Friday, May 14, 2010

When it's tradition verse culture, Truth should win

I just heard an insightful sermon on traditions in the church. Mark Foreman, pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, California spoke on Matthew 15:1-20. I would highly recommend giving it a listen.

Here are some things that I learned about traditions from Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees. These ideas reflect what Mark Foreman said, but I’ll say them in my own words.
  1. We all have traditions. Even if you think the things you are doing are tradition-less, you have a tradition. For me, my traditions tend to be to stubbornly dig in my heels at the first sniff of any tradition.
  2. Traditions are not bad on their own. They can be valuable tools for conveying truth.
  3. Traditions become our culture and as our culture, they can blind us from the truth. Because we are so enveloped in our culture, we can loose the language and skills we need to discern when a tradition has become an idol.
  4. While we ought not substitute our traditions (i.e., Christian culture) for truth, we cannot let our culture (i.e., worldly habits) lean in to define truth. The Word of God is our final guide on truth.
  5. When we are angry at a Christian brother or sister, we need to evaluate if the source of our anger is really truth of it is actually a conflict of traditions.
  6. Traditions that tear the church apart need to be reevaluated.
  7. “In essentials unity. In nonessentials liberty. In all things love.”
So, in the debate of traditional church verse the culturally relevant church, the truth of the Gospel of Christ should be the only winner.

I'm going to be working on some traditions of my own. What struggles in your life might be coming from a conflict of traditions? What practices does our church have that might be blind obedience to tradition rather than thoughtfully conveying the Gospel of Christ.