Is it really “Doctrine”?
Or is it “tradition”?
Or is it nonsense.
I’m cognizant that we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I am interested in throwing out the bathwater. As I wrote out the weird practices that the modern church engages in and holds onto with a death grip, it occurs to me that none of it is properly derived from the bible. None. Some is not even remotely found in the bible. That’s not to say that anything we choose to do “has” to be derived from the bible, but how do we know if it pleases God if we have no biblical basis for it? Perhaps it does … but how can we know?
I recognize that there’s a portion of the bible that’s characterized by “Thus says the Lord”. Portions of the first five books and the prophets, the words of Jesus, and the book of Revelation. All other portions are not “Thus says the Lord”. I may be out on a limb here, but I don’t put as much stock in those portions as the direct dictations from God. Those non-dictated portions may be 100% God’s will. I suspect they are? But like those portions, what if there’s other wisdom that’s not contained in the bible? Can it be equally valid? I suspect it can, but how can we know?
When I review the list below, I recognize how far we’ve strayed from the directives Jesus gave His initial eleven. My concern is that in our drift to add things that never were, we’ve correspondingly deleted things that should have been? The list below is a compilation of quirks, and misunderstandings that the modern “Christian” tolerates … none of which are demanded by God.
I often use the analogy of our modern day colloquialism of “don’t judge a man unless you walk a mile in his shoes”. Imagine 2,000 years from now the “church” taking up an annual ritual of walking a mile in another mans’ shoes as a sign of non-judging? Have we not done the same with many of these things? Have we not outdone the Phrases?
- Baptism for adults to be “saved”. John had a baptism for forgiveness of sins? I thought only Jesus could forgive sins? We are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. I thought it had to be with water?
- Infant baptism – for what?
- Communion to “connect with Jesus”.
- Communion to be made right with Jesus.
- Foot washing?
- Head covering for women.
- No alcohol.
- No dancing.
- No smoking.
- No movies.
- No electric (Amish) – separate from the world system.
- No driving a car (Amish) – but it’s OK to let the sinners drive you around?
- “Second act of grace” as an evidence of true salvation.
- Worship service???
- Church building???
- Church hierarchy???
- Tithing money – No! Well I suppose if you can’t get your livestock to the nearest Levitical temple then you too could sell your tithe of livestock or grain and purchase strong drink or whatever makes your heart marry and celebrate the Lord. Deut 14:26 Look it up!
- Head pastor- seriously?
- Music minister – Oh dear God?
- Youth director- why not?
- Sunday school???
- Devotionals – you’ve got to be kidding?
- Missions giving – how about missions doing?
- Denominations? How tragic.
- Salvation from our “sins” – Wow!
When one simply reads the Words of Jesus or grasps the big picture of the entirety of the “thus says the Lord” in the OT and especially the future picture dictation in Revelation, the message of how we are to relate to God is child like simple. “Come to me” He says. Everything else is dealt with in the mind of God. Sin was never going to be the final barrier. Not for Adam. Not for Abraham. Not for Paul, and not for us. The question is, do we desire Him? If we do, He’s been patiently waiting for the prodigal to return. Once returned, we can engage via the HS to deal with the residual sin issues. If we don’t desire Him, He has an alternate existence prepared.
How we “do church” today is about as off as it could be? “Church” consists of those who desire Him. Those who are “known” by Him. It’s not something we “do”. Missions is something we do, but we’ve relegated that to the professionals (we think their nuts) but as long as they take our money and work in our stead, our consciences are soothed.
I like the verbiage “to have and to hold”. It’s appropriate in marriage and in real estate. But when it comes to the work that we do in introducing people to Jesus and discipling them, the mantra should be just the opposite: “to have and to let go”. That’s what should have happened as a continuation of Paul’s work. His was never to hold. He was never the “head pastor”. Paul was about letting go so that the individual could go get others in any way they deemed strategic for their culture. How did we mess that one up so bad?
That is the bath water that I wish to throw out, contaminated with the sludge of “tradition”.