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Birdwell Lane Church Of Christ
1616 E. 11th Pl
Big Spring, TX  79720
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This Week's Bulletin Article


     What do you think of when you read the word tradition? What people, places, or activities come into your mind because of that word? There are so many traditions that we could come up with - personal traditions, family traditions, school traditions, work traditions, sports traditions, religious traditions, and many, many more.

     Jesus was confronted by certain traditions during his ministry. In Matthew 15:1-9, we read, Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever reviles father and mother must surely die.' But you say, 'If anyone tells his father or his mother, "What you would have gained from me is given to God," he need not honor his father.' So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (ESV)

     Are traditions good or bad? Well, the answer to that could be both or neither. A tradition is something that is handed down from one generation to the next or from one group to another. Some traditions fall by the wayside. Others, however, stick around month after month, year after year, and sometimes decade after decade. Here are just a few things we should consider concerning traditions.

     First, its source. What was the origin of it? Some things we do in religion are simply tradition. Maybe in the beginning it was done to be helpful for some to follow God's commands, but over time changed because its source wasn't God. If there is no authority for a certain practice in God's word, then that tradition is from man. That doesn't necessarily make it wrong, but we must make the effort to fully evaluate these types of traditions.

     Second, its purpose or intent. If the tradition is very old, it may be difficult to determine the original intent behind it. However, we can still ask what our purpose is for continuing it today. If there is no real purpose, other than the fact that "we've always done it," then we need to seriously consider whether we should maintain it or stop it. When the intent is recognized and stated, we can consider whether there are new, different, and/or better means by which we could fulfill those intentions.

     Third, its outcome. Does it honor God and Jesus or does it highlight someone or something else? Does it focus merely on external factors or does it attempt to shine down into the heart? Does it exalt God and make us love and appreciate him more? Is it about his glory or our own?

     These thoughts have been directed towards traditions which have come from man. We must know God's word first and foremost. If any teaching or tradition contradicts or attempts to override God's commands, then it should be done away with immediately. May God give us wisdom to properly discern between right and wrong and even between better and best.

     2 Thessalonians 2:15, So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter (ESV).

Greg Surles
Birdwell Lane church of Christ

    Bruce Griffith
David Smith
Greg Surles

- - Ministry Purpose Statement - -
Teaching, Training and Transforming Lives Into
The Image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)