Sit On Tradition Or Stand On The Word? (10.18.13)
In this way by your tradition, handed down among you, you make God's word null and void. And you do many other things just like that." Mark 7,13
"Why do you break God's commandment in the interest of your tradition?" Matthew 15,3c
"Do not call any man on earth "father", for you have one Father and he is in heaven." Matthew 23,9
Salvation in Jesus' NAME is about deliverance out the state of sin, Egyptian slavery so to speak, into a life of freedom (and witness) in the state of redemption (Ephesians1,7).
Our freedom in this new state comes with the responsibility not to return to Egypt.
The just will live by faith and by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
This is our remedy for not straggling back to Egypt but making it instead into the promised land, that is heaven, and then eternal rule from Zion with Jesus.
Now no one is talking about physically returning to Egypt as the grumblers in Moses' day (Exodus 16,2ff), but there is a state of Egypt for today's church- the gummed up state of religious traditions.
It leads people back to tasty covered dishes (but the lids are coming off) and the way 'we do things here.'
But what this type of extra biblical tradition does is throw holy water on the convenient and efficient and customery ways church folks use to keep the business of religion going.
This is not surprising. Tradition is easier to teach than the word of God.
Easier like it was easier for the scribes and pharisees to make extra monetary devotions and extra bodily ablutions (Matthew 15,4ff), than it was for them to care for their own elderly mothers and fathers.
Teaching things that streamline the power of a few religious leaders is easier than teaching the whole counsel of God to the whole of God's people and equipping all for service (Ephesians4,12).
This isn't just a observation of the Roman church, it applies to all churches who elevate their traditional practices over the revealed word and Spirit of God.
For example, Christian tradition, both Roman and Protestant, largely says baptism in the Spirit is not a distinct event, nor a necessary one for spreading the gospel today.
But what kind of church begins without the water baptisms of the apostles and Holy Ghost baptisms of Pentecost? And see Acts 2,37-39
Most Roman and Protestant tradition also largely ignores the eternal office of prophet (or say that it expired after Jesus) in the church. I guess the great Martin Luther and Menno Simons weren't prophets enough for such traditionalists!
But see Ephesians 4,11 and Romans 12,6. Prophets are quite front and center to the administration and life of Jesus' church then and now.
Most Roman and Protestant tradition also refuses to allow women to evangelize (pastors wives excepted?) like the women who saw Jesus first.
Most Roman and Protestant churches also insist on wordly or hierarchical titles for their local pastor-bishops which render the (arguably higher) service offices of Apostle, Prophet, and evangelist to an after thought, at best.
But Jesus started his salvation movement with some of the most humble catalyst servant Apostles that the world has ever seen. They were Gallilean fisherpeople. They called each other nothing more than "Peter" and "Paul", and "Barnabas" and "James" (Acts 15) not "Father" or "Pastor" Peter.
What is Jesus saying about such extra biblical tradition today?
"My people are bound by tradition and so many have been taught to hang on to their favorites, just like Rachel clung to her family idols."
Praise the God of Israel, his Name is Jesus.
He brings Jacob to our minds. Yes Jacob escaping the "slavery" of his father in law Laban. Jacob's wife Rachel packed up all her family's traditonal idols ("teraphim", Genesis 19,32), the little momento forms and statues of native gods and men.
This risked her husband's life.
Then she lied and sat on them, and wouldn't give them back when Laban pursued for them.
The traditional religious idols ended up tearing up this family (Genesis 31,52).
Tradition taught Rachel these were more important than God's word to simply get a move on.
Traditon almost made void the word of God.
It weighed down and almost stopped Jacob's clan from getting to the state of freedom and redemption.
Why sit comfortably on tradition when we can stand on his word and move in freedom with his Holy Spirit upon and in us all?
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...