Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tradition

As I read this internetmonk.com post about how the Church should think about tradition, two points came to mind — one made there, and one largely my own. First, that every Christian tendency has tradition, just as every church has liturgy, the only question being whether it is recognized and intentional. Second, that none of them get it all right. My denomination is very small and remains separate from other Baptists only because of a single doctrinal position. If we are right about that position, there can be only one reason we have been preserved all these years and that is because, just as with every other tendency within the Church, we may have a truth that should be a part of the whole.

The book by John H. Armstrong quoted below is Your Church Is Too Small.
.... John Armstrong reminds us that Christians also have a Tradition with a capital “T”.
Just as a person or family has a history and memory, so does the body of Christ. Tradition is nothing more or less than the means by which we understand this memory. This is how we know who we are as God’s people. The New Testament itself came about through three centuries of life, reflection, and discussion. (p. 129f)
Sadly, he observes that modern evangelicalism, a movement whose traditions go back only about 200 years, has had an extremely negative view of this Tradition.
Much of the modern evangelical movement has been built on schism—a schism rooted in an antitradition perspective. We thought this was the best way for a church to remain faithful. A simple study of early church history would divest us of this idea. I am convinced that as long as we remain opposed to Christian tradition, we will never solve this problem. We will keep building churches on the foundation of strong human personalities and then follow these leaders, much as the Corinthians did with various teachers in their context… (p. 131)
In the following video clip, John Armstrong talks about Tradition with a capital “T” and encourages us to adjust our perception of its value to our future as Christ’s church. “If we don’t have love for the past, we will make mistakes—not only that have been made—but we will learn none of the good things we can learn from the Tradition.”