Time Capsule

March 16th 2016 Written By Matt S.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have been out of touch with something for a while, you come back, and it’s all changed?

I was in a situation something like this in my Christian walk. I placed my self in a time capsule and buried myself for 30 odd years, occasionally checking the contents of the time capsule to see that they were not perished.

I was raised as a Catholic and in my teens became associated with some amazing Charismatic Catholic folk. Through them I discovered that there was a lot more to the drab spiritual existence I was persevering with. This led to me getting a personal relationship with God, and more importantly understanding that I needed to have this relationship with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I was around fourteen to fifteen years of age at the time when I came to this realization.

Inevitably satan stomped on me (that’s another story) to see what would give and I wobbled around for a few years battling with a dysfunctional home environment and the usual teen dramas.

I ended up marrying someone who alluded to being a Christian but was not, and that was my fault for not checking this out thoroughly first. I should have known better. This was deeply disturbing for me as I had hoped for something different. I was ashamed, guilty and just wanting to hide. So I put myself in a time capsule.

I had an occupation that was not a good one for nice routine and orderly Christianity. I worked shifts and most weekends so was able to isolate myself well from any Christian contact. I occasionally dabbled at the edges of Church life, with a quick foray into church territory and then I would disappear again back into my time capsule. Some of those forays were wholly unpleasant experiences so I would scurry back quickly at times.

However at the back of my mind (always) was that God was there. I pleaded with him at times not to let me go, (as I was busily running in the other direction, go figure…………….).

Finally a few years ago (around 3 or 4) I got deeply convicted by Matthew Chapter 24. This chapter would keep coming back to me time and time again as I browsed the daily news. I decided that I could no longer bury my head in the sand with God. So I started my foray back into the world of Christianity. What shocked me the most was that there had been very significant, but subtle change to the Christian world. Some of these changes were obvious, and some not so obvious. I was not sure that I was overly happy with what I was seeing either.

What was interesting is that I was able to compare the Christian experience of my teens to my current situation with some clarity, as there was a significant gap in time.

So what had changed?

My disclaimer – this perception of change that I write about is from my perspective, it is how I see things, so it will be coloured by my recall of events. However I have discussed these things with other Christian folk and they report similar ideas and memories, (so it’s not all just in my head) and that is what has lead me to write this article.

I have two columns below and the LEFT side will represent what I remember; the RIGHT side will be what I see now.



Most Churches had regular services twice on Sunday and regular weekday Home-groups.

Very hard to find a church that has an evening service on Sunday (one that I would willingly attend anyway) and home groups are non existent for most churches.

I could discuss such topics as the beast, 666, the Rapture, the 2nd Coming of Jesus, spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues, New Age ideas, demons, being saved, intercessory prayer and cults with most of my Christian friends without them batting an eyelid.

Okay so some of the traditional Catholic and Anglican folk thought I was a bit mad and well some things just don’t change.

There are very very few Christians that will discuss these issues now. You really have to search them out. Many Christians who want to discuss it get shut down by friends and family members. It seems that many Christians want rational/scientific explanations these days. The New Age is the norm now, and acceptable to Christians (how rational is that). These days most Christians think you are slightly or wholly mad for even thinking these ideas.

Homosexuality was not up for negotiation, nor was any other type of lifestyle that the Bible (Gods Word) spoke about as being unacceptable.

This is seen as normal behaviour now even by many Christians. Christians won’t even challenge homosexuality as a sin let alone disagree with the homosexual political agenda. The bible is clear on homosexuality as a sin but most Christians don’t read their bibles now anyway. Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-28.

Witchcraft and other occult activities were regarded as evil, dangerous and off limits. But we still did them because they were just a bit naughty.

Witchcraft has been normalized like many other biblically forbidden practices. “Woe to them that say evil is good and good is evil”. With mainstream movies and the gaming industry promoting the occult, and witches coming out and saying they practice a peaceful pagan earth religion. Once again the bible is clear about witchcraft. Deuteronomy 18:10-13

Yoga was a practice of the Hindu religion and was not acceptable for Christians; it was only for alternative lifestyle folk.

Yoga is now a mainstream practice; there is even “Christian Yoga” (what!). Whatever happened to Yoga being a Hindu religious practice? Why can’t people do calisthenics like we used to do? Exodus 20:3

Christian bookstores were full of every amazing type of book you could imagine. The music also really good and you could find all sorts of interesting Christian paraphernalia.

I really miss the good Christian bookstore. I went into a Christian book store recently and I was appalled. I guess with being able to get stuff online it has reduced their sales considerably but they have not moved with the times. The books that I did see were feel-good books that would have been more at home in the New Age section of the local library.

Bible in schools was accepted as being good for kids to have some moral teaching.

There are people actively coming against bible in schools now, I bet you won’t see them say a peep about the “it’s got more holes than Swiss cheese” theory of evolution (quote Artemis Fowl). I remember having to face off a number School Trustees just to keep Bible in Schools for my own children. God is good.

Most people, even non church folk, identified with some religion and maybe attended once a year at Christmas.

Most people are not willing in any way shape or form, to discuss Christianity now. It is a dirty word. Yet it is okay to get a dose of Hindu each week at the gym. Very few people attend church now; most ‘Z’ gen kids have never heard the Gospel. The Gospel is banned in preschool unless it is a Christian preschool, but it is okay to have native spiritual legends, or the story of why it is okay to have two mothers.

Christmas and Easter were a special time for Christians and the nation commemorated these days with Christian Movies on TV and Christian symbols as decorations.

Well there is not really TV anymore and I’m not sure I would want to watch any of the latest so called Christian movies. Christmas and Easter are now just holidays where people get together to annoy each other, drink and eat too much. Who is this Jesus guy anyway, is he on face book?

