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Mel Menker

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Why Traditional Churches Cannot Change
by Mel Menker   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2009

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Traditional churches struggle with contemporary change to the point there are often "fights" for power and control. A simple examination of one of Jesus' parables gives us insight as to a Godly solution for "new wine" being placed in "new wineskins" instead of "old wineskins."

           The worship wars have raged throughout the centuries as new styles of worship accompanied by different forms of worship music and instrumentation have been introduced to the appointed hour of approaching God on the first day of the week.  These worship “wars” have been used by our spiritual adversary to wreak havoc in the gatherings of believers throughout the world.  These battles are not new; they are simply a ploy of spiritual deception that has caused people throughout the ages to believe that the style of worship to which they are accustomed is the only style acceptable to God.  From those adamant feelings countless instances have evolved of brokenness, heartache, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and division in the universal Body of Christ.  The name of the holy Son of God, Jesus Christ, has been maligned and abused because of such inability to love unconditionally in accordance with the words the Apostle Paul penned in his letter to the Church at Corinth (I Corinthians 13:4-8a).

          Perhaps, though, we shouldn’t be surprised at such because we may be guilty of attempting to put “new wine into old wineskins.”  The TNIV version of Luke 5:36-39 gives us insight as to why we have the problem and how we can resolve this scourge of animosity.  The passage reads as follows: He (Jesus) told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one.  If they do, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.  And people do not pour new wine into old wineskins.  If they do, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.  And none of you, after drinking old wine, wants the new, for you say, ‘The old is better.’”

          The reading of this simple passage is clear; you cannot mix the old with the new.  The reason is the challenging and complex part of human nature that despises change. Though life is filled with change, and everything in and around us does change at some point in time, people are extraordinarily resistant to change.  At the root of this is the human desire to control our environment and circumstances around us so we can create a sense of stability and comfort in our lives.  It is a selfish notion based upon trusting in ourselves and our own abilities to control everything that affects us, rather than to trust in God who can guide us through life changes in a way that brings about spiritual growth and maturity.  We are control “freaks” who, while claiming to trust God for all things, are often actually trusting only in ourselves, subconsciously stating that we really don’t trust God to come through for us.  And, when we do this, we’re really saying, “God, if you are going to come through for me, I want it to turn out the way I want it to be.  I do not want to be inconvenienced by you or experience discomfort at your hand.  Let it be my way.”

          When Jesus presents this discourse to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law present at the banquet the tax collector Levi had given, He realized that they cannot change from who they think they are and from what they have grown to embrace as truth.  In other words, they are resistant to change because they risk losing control.  They cannot envision what the future might hold if they allow themselves to let go and truly trust God.  They are in a form of spiritual bondage that has them bound mentally, emotionally and spiritually in chains that cannot be seen but are equally real and strong. 

          This phenomenon is no different in our day.  Though the contemporary worship movement is alive and well, it finds difficulty in gaining acceptance in traditional congregations.  Though traditional congregants will express a desire to reach out to those who need a saving relationship with the Father through the Son, they are only willing to engage in such outreach if they do not have to change from that which they know and can control.  They are unwilling to reach people where they are at and will only accept them if they can conform to their “old wineskins.”  They have drunk the “old wine” and think that is better than any “new wine” could ever be.  What they are really saying is that they refuse to change. 

          Jesus knew this truth then and He knew it would be true yet today.  His admonition is, therefore, don’t put the “new wine” into the “old wineskins.”  In other words, any efforts introducing contemporary worship into a traditional setting (“old wineskins”) will probably not work and only result in loss.  The “new wine” will cause the “old wineskins” to burst and that is exactly what we see in churches today.  The result is the tragic list of painful results listed previously.  Brokenness, heartache, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and division in the universal Body of Christ wells to the surface and enormous amounts of time and energy are invested in seeking to put a round peg into a square hole.  The more effort that is expended by either side to introduce new ways to reach people for the kingdom results in a pitiful waste of energy that could be used more fruitfully to reach those needing a spiritual foundation.

          The answer seems clear.  If God is calling us to reach different cultures, generations, races, and/or ideologies that do not know or desire traditional worship services, then we are foolish to stay in a traditional environment and expend energy “fighting” for a change that cannot happen.  People are being “lost” daily while we argue over styles of worship.  Therefore, those who seek to introduce “new wine” should seek to be set free to go their own way and begin a work of “new wine.”  Eliminate the terrible waste of time, giftedness, money, etc. to force something that, most likely, will never be accepted to the point of making a profound impact.  This also includes churches that have a traditional service in the basement or fellowship hall while holding traditional services in the sanctuary.  The reality is that the division is still there and all who are outside the walls of the traditional church see it, even if we cannot admit it ourselves.  Because we think we have found a “compromise”, we think all is will.  It’s not.

          The best model is for traditional congregations to set the “new wine” people free to start new churches (“new wineskins”).  Consider financial and administrative assistance but allow them to go with love and encouragement to begin a new work.  Consider having a service of sending to affirm the call in which you cannot share but know that what they are seeking to do will reach people you cannot.  And, for those who are going, if the traditional church struggles to send you into ministry with love and support, politely and kindly leave, thanking them for all they have done for you in your spiritual journey to this point.  Go with God and trust in Him to provide for you as you begin a new work in His name.

          In conclusion, I think it’s imperative we recognize the human stumbling block in our churches that Satan uses to keep us from reaching those who need spiritual underpinnings.  We also need to recognize that most people in most churches struggle with change for the reasons cited.  We need to recognize, as Jesus did, that this is real – it is truth - and the only way to address it is to create “new wineskins” for the “new wine.”  We are not being judgmental; we’re just acknowledging the truth that spiritual maturity in churches is hard to attain.  It’s not a bad thing to establish new churches under the concept of the “new wine” and “new wineskins.”  In fact, it may very well be what God has been expecting us to do since Jesus said what He did in the home of Levi. 

          How have we missed the truth for so long? 


©2009 Mel Menker

All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author.







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Reviewed by Angel Worship 12/28/2009
I have realized by doing the research on denominational faith that many people (religions)are false and that many teaching are far off and misleading leaving the spirit empty and still wandering but true research answers questions as long as one has the Comforter with them and listen they can learn alot of truth. Man meaning human beings teach one way the things of the world like prosperity teaching telling us that God wants us to prosper in money but the true prosperity is with knowledge of Him. He says for us to give our sacrifice of us not of money we are to be dedicated to His way of living for us not man way of living. we are to acknowledge His Holy days and not man's holidays for they mean nothing not true meaning but God Holy days have means and blessings for His people. Just as we think carnal instead of stepping out into spirituality thinking we snare our souls for not having a broader mind set just narrow living carnal a snare to us for God sees our soul filty with unrepented sins but if we take time open our minds to the way of His world then we can prosper He takes care of His but if we concentrate on the world and the worldly things we will fail our self and no one is to blame but us. For in 1John1 makes it very clear that God does not fellowship with darkness(unrighteousness) but with light(the righteous) those are they whom have been reconciled to Him they have receive penance and been washed in the baptism so now cleanse your garment(soul) and learn the truth. This is the time for we live in judgement now and you have heard the message. By the way we fail to define ourselves when we are walking around saying we want to heave but yet we say we are saints whom in the dictionary express fallen
knowledge:a person is a spirit with a soul and carcass(body)
Another thing when Christianity came about people were forced to convert reseach it many were murdered God said you shall not murder so how could this be the true faith
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