Is our worship by scripture or tradition?

By Larry Sitz - Kedron Church of Christ

Is our modern worship to God by divine commandment, or simply a man inspired traditional service? A commandment is a divine law revealed to man by God. Christ’s miracles and those performed by His chosen appointees validated the divine origin of New Testament Law (John 20:30-31, Gal. 1:11-12). These laws are not subject to human alteration in any form or fashion. God inspired men to deliver His Laws to mankind and they are to remain in affect, fully intact through the end of this age, which is the end of the world and judgment day (Matt. 24:35, II Peter 3:10). Jesus tells us in John 14:15, “If ye love me keep my commandments.” Therefor any and all violations of our obligations to God’s law shows our lack of love and respect for Him, and thus becomes sin.

Traditions are customs and practices that evolve over time and can vary from place to place and time to time. Traditions in and of themselves are neither good or bad and are neither condoned or condemned by God. They are simply things done in a certain way by man’s judgment for his own expediency. God has no problem with traditions, as long as they do not become accepted as divine commandments or violate His inspired revelation. Some traditions of men were condemned by Christ when they were bound on men as divine law (Matt. 23:4).

The rub comes when modern man tries to raise tradition to the level of God’s Law or lower Divine Law to the level of man made traditions. When God’s Laws is labeled mere traditions, any penalties for not keeping them are also removed. There is no inflexible right or wrong when we relegate God’s law to the level of our own cultural and personal choice. This fallacy opens up a whole new smorgasbord of pick and choose religions to mankind.

To label baptism by immersion a tradition of the church leaves a very wrong impression. Baptism is a staunch commandment of our Lord (Acts 10:48). Since the word baptize means to immerse, without immersion, there is no baptism. Some claim that since the Lord’s Supper is partaken of at different intervals, or not at all by tradition, that makes it acceptable to God. By God’s commandments we are to partake of the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-27-28). By example we are shown to eat it on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Since every week has a first day, thus we are to partake of it once every week. God’s Word therefor settles the question, because tradition cannot transcend or alter the inspired Word of God. Out of tradition many use instrumental music in their worship to the Lord, although nowhere in scripture is it authorized or commanded. Even according to secular history, musical instruments were never used in worship for over 500 years after the church was established on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter two. Contrarily we are commanded to sing (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16, Heb. 13:15), and to sing only. At least one denomination claims that its traditions and decrees are equal to, or actually superior to the Holy Scriptures. God very plainly warns of the dire consequences of adding to His Word, or taking from it (Rev. 22:18-19).

We must remind ourselves that traditions are not necessarily wrong. Traditions may be widely varied and wisely serve many needs of God’s people, but they must not, and cannot transcend or contradict God’s Holy Writ.

To the lady who called me last week and accused me of harping on and spouting scripture all the time. I humbly plead guilty on both counts and pray that I may continue to do so.

We invite all who would, to come together with us to study God’s word and worship Him in spirit and in truth. We are the Church of Christ, Kedron congregation on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, KY. We neither add to God’s word or take from it. Bible study at10:00, Worship at 11:00 every Sunday morning.

By Larry Sitz

Kedron Church of Christ

comments powered by Disqus