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Tradition Or Doctrine April 28, 2011

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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The church that I attended when I was born again was great. It was different from anything I had ever experienced before. In the few times I went to church when I was young, I attended a Nazarene church with my family. The services were quiet and reverent. The people sang accompanying the choir. The preacher spoke and all was done in right and proper order.
The Nazarene church is a splinter group off the Methodists as I understand it. They tend to lean toward the more “high church” model of reverence and knowledge. They also focus on legalism a little more than I care for now. But, that was all I knew then. I knew about God and Jesus. I had heard about the Holy Spirit, but I had never experienced the celebration of these like I would.
When I began attending the New Testament Church of Junction City, Kansas, I had never experienced worship like that before. It was a small, storefront church in a large building complex. We sat on metal, folding chairs. Our altar was a coffee table with a brass cross on it. We had a piano and a tambourine that got passed around. That was about it. But man, did we worship. We sang loud. I learned to clap in different rhythms with the music. I learned how to praise and worship God as never before. When I first started attending, I found it very intimidating. People would come up beside me and encourage me to clap and sing. I remember thinking, “These people are so loud. They may wake somebody up.” They did.
I attended more and more. I even began inviting others to this odd celebration of God and all things holy. It was strange to me, but it was just what I needed to be brought into a relationship with Jesus. I always thought we were supposed to live in reverent fear of the Divine. Nope, we can have a personal relationship with God, through His Son and celebrate Him and all that He did for us in His earthly ministry and sacrificial death upon the cross.
As time passed, I found the old questions coming back to the surface. Many had been answered with salvation, but some remained. As we talked before, during and after church, I would sometimes reveal to a member some difficulty I was having in my life or whatever. Many promised to pray for me. Sometimes though, I would get a different response. They would tell me that being down or heavy burdened was a lack of faith. They said even if I didn’t feel like it I should smile though the pain and struggle. They said I should, “Fake it, ‘til I make it.” They seemed to be saying I had to be happy all the time. This seemed terribly disingenuous to me. It seemed to involve being insincere. It seemed dishonest. I am not happy all the time. No one is. Are we to be fake? How can I not feel the way I feel? How can another know how to pray for me if they do not know there is a concern? This would eventually lead me away from the charismatic churches and to another denomination.
Now, we can all read this and nod approvingly and say, “Yep, they are wrong.” But, we all have hidden traditions and beliefs that are contrary to Biblical teachings. Many of our churches have old ideas and traditions they are unwilling to reconsider even though they have no basis in anything. In many of our churches, tradition trumps sound doctrine for the reasons why we do what we do. This should not be.
I encourage you to take a real, hard, unbiased look at the way you do what you do. Ask yourself whether it is truly Bible based our just tradition. How does it come across to non-believers? Perhaps we are keeping them away rather than winning them to the Lord as we should be with those practices and beliefs. We cannot compromise on sound doctrine and the truth of the Gospel. But on those old traditions that resist forward movement and evangelism, maybe, just maybe we should take a long, hard look at why we do what we do.
If you have questions or comments about something you read here today or on another post, feel free to contact me by email : churchconcerns@yahoo.com



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