Tradition Received is Doctrine Believed

From the archives. I wrote this in 1993. I’ve reproduced it verbatim below. It is based on:

Matthew 16:6 – Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

The Pharisees in the New Testament saw Jesus, in my opinion, as, among other things, an interfering entrepeneur. When he came, he upset their “control by guilt” religious rule over people. He taught and preached against their vain traditions continually. Today we laud over the way he dealt with them in Matthew 23. Yet in principle, are we guilty of “teaching for doctrines the traditions of men”? (Matthew 15:9) There is no doctrine or verse in scripture saying or supporting Sunday School, Evening Services, or Mid-Week Prayer Meetings. Yet if someone does something different with these services or erases them from his program altogether we label him as a “liberal” or even a “heretic“. Change is a frightening thing, yet it is change that introduced all three of those services initially. We become so caught up in our conservative traditions that we are not willing to admit they may be bordering on exactly what Jesus preached against in the lives of the Pharisees.

If someone with a little innovation recognises a need not being met with people and goes about to meet that need in an unconventional way he is slandered and discouraged. Why? Because his changes threaten our security-blanket traditions. Traditions we teach as “Bible Doctrine” yet have no substantiation for in scripture whatsoever! It takes a while, usually, before new ideas are accepted and utilised. However, even then, if they are not watched carefully, those new ideas become traditions and before too long the ‘Tradition received is a Doctrine believed‘.

– 12/02/1993

Before You Leave Church

Kevin deYoung is currently blogging a series on “Dealing with disappointment in the church“.

One of his recent diagnostic questions was:

Is it possible I’ve overlooked ways the body has cared for me because I was hoping a different part of the body would care for me?

He concludes his answer with:

“Before you get angry, remember the goal is for the body to care for the body, not for the shoulder to always get a special backrub from its favorite hand.”

Sound familiar? Paul said it this way

when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love – Ephesians 4:16

Santa Fact and Fiction

A Christmas re-post.

It is unfortunate that many disassociate Santa Claus with Jesus at Christmas time. He is regarded by many as an acceptable secular symbol of festivity. The origins of Santa are widely debated. Time and folklore has enhanced the Santa “myth” to an extent that much of what is presently attributed to Santa has little to do with history.

Resurgence have posted a good summary of the historical background of Saint Nicholas, the likely start point of the modern concept of Santa. While he may have owned reindeer and been generous with gifts at the end of the year, he probably shares little else with our present day Shopping Centre icon. The original Nicholas, Bishop of Myra was one of the defenders of the faith. He likely attended the Council of Nicaea which ratified and confirmed what is still held as orthodox belief about Jesus today – namely that he is very God of very God, begotten not born – our Lord and Saviour.

Hail to Saint Nicholas – a servant of Jesus!