is filled with vanity, in one form or another. Notice that Paul tells us, "For the creature [correct meaning, "creation"] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope" (Rom. 8:20).

All is vanity! The desire of every person to be "liked" by others — to be "well thought of," to be accepted by the society, looked up to, respected, admired, and loved by others — all this is vanity!

It is this vanity which leads a person to say, "What will my friends say?" or, "What will people think?"


Ensnared in Society

Having been reared in a world that measures everything by what people think, you probably are quite concerned about the opinions of your friends, neighbors and relatives. You are wrapped up in this age, this society! Whatever is the standard, whatever is looked upon with approval by these people, whose acceptance you covet, that becomes the standard of your life! If you're like most people — you live in the way which is most likely to gain for you the acceptance and approbation you seek. You are a part of this world. Your life is regulated by this world its customs, its holidays, its practices.

Most people are ensnared by it — trapped into CONFORMITY with whatever is the way of the majority — following like blind sheep wherever society leads, never questioning WHETHER it is right, but simply conforming to the ways of others.

Many people have seen this desire to conform, and have rebelled against it.

But, non-conformists who would be honest with themselves would be forced to admit their non-conformity is merely conforming to a DIFFERENT group than before. The "hippie" who claims to be "non-conformist" actually wears a uniform — addicts himself to certain clearly definable social customs as an obvious MARK of his new conformity! "Kidding" himself he is "escaping" from the establishment, he enslaves himself to a new establishment!

And all this is just so much vanity!

It is to RELEASE us from these shackles of tradition and society that Jesus calls us out of this world!