Monthly Archives: October 2009

Is in the Church Nullifying the Word of God for the Sake of Tradition?

There has been a lot of buzz about government healthcare reform and its antithesis, the dangers of socialized medicine in America. Thanks to the dumbing down via America’s public schools for many decades, most people regardless of their age have little understanding of free enterprise, capitalism, healthcare, care of the aged and training of the young per the Bible’s instruction. Illiteracy among American’s is growing worse, and that of course, includes biblical illiteracy. It should be obvious that most American’s don’t really care what the Bible says, but for the rest of us, it should be our Anchor as books come and go. Besides THE Book is not going anywhere; it is here for eternity.

When Jesus walked this earth he chastised the Jewish leaders because they failed to take care of the elderly.

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matt 15:3-9, NIV)

Ouch, those are pretty harsh words from both Jesus and Isaiah. In this particular setting the Pharisees had asked Jesus why the disciples failed to follow tradition since they didn’t wash their hands before eating. Jesus then let the Pharisees have it, so to speak, by telling them they were intimidating people into giving to the temple rather than taking care of the real needs of parents. More to the point, Jesus was saying Pharisees called gifts to the temple, which benefited the Pharisees, a gift to God, whereas a gift to needy parents was not a gift to God. Jesus said such action nullified the Word of God for the sake of tradition.

For much of my life I have heard how the Pharisees in biblical times were much about ceremony and very lacking in substance. For any who have an ounce of discernment, church congregations today are very much about ceremony for sure. Even many contemporary congregations which have been found guilty of criticizing more “traditional” congregations for their regimented ceremony, have their own manmade ceremonies.

If you doubt me, just attend several congregations and then search the Scriptures for descriptions of these ceremonies. I know what you will find; that the church ceremonies and traditions we see today are largely instituted by men, not by biblical mandate. I also maintain that many have little substance, especially if we consider gifts to the modern day temple (church) compared to giving to the welfare of your elderly parents, grandparents, and neighbors.

Americans have slowly evolved into a society of people who look to someone other than family and church to take care of educating of the young, and welfare of the ill and the aged. Sadly, as non-Christians and government entities began to pass out welfare checks after forcing others to pay taxes to support this vote-buying stratagem, the family and church slowly abandoned this God ordained obligation to care for people rather than temples.

When I was growing up the 1940s and 1950s neighbors on the west side (my uncle) of our farm had three generations living there, including my grandmother who was blind for the last 20 years of her life. To our east, there were four generations for a while living in the same house, including a great grandmother. In that day, those cases seem to fit the following Scripture well:

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” (1 Tim 5:4) Aaah, pleasing to God, could it get any better? Check your TV preacher and see if he ever uses that as a text for his sermon.

My personal belief is that parents should not send their children to government run indoctrination centers, which exclude God in all ways. And the church should pay a little more attention to the Word of God and less on the traditions of men. If you want to know what the Bible says about church meetings check out the 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians.

When a nation travels down a road long after taking one or more wrong forks in the road, getting back on the correct road can be challenging, but we Christians know whom to seek once we recognize the error of our ways. We can either repent and seek God for guidance, or continue our traditions at the risk of being told we have been nullifying the Word of God.

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