Scripture references are from the HCSB translation
The age-old crisis of ‘Old vs New’ has been in existence for a very long time and we might call it ‘tradition.’ And no one likes a tradition better than you or me.
“He also told them a parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. Otherwise, not only will he tear the new, but also the piece from the new garment will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, it will spill, and the skins will be ruined. 38 But new wine should be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one, after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, ‘The old is better.’” Luke 5:36-39.
New stuff always stretches old stuff because the old stuff has become dried, twisted, bent and sometimes brittle, and the moment the new stuff is added to the old stuff…well, stuff happens. Mostly, the old stuff will rebel again the new stuff and all sorts of bad stuff happen. Normally the old stuff must bend and accommodate and the new must do a bit of the old stuff in order for the making of a new environment to take shape. Have you ever noticed just how difficult this is?
Webster’s Online Dictionary gives us 2 traditional definitions of the word “tradition:”
“a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)
b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable.”
However, look at the 3 definitions for ‘tradition’ from the 1928 edition of Webster’s Dictionary,
“TRADI’TION, noun [Latin traditio, from trado, to deliver.
- Delivery; the act of delivering into the hands of another.
A deed takes effect only from the tradition or delivery.
The sale of a movable is completed by simple tradition
- The delivery of opinions, doctrines, practices, rites and customs from father to son, or from ancestors to posterity; the transmission of any opinions or practice from forefathers to descendants by oral communication, without written memorials. Thus children derive their vernacular language chiefly from tradition. Most of our early notions are received by tradition from our parents.
- That which is handed down from age to age by oral communication. The Jews pay great regard to tradition in matters of religion, as do the Romanists. Protestants reject the authority of tradition in sacred things, and rely only on the written word. Traditions may be good or bad, true or false.
“Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15.
“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your traditions?” Matthew 15:2.”
I find it interesting that the 1928 edition of Webster’s Dictionary uses the Bible for explaining the use of the definition of the word ‘tradition.’
What Goes In Comes Out
The following verses are used to help explain those coming from Matthew
“Then Peter replied to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” (Jesus then replies,) “Are even you still lacking in understanding?” “Don’t you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” Matthew 15:15-20.
The parable of the Old Wineskins tells us a great deal about those things that we hold sacred because they are passed from one generation to another. Far too often these things are not evaluated and then improved upon. We simply do it the same way over and over again without examining the evidence which could change things for the better. This does not mean the old ways and customs were and are not valid, but changing a part might improve the performance.
And there is truth to that idea as well. Look at what Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17, “But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, so that you might obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, either by our message or by our letter.16 May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.” Here the same Word of God and is inspired by His Spirit seems to contradict itself when speaking about traditions. What we now discover is that some traditions may not be as effective or profitable as others.
Some Traditions Are Not Truth
Some old traditions may get in the way of Truth if they are not well-examined for truth. These need to be exchanged for new ideas that better support God’s Word. In verse 14 Paul tells us to “stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught” because of the truth coming from God. Some of us are not in Truth because they are NOT ‘in Christ’ and these blind souls accept anything as being okay such as old traditions even though they are not of the Word of God. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test. And I hope you will recognize that we do not fail the test. Now we pray to God that you do nothing wrong—not that we may appear to pass the test, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear to fail. For we are not able to do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” 2 Corinthians 13:5-8.
Sometimes something new is introduced in life which causes a ‘ruckus.’ And when the chicken house is in a ruckus and feathers are ruffled, people leave the old house for a new one because a new rooster arrives and his new crow is not the same. The ‘pecking order’ is now different and some folks just leave. That is okay for those oldies who hang on to the oldies are in a better environment where their oldies are still in vogue. Nothing is wrong with this, but some traditions must change for new things to happen. New is not always better necessarily, but the new may serve a better purpose than the older traditions which may have served very well for a very long time.
The ruckus to which I refer may be a spiritual crisis that must be solved or simply resolved. The solution is that most in the chicken house will accept the changes and move forward whereas the resolution is that some simply move to another place. The crisis, indeed, is spiritual and the solution is that spiritual gifts are applied in order for the Body of Christ to move forward to the task at hand which is the Great Commission. For others, their spiritual crisis is resolved in moving to a place where their spiritual gifts can be applied to achieve the causes of the Great Commission.
The Body of Christ will find that traditions are best served in several locations because of the use of spiritual gift applications. Spiritual crises do not have to come to bad endings. However, not everyone can find solutions in the same place at the same time. Just a thought for the purpose of God in Christ Jesus is to honor and bring glory to Him. This is the reason we are here.
Jesus is Lord.