Thursday, December 4, 2014

Protestantism Against the Spirit of Protestantism

The spirit of Protestantism is to always go back to scripture. It is not a call to think outside the context of the church, but to always test what the church says against scripture.

Unfortunately today we find many protestant churches who are developing extensive written and verbal tradition which they hold to be unquestionable. It is not that people should immediately doubt written or verbal tradition, but all tradition is subservient to the word of God.

No tradition can be unquestionable in itself. It only stands or falls in its relation to the revelation of God.

I personally feel that traditions in churches are not a detriment and are often a help to the church as long as the church realizes the traditions cannot be held in any absolute way. The issue is that often the traditions of the church begin to become indistinguishable from the teaching of God to the leaders of churches.

I have been in a number of churches where the eldership seems to believe certain pieces of generally good advice are commandments in scripture. I often search for the biblical basis of this good advice and cannot find any absolute grounding in scripture.

We should always distinguish between what is generally good advice and what is scripture. And what is tradition that our church appreciates and tradition which is mandated by scripture (i.e. baptism and the Lord's supper).

I believe non-biblically mandated traditions and general wisdom have a place in churches, but they can never be viewed absolutely or espoused as if they are scripture. We must always distinguish between the clear teaching of scripture and our culturally conditioned applications of wisdom and worship.
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