Friday, August 30, 2019
God did not lay the foundation for His Church in a vacuum, nor did He leave its operational boundaries to the will and traditions of men. God, by divine inspiration imparted to apostles instructions for His Church, and God expects obedience of every minister and overseer of the Church to conform to and safeguard those commands, and to never look for ways to culturally invalidate this or that command as though it no longer needs to be observed.
But there’s a problem. Traditions of men are more readily believed than God’s Word because traditions are delivered by people who are seen. Faith is not required when what is taught is not from God, especially if it culturally gratifies “the natural man” (1 Cor. 2:14). But to believe and teach what God commanded actually requires faith because God and His Christ are unseen.
Consider the vast gulf between truth and tradition. Truth is – “1. FIDELITY, CONSTANCY; 2. The state of being the case: FACT: the body of real things, events, and facts: ACTUALITY: transcendental fundamental or spiritual reality” – Webster. Tradition is – “1. An inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom): 2. The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction” – Webster.
Jesus Christ said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Christ’s truth, then, is vital to redemptive faith, to which the New Covenant is witness, whether red or black letter. The black letters while not spoken by Christ while on the earth, are inspired by His Holy Spirit, which is One and the same with Him. But many reject Christ’s truth by attributing certain things as merely an apostle’s word in order to hold to one’s tradition, whereby tradition actually tramples underfoot the Word of God.
If one holds traditions of men equal to or above the clear and concise written Word of God, one has greatly misplaced his or her spiritual priorities; in fact, in that process “making the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13) like Jesus said. And if God’s Word is made of no effect for one issue, it follows then that it will also be made of no effect for another…and then another, etc.
Traditions aside from those handed down by Jesus Christ and His apostles are spiritual killers. But today many church traditions have morphed into outright rejection of the truth which can only be redeemed by confession and repentance. The Church is set apart from the world and not of it. Yet, many churches spend huge sums of money in trying to be and look and sound like the world while its spiritual health, discernment, knowledge of the truth, and power declines.
For those of us who truly know Christ by faith, the answer is not difficult. People need and want the Truth, and His name is Jesus Christ. Yet, the church increasingly denies truth, forcing God’s Word to say exactly the opposite of what it says. It’s amazing how quickly church leaders move people away from God’s Word in order to advance their own agenda and traditions of men, and most of the people, ignorantly blind to the truth, have absolutely no objection. Some examples.
Indeed God said that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), but many theologians and pastors in opposition silence the truth by their church tradition which says, “Absolutely not, Christ gathers His elect before the tribulation!” Herein, as with many other traditions, the blind lead the blind and find occasion to glory in their end-time deception.
Indeed God said “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:11–12), and in witness to that God said “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but are to be submissive, as the law also says” (1 Cor. 14:34–35). But opposing God, many of those leaders create lies as to why God’s Word is no longer valid, preferring instead church tradition saying “No, we will install women pastors and teachers in positions of authority!”
Indeed God said “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14), yet in the church interfaith marriage is common, often ending in divorce. Indeed God said that “though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does” (2 Cor. 10:3 NIV), but tradition largely says “No way, we will glory in those who name Christ as Savior and Lord, yet yoke themselves in covenant agreement with the ungodly to make war for the destruction of our enemies!”
Indeed God said “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23); and in witness of salvation said “which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost” (Luke 14:28). But rather than counting the cost of following Christ the church largely teaches unbelievers to “Repeat after me this short prayer, and you will be saved”. But you cannot find that model of salvation in Scripture!
Indeed God said that “the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). Today, most churches have so acquiesced to the world that there is really no difference between the church and the world. Thousands of churches even include practicing homosexuals as part of the body of Christ. But they’re unbelievers.
Indeed God said that “as it was also in the days of Lot…so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28, 30). The truth is, Lot’s day was perverse with homosexuality and it’s now widespread in evangelical and protestant churches! Why would millions in the church embrace apostasy for which they will not “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–10)? It’s unbelief! It’s as if God never mentioned the issue, but He did! Pastors just need to preach it!
Indeed God said “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Churches, also, reap what they sow. Exchanging God’s truths for cultural relativism is one reason for spiritual apostasy in churches. Marital divorce, depression, anxiety, teen cutting, attempted suicide, suicide, sexual immorality, psychological and physical abuse in churches are like that of unbelievers. This cannot be except by the rejection of God’s truths!
I invite you to watch this 6 1/2 minute compelling end-time poetry by Randy Conway. The time is critical. The end of this age is rushing upon us and many church leaders are wasting time with empty cultural relativity and false ecumenical teachings that promote, not Christ, but themselves and their empirical traditions rather than God’s changeless truths.
Marlin J. Yoder