Thursday, December 20, 2007

numero 3 on traditions

I've been thinking about the question "what to do if you need to eliminate a tradition from your church" and I've been trying to look around at Scripture to find some clue.

It seems that the basic method of removing a traditions is to just cut it off (see Matt. 15, 2 Kings Chapters 22-23). Stop doing it. I think it relates well to sin in our own personal lives.

For example, say that at some point you realize that you have been ignoring a sin in your life and you become painfully aware of it. And, let's say that this is a very enjoyable sin. When God makes you confront that sin, does he want you to slowly try to cut it out? No! He wants you to claim its death on the cross. He wants you to stop immediately so that He can be magnified in you. He wants you to be more like Him so that more people will see your good deeds.

The same is true of a tradition that needs to go. First, you need to search over those things that seem ingrained and ask if they are still serving their purpose. Do they run counter to Scripture? Are you worshiping God in Spirit and Truth by doing them? If you come to a head and realize that a common practice in your church is not lining up, then you need to chop it off.

But, since this is a whole body of believers and not just yourself, you will probably want to show some grace by explaining to people why that particular thing needs to go. That doesn't mean you should make exceptions and say "but for the time...let's just let it work itself out," it means that you should do a good enough job explaining the problem that the folks in your church want to axe it as much as you.

The second half of my original question was whether or not you should replace the tradition with something else. I think that really depends on what it is. If something in your music tradition needs to go, you'll probably want to have something to replace the void. But, if the tradition is something like singing the doxology after the offering...then you don't necessarily have to have a different song that becomes your traditional hymn, you can just wack it.

So, take time to consider your traditions and those of your church and begin weeding out those that degrade your worship of our awesome God or that run counter to Scripture. Begin taking joy in new traditions that enliven your heart to a better understanding of the greatness of the glory of God, revealed in Christ. Amen?


p.s. and, since i have been lacking in humor the last few days, watch this sketch from MadTV and think of the topic at hand.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

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