Outdated, Obsolete Oddities

 If you chance to own an older home or visit one, you may be surprised by the number of items found which seem not to serve any legitimate purpose. These may have been necessities or even luxuries just a few short decades ago. Now these oddities have passed into obscurity because of new inventions.

In one of these older homes, you might check out the medicine cabinet. Inside you can find a small coin size slit in the back. Men who shaved with straight razors would deposit their dull blades into these slots. Where did they go from there? Once I replaced an old medicine cabinet and discovered a pile of rusty old razor blades piled up in the wall.

If you happen to be in a home built around the turn of the 19th century, you might discover a button on the wall or even the floor. These were connected to electrical wires and known as “butler buttons.” The homeowner would press these to summon a servant. Most of these have now been removed; covered up with paint or a rug.

The use of the cellphone has caused many changes inside the home. Gone are the bulky rotary dial phones and the phone niches found in the hallway or kitchen. One had to stand up to take or make a call. Also made obsolete are the large answering machines. Now we have voicemail or texting on our cellphones. This new generation knows nothing of a landline or phone jack or having to wait with longsuffering to use the phone, because the neighbors were using the “party line.”

When it comes to office equipment in the home, computers with Wi-Fi connections to the internet have made fax machines and typewriters outdated, Rolodexes have also been replaced with an electronic version on our phones and computers. Not only has more space been freed up on the desk but also on the family bookshelf. The large multi-volume set of encyclopedias have been made superfluous. Now if you want to know the gross national product of Kenya or the circumference of Jupiter you can just ask Google.

Perhaps the area of the home which has seen the most change is around the old entertainment center. The large box television sitting on the floor has been replaced by the large screen flat TV mounted on the wall. And these are smart and have Wi-Fi. So, no need for a set of rabbit ear antennas to position just right to achieve good reception, thus allowing you to watch the ball game. Missing from the entertainment center is the VCR with the collection of videotapes. We still have a library of Disney classic videos. Also missing is the videotape rewinder. While renting videotapes from Blockbuster (also gone) the customer was reminded to “Be Kind, Rewind.” At some rental locations customers were charged fifty cents for failing to be kind.

Most of these changes have been good and more efficient for the lives of homeowners. Likewise, there have been many changes in the past with regard to religion and worship. When Christ came many things became obsolete. Before His death on the cross every morning and evening there were animal sacrifices at the altar. In fact, throughout the year many lambs, rams, goats, and heifers were sacrificed. Now “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28). The blood of bulls and goats are obsolete (Heb. 10:4).  The need for a separate priesthood has been replaced with all the saints serving as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

The place of worship was the Tabernacle then the Temple in Jerusalem and now Jesus says, “the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father… But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:21,23). Yes, things are better in regard to phones and entertainment.  According to Hebrews, in Christ we have “a better hope” (7:19); “a better covenant” (7:22); “better promises” (8:6); “better sacrifices” (9:23); and a “better resurrection” (11:35).

There are some things which can never be improved upon, updated, or replaced. God is the Creator of all things both physical and spiritual. He does not make things imperfect or defective. God does not need to change or be improved. He is unchangeable. “For I am the Lord, I do not change”

(Mal. 3:6). The Son of God does not change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). God’s Word does not need to change. “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mt. 24:35). Peter wrote, “the word of God which lives and abides forever, because ‘All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever’” (1 Peter 1:23b-25). The church purchased and built by Christ does not need to change or be replaced or updated. The Hebrew writer states, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb 12:28).

Several years ago, John Shelby Spong wrote a book titled “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” He listed several reasons.

• “Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead.”
• “…it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. ”
• “The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post–Darwinian nonsense”
• “There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in Scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.”

According to Spong and so many like him, God, Jesus, the Bible and the church must change. Its ideas are wrong and outdated.

But can we imagine an all-knowing and all-powerful God being so inept that He could not make a book or church that would be able to endure throughout all the ages of mankind? Better yet, can you imagine a mere mortal claiming to be able to change any of these for the better? Trying to change God, His word and His Kingdom will not change the outcome for sinners on the day of judgment.

– Daniel R. Vess

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Categories: The Forum