The World Needs The Old, Old Story

“Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and his glory.”
Many in my generation would say that what the church most needs today is freshness, newness, and innovation. 
The problem is that young people are leaving the church in droves. Christianity is becoming irrelevant and getting pushed to the sidelines. The culture is shifting.
So we must readjust and catch up or risk being left behind. It’s time to rethink our doctrines and reinvent our ministries. We gotta rediscover the “true” Jesus and “real” Christianity. This rusty Christian “fundamentalism,” with its emphasis on human sin and divine judgment and heaven & hell and a bloody cross and salvation that comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, this old gospel is an “old” solution that no longer works.
All this they say, implying that the old gospel story we’ve confessed for thousands of years must be replaced with a new (and improved) gospel story, one with actual power to effect real change in a changing world.
As a young pastor of this generation, I wanna say this:
Give me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and his glory.
Who are we to deny what Jesus so clearly taught and reject what God’s Word so evidently reveals? Who are we to exalt our opinions about what the world really needs over God’s revealed wisdom about what we really need? We don’t need to “have a conversation” to find out if these historic gospel truths are still powerful and relevant and true. They are, and will be forever.
So give me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and his glory.
Give me the message of our great sin and God’s great holiness, of inexcusable human guilt and inescapable divine judgment.
Give me the testimony about the perfectly righteous God-Man as the single solution to remedy our sinful condition and rescue us from eternal death.
Give me the Jesus who lived perfectly, loved incomparably, died sacrificially, rose victoriously, and will return imminently to reign eternally.
Give me the proclamation of God’s forever kingdom achieved by God’s King and entered into only through turning from sin and trusting in Him.
Give me the gospel of the amazing love of God shown in the fierce wrath of God crushing the willing Son of God so we can become beloved children of God.
Don’t give me hipness and hype.
Don’t give me inspirational pep talks to increase my self-esteem.

Don’t tell me that I’m enough and I have all the answers within me.

Don’t give me your human opinions and your man-centered motivationalism.

Don’t give me some reimagined metanarrative or something “new and improved.”
Give me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and his glory.
I’m not denying cultural contextualization for the sake of love. I’m combating gospel obliteration for the idols of relevance and respectability. I’m warning against gospel recalibration for the (even well-intentioned but misdirected) pursuit of spiritual power and fruit.
The problem in our churches is not that we have focused too much on this old, old story. The problem is that we have lost our focus on this old, old story.
We’ve let human traditions trump the message and implications of this gospel. We’ve let our political obsessions dilute it. We’ve let our extrabiblical legalisms smother it. We’ve let our cultural hobby-horses replace it. We’ve let our church-growth methods and idolatrous infatuation with numbers compromise it.

My prayer is that the church would retreat back to this old gospel story.
That we’d confidently confess this historic gospel that was once and for all delivered to the saints.

That we’d sincerely love this pure gospel that martyrs have spilt their blood over to preserve and pass down to us.
That we’d rally around this saving gospel as the focal point of our lives as Christians and our platforms as churches. Because this old gospel alone is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes.

Give me this gospel. Tell me this ancient testimony of an old rugged cross. I don’t need anything new or novel. The old story is perfectly fine.
“Tell me the old, old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love.”
Copyright © Van Michael Komatsu 2022