the weblog of Alan Knox

We can’t just replace one set of traditions with a new set

Posted by on Apr 15, 2011 in blog links, discipleship | 5 comments

We can’t just replace one set of traditions with a new set

Dave Black has written many things that made me think about my life in Christ. Recently, on his “unter-blog” he wrote about a particular chapel on the campus of Southeastern Seminary (Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 6:25 p.m.). He was encouraged at the number of people who were going to Asia to proclaim the gospel and build up the churches there.

However, he pointed out that Christians in America do not seem that interested in leaving their way of life (American way of life, not Jesus way of life). Then, he made these statements:

Frankly, I don’t believe the evangelical church in America is ready for this. Our churches, as they operate today, lack the fidelity to Scripture that is needed to face the challenge of the Great Commission. We’re going to need massive breakthroughs in our understanding – and application – of the New Testament to our churches…

The upside to all of this renewed interest in the church is that more and more of them are questioning the traditions of their elders; the downside is that this questioning often leads to the creation of what might be called “church planting fads” and a new group of elites arrayed in their blue jeans and sporting their goatees, men who are just as committed to church growth fads as their parents were.

Have no doubt, merely replacing one set of human traditions with another set of human traditions won’t cut it.

I think we need to seriously consider Dr. Black’s words. We cannot merely replace one set of traditions (which we might call outdated) with another, newer, fresher set of traditions.

Instead, as he urged, we must return to the source. In Scripture, we see men and women willing to give up everything in order to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and in order to travel from place to place to build up the churches formed by the disciples who received the gospel and were indwelled by the Spirit.

This is the only program that we need. Give up everything else and serve the Lord Jesus Christ through the opportunities that he gives us.

Is the church in America ready for that? Is that too “radical”? Perhaps, as Dr. Black says above, the church in America is not ready for that.

So, if “we” are not ready, how do we help one another grow towards that way of life?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-15-2011

    “[the evangelical churches in America] lack the fidelity to scripture that is needed…”

    May I expand on the idea of fidelity?

    This would include more than knowledge (though that is often lacking). Not sure this is even the right place to start. Maybe, in parallel with:

    This would include complete dependence on and confidence in the Holy Spirit to open and apply scripture to provide everything we need. Daily. God and His word and His presence ALONE, and not education. Not money. Not clever marketing. Not new “visions” where we work to coerce people to follow our imaginations and concoctions (often seeking our own fame and reputation). Not permission from denominational or local church leaders.

    This would include the ability to discern between scripture, culture and tradition, and the utter rejection of using the world’s methods, plans, and values in seeking to follow and serve Jesus. Daily. Ultimately, this is self-dependence, not God-dependence.

    This would include the abandonment to God and His glory, rather than seeking for our own comfort, security, and reputation. Daily. Hourly.

    Isn’t this the example He left us?

  2. 4-15-2011


    I feel the need to say that I sported jeans and a goatee before they did. So please don’t lump me in with them! 🙂

  3. 4-15-2011


    Good expansion.


    Your jeans and goatee are safe.


  4. 4-16-2011

    Not sure what to say about traditions – they are what they are. They become problematic when they interfere with the message.

  5. 4-16-2011


    We all have traditions. We need to be aware of them (as much as possible) so that we can tell when they become problematic.