Monday, September 9, 2013

I am a traditionalist

I AM a traditionalist. Like the early church of the 1st century and the church that developed throughout history, I traditionally believe that we should love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Because of this love, and God’s love for us, I believe that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. I believe in the historic tradition of the church that confesses that the God incarnate who revealed Himself to us, demonstrated such love with His life to save us as we give Him our lives in faith. THAT is tradition. The rest is just man’s rules.

What do I mean by ”the rest?”

Jesus taught things that are timeless truths… His teachings are devoid of anything dictating whether or not we have stained glass windows, acolytes, liturgies, music, organs, guitars, pews, coffee, candles, multimedia and light shows, or even church buildings.

Christ taught us that we should build upon a rock so that when the storms of life come, our house will withstand the onslaught.

When a storm hits the natural world, trees with shallow roots are uprooted while those with deeper roots are left standing. Just as a storm ‘shakes’ up a tree to determine whether or not it has what it takes, Christians should test everything we believe and practice against Christ’s teachings. If anything doesn’t pass the test, do we have the courage to abandon such beliefs?

The picture of the sanctuary that you see here…. is not found in my religious traditions or dogmas…. It is not something physical that I believe in, but something that I live in…. it is within my soul, the true temple of the living God.


Anonymous said...

Hello Greg,

Thank you for writing in reaction to my piece on why I left the relevant model church. It is a great complement to have caused others to react.

I am most aligned with you in the idea that faith in Christ is what matters. However, that does not mean that the New Testament says nothing about how Christians worship. Music is in the New Testament. Each and every NT author has, according to New Testament scholar and Phoenix Seminary professor, John DelHousaye, shown a sacramental understanding of the Eucharist, for example.

I do think you have set up a false dichotomy: Since faith matters all traditions do not matter. Traditions that teach faith, shape faith and form faith matter because of what they accomplish. To say anything else is to say that the actions of a Christian DON'T matter. Which I am pretty sure you would not say.

If by "tradition" you mean "the historic worship practices of the church," you are right that those can be perverted, subverted and elevated in order to distract or bury the Gospel. They can also be used as intended, to cause a greater surrender to Jesus, a growth in grace and mercy and as deep discipleship to send Christians into a lost world to bring the Good News of Jesus.

There is a difference between "the rules of men" and "the practices of a Christian at worship." No one I have ever met would say that an acolyte is a necessity. Many would say that a procession in which the Cross of Jesus is brought into a place of worship in reenactment of the claiming of pagan Roman worship sites for the worship of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is edifying. Which falls under the heading of "building up the body."

So I thank you for reading my piece and also for keeping the main thing (faith) the main thing. That does not mean that all ways to the main thing are equally biblical or created equal. And that was my point.

With your permission I think I will use your thoughts as a jumping off point for a follow-up post.

Blessings, brother.


Anonymous said...

Btw, you have lots of great stuff on your blog. It is the middle of the work day, but I couldn't help but spent 45 minutes poking around.