Summary: How did Jesus deal with "Traditon." How can we apply His teaching to our practices today?
The Trouble with Tradition
We obtain biblical authority from three ways: 1. Direct Command, 2. Divine Example and 3. Necessary Inference. When we come across anything for which we do not have a command, example or cannot infer proper action from clear biblical teaching then the bible is said to be silent.
Any practice engaged in where the bible is silent is by definition a “tradition.” For example, we are commanded to assemble for worship on the first day of the week, but we are not told the time. The time that we meet is therefore a tradition. Neither are we told where we should worship. We have the example of the early Christians meeting in homes, outside, in the temple courts, etc. but we have no command from God as to the proper place. We have always practiced purchasing or acquiring land and building a building in which to worship. This is a tradition.
Tradition is not wrong in and of itself but where the bible is silent we must always be careful that we are not substituting our will in the place of God’s.
I. The Trouble with Tradition Mark 7:1–5
A. Traditions are practices for which we have no express commands or precedent from God.
B. Traditions themselves may be neither right nor wrong.
C. The tradition of “ceremonial” washing.
D. The traditions of man often have the appearance fo truth because of the unanimous consent and approval of religious leaders. 2 Tim. 4:1–4
II. Vain Worship vs. True Worship Mark 7:6–8
A. Vain Worship is:
1. Outward acts with no authority.
2. Teaching the rules of man.
B. True Worship is:
1. Following the commands of God.
2. John 4:23–24
C. We should always follow Christ by ignoring the teaching of man and refer all issues to the word of God.
III. Dealing with Silence in Scripture Mark 7:9–13
A. Traditions often arise out of sincere attempts to please God.
1. God had prescribed certain washings to teach people how to handle sin. (Leviticus)
2. The ceremonial washings were an attempt to comply with the Law.
B. An example of an unscriptural tradition.
1. Corban - Aramaic meaning “a gift devoted to God.”
2. The Jews used Corban as an “out” for God’s law to honor your father and mother.
C. Dissecting a traditon
1. Promising support for the temple was not wrong, on the contrary it was admirable.
2. The Jews idea of how to support the temple (through Corban) however was foreign to scripture.
D. We should hold to the plea: “We speak where the bible speaks and are silent where the bible is silent.”
1. When the bible speaks we are bound to preach and practice.
2. When the bible is silent we dare not bind our opinions or traditions.
E. Jesus taught that traditions are wrong:
1. If they contradict scripture. Mark 7:9
2. If you bind them as an article of faith or practice as a spiritual obligation. Mark 7:13
From Thomas Campbell’s “Declaration and Address”, 1809
3. While we may have a variety of beliefs and practices we may only require or bind as an article of faith or practice, items as old as the New Testament. (Those things found in scripture.)
Christianity must not be identified with outward religious actions. Our actions should be the product of a sincere desire to do God’s will.
Mitchell Skelton - Minister, Midway church of Christ