Read: Matthew 15
“And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition.” (Matthew 15:6)
Tradition gets a bad rap in Christian circles these days. Much of modern, so-called “seeker-sensitive” spirituality has pretty much done away with anything that smacks of tradition. Yet not all tradition is bad.
However, it is safe to say that the reason modern Christianity is down on tradition is that many churches have done exactly what Jesus warned against: They have nullified the authority and power of God’s Word by blind allegiance to tradition.
We must be careful at all costs to avoid unthinking and unquestioned loyalty to a tradition. We ought to boldly question anything that prevents seekers from experiencing the reality of a God whose Son broke scores of ridiculous rules and then died to redeem those very seekers. We ought to courageously challenge anything that keeps believers from walking more intimately with Jesus Christ. We ought to seriously evaluate anything that might stand in the way of God’s presence when he, himself, went out of his way to remove every barrier to his presence. When any tradition, no matter how well loved and appropriate at some time in the past, hinders worship, belief, and intimacy with the Almighty, that tradition has to go!
What traditions am I talking about? I don’t know—you tell me. Perhaps it has to do with style of music or appropriate worship attire or a preferred version of the Bible or how your church practices Holy Communion. It could be anything that, by itself, is not wrong, but if that practice or tradition is now, in all honesty, worshiped or treated as sacred, then it has nullified the Word of God. Traditions are not sacred, only God is!
Take a hard look at your traditions, and the traditions of your fellowship. And if you find a sacred cow, it may be time to heat up the barbecue.
Be wise. Be prayerful. Be careful. And enjoy the burnt offering.
“To do things today exactly the way you did them yesterday saves thinking.” ~Thomas Woodrow Wilson
What If God Took Over?
Name a tradition that really helps you to experience the presence of God. Now write a paragraph describing why that tradition is important to your faith and honoring to God. If you cannot root it in a “theology” that encourages intimacy, spiritual power, the growth of the fellowship and the evangelization of the lost, then it’s time to fire up the barbecue.