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New and Improved or Old and Preserved?

Deuteronomy 12:8 says, “Ye
shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatso­ever
is right in his own eyes.”
Judges 17:6 says, “In
those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right
in his own eyes.”
Judges 21:25 says, “In
those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in
his own eyes.”

There are only a few times
in the Bible when a statement is made just three times. The previous Scriptures
are one such instance. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes. The
time of the Judges is probably the most misunderstood time in the entire Bible.
There is some feeling in our minds that the time of the Judges was a time of
darkness and a time when there were no great men. Yet some of the greatest men
in the Bible lived in the time of the Judges: Gideon, Shamgar, Ehud, Samuel,
We think of the time of
the Judges as a time when evil men did evil, but that is just not true. We
think of it as a time when men chose to do evil and that is just not
true.  The Bible does not say that every man did that which was sinful in
his own eyes. Rather, it was a time when men decided to do right. 
The time of
the Judges was a time when men decided to do right. They were sincere in their
efforts to do right. It was a time when men tried to do right. This was no
Sodom and Gomorrah age. This was no age like Noah’s age. This was no time of
knowing right and then choosing to do wrong. The truth is, they chose to do
right. The Bible does not say they did wrong in their own eyes. The Bible says
they did that which was right in their own eyes.
 This is exactly what
happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan did not say to Eve, “I want you to
do wrong.” Satan said to Eve, “I want you to do right.” However, he added,
“Eve, I want you to decide what is right.” Satan never went to Eve and said, “I
want you to do wicked things.” He simply said, “Eat the fruit of the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil, and you will be as gods.”  So, Eve decided
what was right to do. Her intention was to do right! However, no man has a
right to decide what is right. This book called the Bible decides for us what
is right.
 Genesis 3:5 says, “knowing good and evil.” The word “knowing” is defined as the word determining. Satan is saying, “Eat the
fruit of that tree, and you will be as gods. Then you can determine, or decide,
what is good and what is evil. The bottom line would be that man would not need
 Time and time again
the Bible says about certain kings that they did evil in the sight of the Lord,
or they did right in the sight of the Lord. Therefore, not all of the kings
were bad men. Some were men who wanted to do that which was right. It does not
say that they did evil in their own sight, but in the sight of the Lord. There
was no doubt what was wrong. The big­gest mistake anyone will make is to decide
what is right and what is wrong. God Almighty knows what is right and what is
 Good men with good
motives have caused the de­terioration of a family, marriage, school, college,
or church. They do things thinking they can improve them. All of us should be
more concerned with pre­serving than improving. For example, I have a preserved
King James Bible, not an improved King James Bible. I belong to a preserved
local New Testament Baptist church, not an improved local New Testament Baptist
church. We have preserved doc­trines, not improved doctrines. God is not doing
a new thing; He is doing an old thing.
 You cannot improve
on the New Testament pattern for preaching, but you can preserve old-fashioned
Bible preaching. You cannot improve on God’s personal soul winning plan, but
you can preserve God’s personal soul winning plan.
 The greatest days of
Moody Bible Institute were before its leaders started improving the school. The
greatest days of Bob Jones University were before its leaders started improving
it. The greatest days of Tennessee Temple University were before its leaders
started improving it. If you want to destroy a school or college, then attempt
to improve it.
Leadership should
constantly fight the fight of pre­serving or preservation. When I pastored Longview Baptist Temple I was constantly
checking our church and schools to see how we compare with the way we were in
the past.    I am
constantly undoing our improvements in order to return to our preserved ways.
It is easy to do what is right in our own eyes, thereby quickly improving
ourselves right out of the soul winning business, the King James Bible
position, the local, independent Baptist church position, old-fashioned
services, old-fashioned preaching, old-fashioned standards, old-fashioned
music, old-fash­ioned bus ministry, etc.
 When Moody Bible
Institute, Bob Jones University, Tennessee Temple University, and other Bible
col­leges quit preserving and started improving, they had to quit preserving.
Please do not misunderstand me; you can build a new building and still preserve
old-fashioned Bible preaching. You can remodel and still preserve the King
James Bible. You can replace the carpet and still preserve the old-fashioned
doctrines. You can purchase new usher coats, new carpet, new buildings, etc.,
and everything will be fine as long as you preserve truths. You can install a computer system and still preserve the old time religion.
 We have a problem,
though, when we say the mes­sage is divine, but not the method. Be careful when
preachers start preaching that God is doing a “new thing.” These men are
opening the door of liberalism. You cannot improve personal soul winning, the
