Jack Exum Jr posted an update 5 years, 11 months ago
Restoring NT Christianity, “Traditions” and “Altering the pattern.” The discussion of Restoring NT Christianity, necessarily involves dealing honestly with “TRADITIONS” and “ALTERATIONS.”
Some do not like the word “tradition” or “traditional” because they are wanting to just get rid of all the “old ways” of doing things and “totally transform” the church. This is extreme thinking, and is not helpful to RESTORING New Testament Christianity. While others TOTALLY OPPOSE any changes (alterations) to anything whatsoever… whether it is Bible based or not… This is also an extreme and not helpful in restoring New Testament Christianity.
We must take care when dealing with “traditions,” lest we do harm to the cause of Christ. At the same time we must keep in mind what Jesus said regarding the legalists of his day, in Mark 7:4, 8 and 9 “When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.” 8 “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (NIV)
To this scribe, “traditions” are things done over a long period of time, which may or may not be helpful, and good… and are passed down from one generation to another. Some things can and should be altered, while others may not be tampered with.
Dad tells of when he was growing up, and they were poor… Jeans were passed down, but in order to be passed down… the pattern HAD TO BE ALTERED. Altering a pair of jeans is one thing… and illustrates the point to a point. Some “traditions” are not commands… they are optional and thus “alterable,” (or disposable) while others are commands which have been passed down and cannot be altered “to fit.”
Growing up, we also often received “hand-me-down” clothing. Frankly I did not want to wear some of the “second hand” or “hand-me-downs,” while others were not so bad and could be altered a bit to fit. Wearing some “hand-me-downs” we HAD A CHOICE to wear them or not, while others, Mom or Dad ‘commanded’ “Wear it!” There was NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER.
In dealing with “traditions,” we need Scriptural BALANCE,” and understanding of how to apply “GRACE.” What the body of Christ doesn’t need are the Sectarian or Legalistic attitudes, which insist that all traditions be treated as if they were the Word of God.
Paul on “traditions.”
* 1 Corinthians 11:2 “Now here he says, “I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the TRADITIONS, even as I delivered them to you.”
* 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the TRADITIONS which ye were taught, whether by word, or by epistle of ours.”
* Galatians 1:14 “and I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the TRADITIONS of my fathers.” There is a big difference between TRADITIONS, COMMANDS, AND APOSTOLIC EXAMPLES…
Consider the following…
1. Lifting up holy hands in prayer, (I Timothy 2:8).
2. Calling the elders to anoint and pray for the sick, (James 5:13).
3. Washing feet, (John 13:12).
4. Greeting each other with a holy kiss, (Romans 16:16).
5. Go sell everything and give to the poor, (Mark 10:21).
6. Invite friends to our ‘feasts,’ (Matthew 19:21).
7. Desire to prophesy, (I Corinthians 14:1).
8. Pray the “Lord’s prayer,” (Matthew 6:9).
9. Give to any who begs, (Luke 6:30).
10. Judge not – Condemn not, (Luke 6:37).
11. Share all good things, (Galatians 6:6).
12. Women be silent in assemblies (I Corinthians 14:34)
13. Women may not teach or have authority over men (1 Timothy 2:12).
14. Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins… (Acts 2:38-39)
15. Lord’s Supper observed when they assembled (Acts 20:7).
16. Meeting in houses and eating together (Acts 2:41-46).
Some of these things we follow closely, while others we don’t…
Here are some notes from Dad….
we attended the Old Bowling Green Church. It was the advent of paved roads and Autos, lighting, Sunday PM services, Sunday school classes. A partition was used for classes, and uninspired literature was used in Bible studies (Gospel Advocate), printed on a single card with a lesson, picture and prayer. We took turns with who would take the class. We built class rooms, and started Wednesday PM class (formerly dedicated to prayer).
For the communion we used two glasses. Contributions were individually brought to the communion table (without a prayer). Servers were called from the floor. Memorized prayers were offered, with little variation. Women had long hair and wore hats. Song leaders began waving their hands while leading songs, (we thought they were showing off). Most song leaders just kept beat by tapping their feet.
(It’s amazing how quickly, each modified pattern (tradition) quickly became an obligation on everyone on threat of HELL or the loss of some “stars” in our crowns.)
Our meeting house had no sign. We had an inflexible pattern of procedure. (Three songs – prayer – song – sermon – invitation – communion – collection – song – dismissal – covering of communion emblems.) The song leader never offered any comments. There were no scripture readings or communion comments made.
There was no “placing membership (letter)” We had an outdoor “outhouse.” Baptisms were in a lake. Then we moved everything indoors (for convenience, and to keep up with the times) and we also added a water fountain and a kitchen. (Kitchen’s were considered a mark of being liberal or promoting a “social gospel.”) Frequently we used chalk boards and charts. Every Fifth Sunday, we had an offering for Orphan Homes. Once a year we loaded a truck with canned goods for the Orphan’s Home… Back in those days, we had not yet picked up on the Roman Catholic concept of “Church weddings,” and thus under the responsibility of “the church” to determine who was and who was not eligible to be married.
There were no funeral homes. The body of the deceased was prepared for burial in the home. Some sat with the body. There was singing at the graveside. All singing at the funeral was congregational.
Brethren… The reason for jeans being altered, new shoes being bought is because the physical body is a living, growing body. EACH CHANGE WAS MET WITH CRITICISM AND DEBATE… and resulted in brethren who identified themselves as:
1.) Non-Bible School, 2.) Non-Building, 3.) One Cup, 4.) Non-women teaching, 5.) Non-kitchen, 6.) Non-Orphan Home, 7.) Non-Located preachers,
Today we find CHURCH STAFFS composed of Senior ministers, Pulpit Ministers, Educational Ministers, Counselors, Secretaries, Custodians, Full time elders, Preacher schools.
Other changes: Overhead projectors, bulletins (mailed or emailed to everyone), Literature (by men and women), Worship teams, Raising hands in praise, contemporary songs, dramas, some have instruments or use online videos, dramas, and puppets, Radio, TV, Internet being used, Applause, etc…
Here are some PILLARS (Principles)…
1. “Methods are many – Principles are few – Methods often change, but principles never do!”
2. “We have the freedom to give up our rights. We do not have the right to give up our freedom (in Christ).
3. Everyman can have his say, but everyman does not get to have his way.
4. A strong man can become weak, but it takes time for a weak man to become strong.
*** “Traditions are the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.”
1. Brethren can and often do differ! Romans 14.
2. Personal convictions and opinions CAN NEVER BE ALLOWED TO BE CONGREGATIONAL LAW.
3. Stumbling blocks are not grumbling blocks
4. Respect each others convictions.
5. Understand the difference between the WEAK CHRISTIAN and the HARD HEADED CHRISTIAN.
Grow in grace!