The enduring realities are anchored in the God revealed in Christ

The poet Edmund Spenser speaks of “the ever-whirling wheele of Change, the which all mortal things doth sway.” And down the years, peaceful or war-tormented, change has indeed been the order of time. Watching history, we are tempted to say with Shelley: “Naught may endure but mutability.”

The mainspring of movement is in all things; nothing stands still. Seemingly immobile matter is but energy in prescribed patterns of motion. Sun and sand, oceans and blood-rills, star-swarms and morning glories—something is happening to all of them, always. “Get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and to make new ones like them,” said Marcus Aurelius.

Yet paradoxically change has ever been disturbing to mankind. Many a person might say with the character in Browning’s Paracelsus: “I detest all change, and most a change in aught I loved long since.” Men like ruts. They cry, as did the man in Jesus’ parable who tasted the new wine: “The old is better!”

Change often disconcerts Christians; yet from time to time transitions must be made. “The old order changeth” and the new invades our lives. Theology and philosophy are affected; doctrines may need reinterpretation; translations of truth may crowd in upon us. Sometimes we are shocked, sometimes amused. We sweat in agony of spirit when some scientist threatens to mar that awful opening sentence of the Bible—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” But we wag our heads and grin when in place of the King James Version’s, “Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss,” we find the paraphrase, “Give a handshake all round.”

In dead seriousness evangelicals face such innovations ...

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