Monday, December 24, 2007

Evaluating Our Traditions

"You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!" -- Mark 7:9

I'm not sure why this passage of Scripture seems to speak to me so clearly every time I read it. I have blogged on this passage previously, but I wanted to address it again in light of my recent post on alcohol.

This statement from Jesus really challenges me to evaluate every tradition in light of Scripture. From the type of music we use in church to the translation of the Bible we use to the constitutions and covenants that govern our corporate convictions, I want everything to be governed by divine revelation. We must be subject to God's Word! How can we expect to please God when we reject his commandments in order to establish our own traditions?

What about our traditions like Christmas and Easter? Why do we celebrate these things? Do we celebrate because we enjoy it, or do we celebrate because we enjoy God and want to honor the name of Christ? Do we hold convictions against certain practices simply because we were taught to do so?

This evaluation of our traditions will require great effort. If we want to be biblical in every area of our lives, we must know our Bibles and we must apply God's Word to our lives. We must recognize the principles behind the biblical practices and seek to apply those same principles in our own traditions. We cannot expect to please God by doing whatever we want to do without thought to the reasons why we do them.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." -- Proverbs 14:12

"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason--I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other--my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me." -- Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, 1521

May our consciences, too, be captive to the Word of God!



Anonymous said...

Its interesting that a tradtion is only as good as the people practicing it. Jesus wasn't condeming every religious tradition or even the ceremonial washing of hands, but he was damning those who equate tradition with holiness. I think we see that today when we as Christians hold saying ''in Jesus' name'' at the end of every prayer, or a particular order of a church service as divine imperative. The world too holds her religious traditions very highly: going to church on Easter, lighting a candle in the cathedral, christenings. And we can see the absolute lack of any merit in these apart from saving faith, but still the world acts her role.

Brandon said...

Both christ-mass and Ishtar (easter) have their origin in pagan antiquity.