BY CHARLES WOODRUFF
"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said. We will not walk therein" (Jeremiah 6:16).Anyone who has ever gone hiking will immediately relate to the teaching found in Jeremiah 6:16. An old path, a trail which has been well worn by other hikers before, is a good way. It beats having to blaze an entirely new trail through the thick woods and underbrush. There is no rest in this new trail blazing, but constant work. But many have proven the old paths and arrived to rest safely. Spiritually speaking, God has said in Jeremiah that these Old Paths would bring rest for your souls and yet He says there are those that say, "We will not walk therein" (v. 16).
Today the Old Paths are not in vogue. Modern theologians, rightly called Modernists, higher critics, and unfaithful Bible revisers, are departing from the Old Paths and blazing new trails where God did not direct, and they are asking Christians to follow their leadership. They have nothing to offer. Instead of an inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God they offer a mutilated, untrustworthy, so-called higher criticism that dares to judge God's Word instead of submitting to its authority.
Here I am not talking about honest translators, or expositors; for we need sound, godly scholars to translate and interpret scripture. Even the King James Version translators said this in their introduction to the 1611 Authorized Version. I am speaking of those translators who do not approach God’s word in reverence. Many of these are simply unbelievers, in it perhaps to simply destroy God’s word. This goes for the neo-modernist and emergent church teachers also. Include seeker sensitive preachers in that very bad lot also. They have done their damage!
They present Christ as a mere man, not the God-man; not the virgin-born Redeemer who came to save His people from their sins, but not in their sins. If they preach atonement at all, they do not preach a definite one. They show us a Christ who went to the cross puzzled over whether He had done right, or even if anyone would believe He was the Saviour. They show us men with a spark of goodness that needs to be kindled instead of a totally depraved being that in our father Adam fell completely and helplessly into sin. This spark is called freewill, and is given much more standing than God’s free and sovereign grace.
Man’s will is free alright, but only free to act as his nature dictates. Man needs a new nature! Only God can give it to him! The sinful, unregenerate nature cannot will to please God, or go to God until, and unless, God gives spiritual life through free grace. But free grace is an Old Path.
These cutters of new paths show us a “new” morality which is really a dressed up old immorality. This humanism promoted as “true Christianity” goes to various extremes. Some have expected the true, Bible believing, churches to receive as members unrepentant homosexuals. The Bible refers to them as Sodomites! (Deut. 23:17). Sodomy has affected the ministry so much that some so-called pastors are justifying their own involvement in that sordid lifestyle, and justifying it before their congregation, as one “pastor” did recently here in the Atlanta area. The most shocking thing is that his church has accepted him, and wants him to continue as “pastor!” His wife is divorcing him, though she calls him a wonderful man. But, she is getting out, so maybe she exhibits more sense that most of his church members!
Abortion is called by these modernists “freedom of choice.” But, the babies have no choice! The Bible calls it murder! (Exodus 1:16 ; Matthew 2:16). They call living together without marriage a relationship; the Bible calls it fornication! See 1 Corinthians 5:1; 7:2. Just as you can call a garbage man a sanitary engineer, and a coal miner an energy cultivator, you still can't cover up the fact that both have dirty jobs!
The fact is, according to the Bible, these new pathfinders don't really have a gospel to preach, or anywhere to lead people, but to hell. Don’t forget this! When it is all over and we each give account to God, and all of us will (see Rom. 14:12), those who would not submit to God's Word will be cast into the lake of fire (the hellfire that they don't believe in either!)
Modern tools of evangelism such as radio, television, and the internet, are good, if used in a God-glorifying manner, but not to promote humanism, socialism, liberalism, neo-modernism, entertainment substituting for the gospel, and just plain sin! There is ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, and it is these Old Paths in which we seek to walk and lead others.
Ask For the Old Paths was written in the late 1970’s by Charles Woodruff, revised and re-published in 2006, and extensively revised by the author in 2010 for this issue of Word of Truth.