King James Bible, old-fashioned songs, old-fashioned preaching, old-fashioned
services, old-fashioned standards, the pastor-led church, old-fashioned
schools, and old-fashioned Bible colleges.
 The men who led in
the deterioration of Moody Bible Institute were good men who thought they were
doing right by improving, but they failed to preserve. Bad men destroy
institutions, but good men make them destroyable. Longview Baptist Temple will
not be destroyed by the generation following me. If she is destroyed, it will
be the next generation that allows it to happen. 
A lot of the men who built great works in the past were simple and were in some ways intimated by the young men and their intellectualism.  Yet, they built what the young men have destroyed.  I am not saying number wise, but content wise.  They improved themselves to death.
Institutions do not decay in
one genera­tion. Good men begin to improve what they are given instead of
preserving what they are given, thereby giving the second generation the
opportunity to de­stroy that institution. Then bad men take over and destroy
that institution. 
We do not need a new and improved Longview Baptist Temple; we
need a pre­served Longview Baptist Temple. Fifty years from now, LBT should be
as she is today; she should just have a whole lot more of the same! LBT ought
to have the same King James Bible, same personal soul winning, same standards,
same old-fashioned sing­ing, same old-fashioned services, same methods, etc.,
for years to come.
 Good men take over
institutions with a desire to do right. 
Then they do what is right in their eyes, calling it improvement. When
they do what is right in God’s sight, they are preserving. When we preserve
instead of improve, we are right; but when we improve instead of preserving, we
are wrong. 
New songs are not bad as long as they preserve the old truths. The
worldly beat, worldly melody, and worldly performer can be used to improve songs;
but a little leaven will begin to leaven the whole loaf of music. When a
preacher says that God is doing a new thing with music, run! New buildings are
not bad as long as they house the pre­serving of the truth. New carpet, new
furnishings, new pews, etc., are not bad if the truth is preserved.
 In these fifty-four years at the Longview Baptist Temple, whatever has worked within the boundaries
of the Bible should not be meddled with by the lead­ership. If our church,
schools, or Texas Baptist College are ever destroyed, it will be because of bad
men who use what they have been given by good men who attempted to improve, not
 Thus, the real
problem is good men who do good, but it is good in their eyes, not God’s eyes.
They de­cide, they choose, they determine—all with the idea of improving.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the
end thereof are the ways of death.”
God is talking about good men who are
doing what they think is right. 
Watch this carefully; the verse does not say
that while they are doing what they think is right, death will occur.  It says, “…the end thereof are the
ways of death.”
Proverbs 16:25 also says that a good man does what he
thinks is right, but he unknowingly prepares for a takeover by bad men.
Most church trouble is
caused by good men who pressure leadership to do what is right in their own
eyes, in hopes of improving.  
When H. A. Ironside turned sixty, he met with his deacon board and told
them, “Men I’m getting older, and you men know what I want done. No longer can
I control or lead in the de­cisions that must be made. I could do it when I was
young; but I am traveling a lot, so I want you men to make the decisions from
now on. You men know what I want, and I think it would improve our church. I
will just preach and pastor while leaving the rest of the decisions up to you.” 
Moody Church started deterio­rating from that moment on. The deterioration was
not caused by Dr. Ironside or those board members; the next generation
destroyed the great soul winning of Moody Church because the next preachers
were handcuffed by the next generation board members.
 Not only do I want
the next generation to be funda­mental; but I also want the next generation to
have a preserved fundamentalism, not an improved fundamentalism. People should quit
pressuring leadership to im­prove and start encouraging the leaders to
preserve. In these forty-two years of preaching, I have watched good people
decide for themselves what is right.  
 Our country is being
destroyed by good men who decide what they believe to be right in their own
eyes. Thus, the Supreme Court strikes down our sodomy laws in Texas. Soon bad
men will take these deci­sions and destroy America. There is an inevitable end
to a nation who in the 1960’s said that we will decide what is right.
When the public school
system kicked God out of their schools, they began a deterioration of our
nation. I am not saying that the men who made those deci­sions were bad men.
They were good men who attempted to decide what was right. Those men rea­soned
in their own minds to do right, but they forgot to ask God what was right.
 Wanting to do right is not good enough! The ques­tion
is, Who will decide what is right? The Bible says that every man did that which
was right—not wrong—in his own eyes. Most false teachings were started by men
who wanted to do right, not wrong. It seems, they say, that good men should go
to Heaven, and bad men should go to Hell. Wait a minute—who are they to decide
such things? There is not a Ph.D in America who can match the mind of God.
Watch it when preachers start saying “God is doing a new thing in our

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