Nothing New
by Fred T. Di Lella

 “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. ” (Jer. 6:16).

This week, I saw a posting for a faithful Presbyterian church that is seeking pulpit supply.  The ad greatly attracted me because of its Biblical content and because the author, a dear Christian brother and friend, notified applicants that he was not interested in anybody coming to the church with new ideas for the congregation’s worship services or teaching.

Years ago, an established Presbyterian church in Virginia asked me to speak for its remembrance of Reformation Day on a Friday evening.  I was pleasantly surprised and honored when the church’s pastor asked me to preach.  I was a little more anxious than normal when I looked at the congregation full of pastors and ruling elders from different reformed churches in the D.C. area.

After delivering the message, the pastor of that church brought a very elderly pastor to me for introductions.  The older man had been preaching God’s Word for almost 60 years.

The aged pastor warmly greeted me and said: “Young man, thank you.  I heard nothing new today!”  The pastor of the church then said, “Fred, you have just received the highest compliment!  Thank you.”

As the years have passed, the words of that old pastor have stuck with me: “Young man, I heard nothing new today!”  That elderly pastor reminded me of a timeless truth: we should never be preaching anything new.  We must only teach the unchangeable truth of the Living and True God.  “God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.  Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.”

God constantly commands us to hold fast to His truth.  God requires us to be faithful.  It is abominable to see all the contemporary innovations in “worship,” which is not worship at all, but idolatry.  It is abhorrent to hear people adding items to (and taking things away from) pure doctrine and the Commands of God (e.g., Charismatic extra-biblical “revelation,” the pernicious saying: “in non-essentials, liberty,” rock-music or any other kind of entertainers during “worship,” women “pastors,” wrongly dividing the Word of God (ala, dispensationalist teachers), and the all-too-common man centered gospel presentations and emotion-filled “worship” (a.k.a., Celebration services).

In His infallible, inerrant, and sufficient Word, the immutable God has inalterably appointed what worship must be.  We have absolutely no right to alter, change, or remove one iota of what God has appointed for worship.  Always remember, the Scriptures thoroughly equip us for ALL good works.  All Christians would agree that worship is a good work.  Well then, God has thoroughly equipped us to worship Him in His perfectly true, authoritative, and sufficient Word.  It is sinful for us to look anywhere else for NEW ideas and practices for worship. 

As Questions 50 and 51 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism definitively declare: 

“The Second Commandment requires the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed in His word.  The Second Commandment forbids the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in His word.”  

We may only worship God in the way that He has commanded in His Word.  We may not add anything to (nor take anything away from) the worship that God has appointed in His Word.

We also may not add or take anything away from the Gospel, or from any portion of the Word of God.  “God has spoken.  It is written!  Thus, saith the Lord.” 

Galatians 1:8-9 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” 

Deuteronomy 4:2 “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”  

Deuteronomy 12:32 “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,” 

Proverbs 30:6 “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”

Revelation 22:18-19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” 

Why do people want to ignore or even forget that “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” and not by human inventions and gimmicks? Why do people seem to ignore that “Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life?”  Why do people want something new, when “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works?  Yes, God’s Word is absolutely true, absolutely authoritative, and absolutely sufficient for ALL good works.  Is preaching the Gospel a good work?  Is the worship of God a good work?  Is Church government a good work?  Do we or do we not believe God’s Word?  If we do believe God’s Word, then why are we looking for something besides (or in addition to) God’s Word.  Why are we looking for new things, for innovations, which are not even remotely found in God’s infallible, inerrant, all sufficient Word?  Every element of true Biblical worship is in God’s Word.  Everything we need to know and believe about God is found in God’s Word.  Everything we need to know about how to obey God is in God’s Word.  Why would we look for NEW things?

God makes it clear that a steward must be found faithful.  He must not deviate from God’s Word.  He must not add to (or take anything away from) God’s Word.  A believer, a steward must hold fast to God’s Word.  He must not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left.  He must stay on the old path, the narrow path (namely, God’s appointed path).  He must trust in the Lord with all his heart and lean not on his own understanding.  He must not be looking for or implementing something NEW.

2Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 

Proverbs 3:5-7 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” 

Jeremiah 6:16 “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.” 

Matthew 7:12-13 “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” 

Deuteronomy 5:32 “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” 

Deuteronomy 12:32 “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” 

Deuteronomy 28:14 “And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” 

Joshua 1:7 “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.” 

Philippians 3:16 “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” 

1Timothy 4:6 “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” 

Hebrews 13:7-9 “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” 

1Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

SOLA SCRIPTURA and nothing new

Rev. Fred Di Lella is pastor of Covenanted Reformation Church in TX which is part of The Biblical Reformed Synod of Christ the King.

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