03 November 2005

Old Words for a New Time

Recently I have been reading through The Training of the Twelve by A. B. Bruce. A friend of mine from Seminary highly recommended it and it finally made it's way to my doorstep.

This book on Leadership was first published in 1871. I'm finding that Bruce hit on some timeless aspects of change, specifically with respect to church life and change that bear repeating.

In Chapter 7 - Lessons in Religious Liberty, he presents an analysis of Jesus' response to John's disciples asking about why Jesus' disciples didn't fast, and His further illustrations of old & new cloth, and new wine in old wineskins. The following quote is the final paragraph of the chapter.

Too seldom for the church’s good have lovers of old ways understood Christ’s wisdom, and lovers of new ways sympathized with His charity. A celebrated historian has remarked: “It must make a man wretched, if, when on the threshold of old age, he looks on the rising generation with
uneasiness, and does not rather rejoice in beholding it; and yet this is very common with old men. Fabius would rather have seen Hannibal unconquered than see his own fame obscured by Scipio.”118 There are always too many Fabii in the world, who are annoyed because things will not remain stationary, and because new ways and new men are ever rising up to take the place of the old. Not less rare, on the other hand, is Christ’s charity among the advocates of progress. Those who affect freedom despise the stricter sort as fanatics and bigots, and drive on changes without regard to their scruples, and without any appreciation of the excellent qualities of the “old wine.” When will young men and old men, liberals and conservatives, broad Christians and narrow, learn to bear with one another; yea, to recognize each in the other the necessary complement of his own one-sidedness?

Bruce's analysis has been helpful in my situation. He has not negated the need for change, but does call me to be very wise in the process of change - especially in the church. All of us who are involved in the process of change within our churches need to be reminded of this.

3 comments:

Roberto Iza Valdes said...

El diablo está suelto en los blogs. Pero creo que lo encontramos
más frecuentemente entre bloggers de habla inglesa que en los blogs
en castellano, si sólo porque los blogs en español están muy
mal catalogados por gogle.
Roberto Iza Valdes

martyduren said...

Here's your translation:

The devil is loose in the blogs. But I believe that we find it more often among bloggers of English speech
that in the blogs in Spaniard, if only because the blogs in Spanish are very badly catalogued by gogle.

Howze about that?? The devil is loose on your blog Rodney, you english speaking devil you.

RMc said...

Marty -

I've been called worse!!!