Sunday school songs taught me many theological truths, even before I was old enough to realize I was learning anything more than simple lyrics and a simple tune. For this reason, I have been trying to expose my preschoolers to some classic Sunday school songs. Last week I was playing a CD of these oldies-but-goodies (Cedarmont Kids’ Sabbath School Songs) when I really listened to the lyrics of one I hadn’t learned as a child:
“Give me that old-time religion. . . . It’s good enough for me.”
Ignoring the use of “religion” (a term I hate because it suggests lifeless rituals as opposed to an active faith in a living God), I was shocked to hear some entirely unbiblical ideas in a few of the verses of this particular version:
“It was good for the prophet Daniel. . . . It was good for the Hebrew children. . . . and it’s good enough for me.”
Wow! Doesn’t the New Testament say that the religion practiced by the Israelites was not good enough, that the Law was only a shadow of the coming Messiah, designed to show us that we cannot achieve perfection on our own (Hebrews 10:1-4)? I began to wonder if I had a CD of Jewish songs, rather than Christian songs, but no, the playlist includes “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and “Twelve Disciples,” among other distinctly new-covenant tunes.
I believe in the value of tradition, but I am not willing to embrace a pre-Christian, old-time religion as “good enough for me.” I will settle for nothing less than a living, relevant faith that makes a difference in my life today.