Ecclesiastical tradition is a hot topic for many Christians. Especially those that direct our‘coming together.’ For some it evokes feelings of splendor, liturgy, and commonplace. For many others, it sparks debate, hostility, and downright angst. Even though I am beginning to feel that traditions might rank up there with the no-no’s of silence regarding Politics and Religion.
Falling somewhere in the middle of the two camps, I find myself always questioning what it is we do, why do we do it, are we doing it right, and does our Christian liberty give us the flexibility to be ‘right’ even when we are way off in left or right field?
I suppose I could elaborate a million miles in many directions about the impact that liberty has on our ‘Christian Practices.’ But, I have grown weary of justifying what liberty allows. Today, as a believer, disciple, and wretch, I am more concerned with what did the scripture really say about what we do.
It is really easy to look at events in scripture, compare them to our current church traditions, and then read back into the text why it is okay to do it as we do it, even though they do not align. Sprinkle a little liberty on top, and now we have justification for our behavior.
I am sorry if I fulfill my calling as a dissident, and resist this. But I am going to anyway. I cannot in good conscience continue to accept the Romish practices of yesteryear we call Protestantism (evangelicalism), and not protest that which at least is contradictory to scriptural revelation. And with that said, I am being pretty liberal here.
There is a great number of ‘traditions’ I have been looking at with great scrutiny as of late, and I am beginning to find that they are all inextricably linked together.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
If I have your attention, and you are interested in joining me in this discussion, or even plausibly visiting my electronic monastery of ecclesiastical reflection and vein monkish babbling, here is what I am looking at the most lately.
- The breaking of bread – Is it sacrament, oyster crackers and dainty plastic cups of grape juice, transubstantiation, consubstantiation? Can we justify this current practice by measuring it against the examples of the New Testament?
- The meeting dynamic – What impact does the actual practice of breaking bread have on the meeting and the order we conduct our service?
- The apostolic ordinances/traditions – What of Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians? What is our response to Paul’s instructions regarding the Lord’s table, breaking bread, the gifts, and the issue of women speaking/not speaking (not teaching, prophesying) in the meeting?
How are all these tied together you might ask? Well, for this post I will leave it stated as simply as I can with all the information I have been absorbing concerning all of these topics.
If the assembling of ourselves together, to stir one another on to good works, in an ‘official’ manifestation of the assembled church meeting is as the New Testament demonstrates (coming together to break bread), then what do the apostolic ordinances of Corinthians, the existence of gifts, and the role of men and women all look like in that meeting?
I do plan to elaborate more on my thoughts regarding these issues here at the blog, and definitely amongst the beloved brethren I share fellowship with, but now I pose the question to you. While we may not be forsaking the assembling of ourselves together even in the most liberal of ecclesiastical practices, are we neglecting it?
This post is part of a series.