Deliverance ministry was a common practice and people did not shy away from addressing this area.

Who talks about deliverance anymore, I had a discussion with a retired evangelical pastor recently about demonic spirits. His advice was to stay away from those that dealt in deliverance as “nothing good comes from it”. But wait a minute! Wasn’t Jesus doing deliverance on a regular basis? How do we deal with the demonized and any demonic attack in our own lives? Mark 16:17

The devil was public enemy number one for Christians and they watched for his influence.

Nobody talks about our number one enemy satan. I’ve been told not to talk about because if you do you give him glory. If that’s the case then the bible gives him plenty of glory! May it never be! The bible tells to stand against our enemy and be aware of his schemes, 2nd Corinthians 2:11, Ephesians 6:11.

People were more respectful of others and willing to help people in need.

Okay so people just seem to be so much angrier and self centered these days. If people give, they seem to have to show the world their giving just to show how good they are, or make sure they get it back in the tax return. Respect does not even seem to be in peoples vocabularies these days.

Christian denominations were for the most part able to take part in conferences together despite doctrinal differences.

There is a bit of this still, but it seems to be taking an ominous turn in the direction of ecumenism. Pope Francis believes we all serve the same God of Love. There seem to be clear divisions in the body of Christ with Liberal churches heading the open, inclusive and tolerant way. Others seem to be headed in a more militant, political direction.

There were far more conferences and really good speakers, with fellowship/worship etc.

There was also an abundance of good foundational Christian values taught at these conferences.

In New Zealand we see very few conferences now. If you want to go to a good one you need to go to America.

Cults were treated as cults and shunned by people unless you belonged to the cult of course.

Well we still have plenty of cults but they seem to be much more in the way of new age thinking now. Cults of emotional healing, cults of personal growth and “wallet lightening”. UFO cults, financial cults, the cult of personality adoration. They wear many different guises now but they still do the same old nonsense.

People were much more spiritually aware of right and wrong, even non Christians.

Morals, a conscience, good personal boundaries just seem to be very flexible now. So flexible that once again, “good seems to be bad” and “bad seems to be good”, Isaiah 5:20. So many people are being scammed now by unscrupulous greedy selfish people. Unless there is sincere repentance from these scammers I would point them to Hebrews 10:31

People seemed to have better boundaries in personal relationships. Poor boundaries were not tolerated as much.

There have always been poor boundaries in human relationships to some extent; it is part of our fallen condition. But! Tolerance of poor behavior seems to be at an all time high. People complain that their feelings have been hurt and their rights violated at the drop of a hat. In turn others seem to be happy to violate others personal lives without any concern for what it does to others. Narcissism rules.

Most Christians had a good understanding of the Gospel and foundational Christian principles.

I hear so little of the Gospel these days. This is probably why we are headed rapidly into social chaos. When do you ever hear of the need to repent, or why Jesus came, or sin, or prayer, or a personal relationship with a Saviour that does not involve social media!

Christians were happy to engage in missionary activity overseas and often gave up time and money to do this type of work.

There are still some good folk that are doing this overseas; however I am beginning to believe that the real missionary work is now in our own backyard these days.

Churches preached and taught regularly on repentance, sin, forgiveness, hell, God love and Jesus purpose and sacrifice. We could smack our kids if they behaved badly.

As previously mentioned, if it’s not being taught, then how are folk supposed to know about it. Maybe there is another reason also, perhaps people are not reading God’s Word to us in the form of the bible these days. We can no longer give our kids a well deserved smack in New Zealand as it is now illegal.

Certain moral guidelines (biblical most of the time) were expected to be adhered to. Marriage, adultery, fornication, pedophilia, incest, abuse in relationships, pre marital sex etc. In some instances they were not well explained or taught on. Lots of “don’t do this”, but no explanation as to why you should not.

I am happy to say that there is a ray of light with this one. There is so much information out there now. There is some great teaching available for everybody who wants to access it.

There is some clear biblical teaching on why God has prohibited certain things for humans and some great teaching on what God has really intended for us. I have discovered that there are a lot more “do’s” than “don’ts”.

Hope for the future, you could get a job, buy a house and not worry about how you were going to manage to pay the bills. Jesus would come back some day, but the signs were just not in your face.

I have concern for many young people entering the education system and workforce these days. There does not seem to be any hope or prospect for them to own their own home or raise a family without serious hardship. The idea that we are at the “end of this age” seems to be fairly apparent to those who are watching. May their hope become firmly established in Jesus, as they are not going to get it anywhere else.

No internet, no mobile phones, no face-book, no e-books or e-book readers. (Bliss)

Where are the video controls on this “gif” I say to my daughter, she responds, “Dad that’s old person talk”. Someone says to me, “don’t you answer your phone texts” as I look at my phone to find 37 backed up text messages.

I really like technology, but I am beginning to resent it’s intrusion into my life at times now.

Life was mostly relaxed and there were no great pressures.

Things seem to be so pressured these days. You have to work full time or two jobs to make ends meet. Many people are not retiring as they cannot afford to. Pressure to conform to fashion, body and image ideals, socially engineered politically correct ideals, it’s just so exhausting. Technology has intruded into every aspect of our lives. Something will have to give.

There are many more things that could be added, but you get the idea. To me there have been stark changes and many of them not good. Troy Anderson spoke of the Church being “asleep at the wheel” and to me that’s how it seems. Joanie Stahl has written a great article about her experience of the diluting down of the word of God, and a dream that she had where she saw potted plants on the church seats, in a weakened condition due to the lack of proper care and attention. God showed Joanie that these represented the people in a weakened state due to improper pastoral care.

In light of what both Troy and Joanie have said and the need for a return to the Gospel message they have both clearly pointed to, “We know what happens if you stay asleep at the wheel.