This weekend, my son Jeremy and I are attending a House Church Workshop put on by New Testament Restoration Fellowship. I took the notes below during the first session called “Apostolic Traditions” which was led by Tim Melvin. These thoughts are primarily Tim’s, and not my own. I’ll be glad to interact with any of the information below in the comments.
Session 1 â€“ Apostolic Traditions
Paulâ€™s Approach to Traditions
This is not â€œearly church fatherâ€ traditions; this is apostolic traditions â€“ what the apostles gave to us in their writings.
How did Jesus react to the idea of the traditions of the elders?The traditions of men had overridden the commands of God.
1 Corinthians 4:16-17
Paul sent Timothy to Corinth so that he could remind the believers in Corinth of Paulâ€™s way of doing things in Christ. Paul had the confidence that what he told Timothy, and what Timothy told the Corinthians was the same thing that Christ would tell the Corinthians. In fact, Paul says that he teaches the same things in churches everywhere â€“ not just in Corinth. He taught the same things to churches in different cultures. Culture should not drive what the church does.
2 Timothy 2:2
Timothy was to take the things that Paul had taught him, and teach those same things to other people. Paul expected those people to teach the same things to still others.
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:2
Paul wanted to do all to the glory of God, and he wanted other to do all to the glory of God. He also wanted others to imitate him and to follow the â€œtraditionsâ€ that he handed down to them. Specifically, he told them to follow the traditions that he handed down.
1 Corinthians 14:37
What Paul is writing â€“ specifically about the church (that is, believers meeting together) â€“ is the same as a commandment from the Lord. These instructions carry the same weight as if the Lord spoke these words himself.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15
Following the traditions that Paul handed down to the church in Thessalonica is connected to sanctification and glory. They would find sanctification and glory by standing firm and holding fast to those traditions that they received from Paul.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12
One example of a tradition (3:6) that Paul taught the church in Thessalonians dealt with work.
There is a uniformity of practice in the NT church. According to Paul (see Scripture above), he specifically taught the same things in all churches.
What are “Apostolic Traditions”?
- Springs from the Apostles – “I” and “we” in Scripture
- Applies to all churches – “as in all the churches”
- Crosses all boundaries, i.e., language, culture, etc. – “just as I teach everywhere”
- Passes from generation to generation – “teach faithful men who are able to teach others”