Relationship or Tradition?

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the issue of how we Christians manage to miss the mark; when you’re conscious of it, the signs are everywhere…

If we look at history and see what’s going on around us, the reasons are screaming at us; flashing before our eyes and yet we seldom notice, at least I seldom notice…

The two fundamental and foundational parts of growing as a Christian are:

1. Building a relationship with Jesus Christ, and

2. Dealing with self.

Most people don’t want to hear about dealing with self, humility, service and putting others first; these things don’t sound fun!  As far as concentrating on our relationship with our Lord, most of us have no problem doing that when we are in some kind of trouble, but when things are going well, that’s another story.

When you go to church, are there little traditions that are really important to you?  Traditions like a style of music, a particular order of service or a particular kind of seating?  These are common ones, but there are plenty of other possibilities.  If you’ve ever tried to change one or more of these things, you know how people want to hold on to them, it goes beyond what is generally considered rational for it’s pure emotion.  This is a sign that people have replaced relationship with Jesus Christ with tradition.

A particular style of music is not something that comes from the Bible.  The Bible discusses orderly worship, but not a specific order of service.  There are neither pews nor chairs in the Bible.  Christians who have developed their relationship with the Lord seldom care about these things for they want to save the lost more than they care about what kind of music is sung, while those who are stuck on a music style are seldom active in winning the lost.

An easy way to illustrate this is to go on the internet and search for churches that are looking for new pastors.  There is a definite pattern that is both stark and unescapable:

There are churches with relatively large and growing congregations and they nearly always have contemporary worship and are looking for pastors who emphasize relational teaching.  There are small churches (less than a hundred people) who want a new pastor to grow them and have traditional worship, lots of rules that you won’t find in the Bible and that won’t consider any changes other than in the praetorship.  These are good and well-meaning folks who have replaced relationship with Christ with tradition; selflessness with rules and which will likely never grow either numerically or spiritually.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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1 Response to Relationship or Tradition?

  1. Pingback: *All We Have is Jesus « He Dwells — The B'log in My Eye

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