April 25, 2014.
Are traditions good? Are they bad? I have heard people be vehemently against traditions and others be dead set on them. Today I would like to take a closer look at traditions, their pros and cons, and let you decide what is biblically taught about them. I am a proponent that many things can be both good and bad, depending on how they are used.
Let’s start out with the obvious one.
“Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
I think we all can see how tradition would be bad. Whenever our tradition teaches anything other than what the bible teaches, it is a teaching of man and not of God. That is not to say that we can not keep some man made traditions, so long as they do not interfere with God’s law. But when we start teaching those traditions as commandments, that’s when we run into problems. The Pharisees were bad about this. They had the laws and regulations that God laid down, but then went beyond these laws and made others on top of them, so as to no get close to breaking God’s laws. I don’t think that was their problem. They’re problem was, they treated the regulations they made up for themselves as God’s laws. This they were not supposed to do.
Do we do have traditions that are not biblical today? I believe so. Are they all wrong? No, I don’t think so. But I do think some of them are, especially when we condemn others for not following our tradition.
So what traditions are good? What are we supposed to follow? Listen to what Paul says in his letter to the Thessalonians:
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:13-15)
We are supposed to follow the Apostles traditions and teachings, as they were inspired by God (II TIm. 3:16-17). What they taught, they taught as commandments from The Lord, and not as mere advice. Paul says this often in his letters, telling the Churches that what he is writing is not just from him. Jesus gave the Apostles the keys of the Kingdom and said “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” giving them authority to teach doctrine (Matt. 18:18). So we are to keep to the Apostles doctrine. Acts two gives a prime example of this, which will be in the suggested reading.
So traditions, good or bad? Yes. As usual, we must evaluate our teaching about each tradition and put them to the test of the word of God. Those that stand, stand and those that don’t are thrown out. Traditions that are not harmful but also not biblical should be taken carefully, and thrown out when necessary. I don’t believe there is a blanket answer that satisfies all traditions, which just gives us more opportunity to study.
Suggested Daily Reading: Matthew 15, Acts 2, I Corinthians 14, II Thessalonians 2.
Keep in diligent study.