New Is Not Better (Neither Is Old)

The belief that an idea is good based solely on its age is what C. S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery”. This idea is very prevalent in the modern evangelical world, and it is as much dangerous as it is available.


It is a logical fallacy to say that because something is old it is good, and likewise the same fallacy is committed when something new is thought to be good simply because of its newness. And the reverse is true as well; something is not bad because it is old or because it is new. It’s “newness” is irrelevant to its goodness.

In the realm of ideas, time is not the determiner of goodness.

For church leaders, understanding this concept is very important. There is a tendency to jump to the “new” just because it is there. The underlying assumption is that a method must be better because it is new. There is also the tendency to shun any idea or methodology with a little age on it, because again, we assume age is the determining factor. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Something is good if it is good, irregardless of age.

It doesn’t matter if a particular evangelistic method is 50 years old, if it still works, its good. And likewise, it doesn’t matter that a new discipleship book is hot off the press – if it is effective, its good. There are a thousand applications to this realization in the church. Let us begin making an effort to judge methods and ideas based on merit and not on age.

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