Proverbs 24:21-22 My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
Progressives are reformers who labor to move organizations or nations “forward” with the times, and seek progress toward a vision of a better world. But, if I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, moving forward is the last thing I want. Progressivism presupposes change is always in the right direction, or a change in any direction is needed at all. It was said of President Calvin Coolidge, “Nobody has ever worked harder at inactivity… thwarting political activity wherever there are signs of life.” There are times and ways in which people, organizations, and countries must change — but those given to change are rebels against authority and the Bible warns against such revolutionaries and reformers.
The proverb tells us to fear the Lord and the King, to respect and honor authority. Fearing the Lord is conforming our lives to his instructions, and our hearts to His law. Fearing the king is to honoring the laws and his authority as long as they do not conflict with the laws of God. Our concern should not be to “get with the times” or to “be on the right side of history” but to be right with God. The revolutionaries vision of a future utopia trumps everything else, progress by any means necessary.
Sometimes, the best way is backwards. Sinners are called to repent, to turn away from sin and unto God. There are standards of truth and when you stray from what’s right, the only sensible way to go is back. If you were swimming in the ocean, and look up and realize you have drifted too far from the shore, “Onward!” is not the wisest move. You may be from a long line of people who have been wrong for generations. For you, “progress” would be to stop and turn.
Sometimes, the best move is no move at all. God’s people are told to stand fast in the faith, to hold fast to the doctrines we have received. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s outdated. God defined marriage, it’s purpose, and it’s participants, so any deviation from God’s eternal truth will be the ruin for all involved.
Men who are given to change scoff at tradition. Some traditions are not found in the Bible, but they also don’t contradict the Bible either. It could very well be, those who went before us weren’t dummies and had their reasons. The failure of those who hold to good traditions often comes from not being able to explain them or show why they are good. Honor your forefathers, and at least understand why they said and thought the way they did before you set fire to the traditions of old. Because there’s a generation of toddlers, future reformers, waiting their turn to topple over today’s progressives.