Close your eyes and fondly recall a time when half-awake children weren't shoved out the door in pre-dawn hours to board a bus with many unruly youth using coarse language and giggling at sexual images shared on their iPhones. Moms felt no pressure to rush off to fight freeway traffic and get to jobs, believing women today "have to work" outside the home to simply survive. Couples were content knowing that in the season of raising small children it's wise to lower a standard of living to maintain one's quality of life.
Wait a second! That may have worked "back in the day," but this is one of many areas where we need to change, accept new norms and keep pace with progress.
Here's the deal: Multitudes today are unconsciously succumbing to a subtle deception of thinking values and practices of the past need to be discarded as "old-school" when, in reality, many are actually biblically-based and still "best practices" for healthy, stable, God-glorifying lives.
Cop-Out or Cool?
What's wrong with responding and affirming the phrase "old school?"
We hear it all the time. It's a cool expression and it seems innocuous, right?
News analyst Bill O'Reilly's latest book is entitled Old School.
NBA superstar Kevin Durant whose team won the world championship says, "I'm an old-school type of guy!"
Even basketball icon Michael Jordan states, "I'm not a Twitterer, I'm not a twerker, I'm not a Facebooker. I am a nothing ... I'm old school."
So what's the problem?
It all depends. Precisely what are you talking about when you use it?
The phrase can mean corny, irrelevant, outdated, ancient or old fashioned. It can also mean something that is time tested, stable and proven superior.
The Positive Side of Old School
Is displaying good manners, being a gentleman and being respectful to women and elders old school? How about not cutting off a person when disagreeing or refraining from belittling someone of a different opinion? Is that old school?
Retired Green Bay Packers superstar Brett Favre boldly states, "Maybe I'm old school, but I always thought you honor a contract." He's right on the money! How radically different is this quarterback's attitude than that of another one stubbornly refusing to pay homage to our National Anthem.
How about the following:
- Marriage is for life/vows are kept.
- Sex is saved for marriage.
- You consistently deal with children's tantrums and misbehavior and not dismiss them as "cute" stages that will disappear.
- Your word is your bond.
- "Yes, please," "No thank you," "Excuse me," are still in your vocabulary.
- You want something so you avoid idleness and work for it, versus thinking you're entitled to it.
- You send thank-you notes, express gratitude and honor RSVPs.
- You can be counted on to be faithful and fulfill commitments.
- You don't betray a confidence.
- You have a conviction: Unborn babies are to be protected and abortion is not "women's health care."
- You courageously and charitably address controversial issues, resisting man-pleasing and the fear of man.
- You're punctual for appointments.
- You serve others by responsible planning versus last minute "spontaneity" rationalized with flimsy excuses.
- You honor God's unchanging design for marriage and communicate winsomely a biblically-informed position on LGBTQ issues.
- You pay your bills on time.
- You wait to eat until everyone is seated and you've given thanks to God.
- You train children to honor parents, show respect for others, eat what's on the plate, not exit the table anytime they please, be mannerly, especially out in public.
- Morals, values, honesty and loyalty are taught, modeled and upheld in your home.
Old school? Multitudes think they are, and look where America is at as a result.
Disobedience and Deception
The recent "Nashville Statement" simply affirming basic scriptural doctrine on marriage and morality is viewed as "old school" by many professing Christian leaders. Our Catholic mayor here in Nashville, Megan Berry, is one of them.
Megan says of her Christianity, "I live my faith every day." She attended Catholic high school and should understand fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church, rooted in the Bible.
The statement should be a no-brainer for obedient Christians. It's been affirmed by scores of respected leaders across America, yet Ms. Berry publicly renounced it. She feels it is "not inclusive."
Marriage exclusively between one man and one woman would be "old school" to our "progressive" mayor. She also officiates at homosexual "marriages" plus, among other things, supports marijuana decriminalization (even though her only son just died tragically from ingesting it in a drug overdose).
Landmarks Safeguard Our Future
Because of departure from our Judeo-Christian foundations in America, many people don't want the "old paths." Why bother to walk in what God-fearing Americans say are "good ways" that bring rest and stability to our souls and society?
"Thus says the Lord, stand in the ways and see, and ask for the good paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'" (Jer.6:16).
God also tells us, "Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set" (Prov. 22:28). This admonition has both civil and spiritual applications.
From the dawn of civilization people placed landmarks, piles of stones and masonry pillars to signify unchanging ownership of their inheritance. They did this because unscrupulous individuals moved markers to deceive and steal land.
On the spiritual side, God established laws for His glory and our good. They are chiseled in granite, not subject to change. Throughout history, fathers in the faith upheld them because unscrupulous people tried to deceive and steal the inheritance God ordained for us.
We must be discerning when people increasingly use this trendy catchphrase to dismiss behavior inconsistent with the Bible. For multitudes, it's become a simple and quick way to swat away what many have come to view as offensive, outdated or out-of-step with what's now okay in pop culture.
Practicing homosexuality and condoning same-sex marriage is an attempt to move the ancient landmark. Airbrushing away the sin and repackaging it as an "alternative lifestyle" stemming from "brokenness" now warrants acceptance not judgment.
Months into my new Christian life, I called my pastor, inquiring what was God's will regarding sexual involvement prior to marriage. He wisely took me to three passages of Scripture and then asked me what they meant. Within 10 minutes, I knew my life needed to change to obey God's plan for purity before marriage and fidelity in marriage. After 41 years of a stable and strong marriage and family, I have no regrets in honoring God's "ancient landmarks."
Commitment to Commandments
God declares of Himself, "For I am the Lord, I do not change!" (Mal.3:6a). Referring to principles of Scripture (not personal preferences in "gray areas" like styles of music or clothes), our sacred duty is upholding the Word of God.
Christians across America need to make a quality decision that we will reject all attempts to disregard God's clear-cut biblical commands. Those who cavalierly reject God's order for men, women and family or justify sinful conduct by saying "Oh, that's old school. Hardly anybody believes that anymore!" must not be excused but rather exposed.
Examples in the moral realm include: attendance at strip clubs; viewing pornography; living together (fornicating); using profanity and blaspheming God's name; smoking dope; drunkenness; marrying an unbeliever; practicing homosexuality and lesbianism; same-sex "marriage;" having affairs (adultery); extramarital flirtation and sexting; viewing programming of nudity, graphic violence and perversion (e.g. Game of Thrones); attending booze/weed-saturated, raunchy bachelor/bachelorette parties and premarital sexual activity are all contradictory to the will of God for our lives. The same applies to stealing, lying and slandering, including hateful social media attacks.
This isn't legalism; it's liberating to know the truth. That's why leaders nationwide urge you to take the 30-day Bullseye Challenge to equip yourself in today's 30 hot-button areas! Jesus came to not only forgive our sins but liberate us from sin's power and give us an "abundant life" (John 10:10). Let's stay in the "school of the Spirit" and reject any "old school" nonsense that comes our way.
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 46 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy adviser with Liberty Counsel. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). and he has a variety of resources on his website (see www.larrytomczak.com). You can also hear his weekly podcast here.
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