“Yes I am, thank you for asking.”
“Then how is it that you’re always slamming traditions in the church?”
It’s true, I am into history. You may have noticed that I blog about history from time to time, and a great number of the photos on this blog are historical in one way or another. I love old houses, and enjoy living in them. I like to visit historic sites, I read books about history and I try to understand our world in a historical context. That does not mean that I can’t keep the things of past separated from those of the present. Here’s an example: I personally think that the fashions of the late 1880’s and 1890’s are the best ever. Both men and women dressed better than we do now. They looked classy!
That is not how I dress today, however. In fact, I do not own any clothing that would have been “in” during that period of time. Why? Because that is not the time I live in. If I were to go into town dressed like a gentleman from the 1890’s, it would just be a freak show. What would be the point of that?
Thus, I have sacrificed my personal tastes and preferences for the style of the 1890’s in order to have relationships with people in the early 21st century. Make no mistake, I think the way people dressed back then was vastly superior to the way we dress now! They had style, grace, imagination, refinement and class; none of that is present today… sad.
Tradition in our churches is much the same thing. There is nothing at all wrong with the vast majority of our traditions, and they may even be better in some ways than a more modern approach. However, we were not called to maintain tradition and rituals, we were called to make disciples. If we are mature in our outlook as followers of Christ, we will be more than willing to make a personal sacrifice of things we like personally, if we will be more effective in making disciples for the Lord; it’s just that simple. If you are wondering what the connection between the two are I can suggest that you search the archives here, for I’ve posted many times on this subject… or just stay tuned, I’ll be posting more. Here’s a hint, though, if you do a little research, you’ll discover that churches that hold tenaciously to tradition are usually not growing either spiritually or numerically, while churches that are growing spiritually and numerically are almost always non-traditional in their worship. That’s not to say that all a church has to do is be non-traditional, there’s more to it than that, but remaining traditional is a serious obstacle to growth. Can it be overcome? Perhaps, but it is much easier to grow if the environment isn’t so foreign to a newcomer.
I think we should remember the past, our heritage, and the legacy of those who have gone before us… and I post on that fairly often. But we should never sacrifice our calling on the altar of our traditions. Of course, it goes without saying that in this process, we must never, ever sacrifice our message to modernity. The message of the Gospel is timeless; the message and teaching of Scripture is eternal. The style of music and the order of service, and the way we dress are neither timeless nor eternal; these are merely things of this world and they all will pass away.