A Word on Tradition
Sometimes, these blogs will be light and easy to read. Today, I address a serious "issue." Be blessed as you read.
1 Then there come to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes, saying, 2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 And he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God said, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, He that speaks evil of father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, That wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me is given to God; 6 he shall not honor his father. And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.
This dialogue found in the book of Matthew between Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes point to a modern day problem in the church. There are many who have put traditions on a higher authority than Scripture. After being questioned as to why His disciples were not following tradition, Jesus responded to the Pharisees with an example of how they had broken the commandment of God regarding honoring a persons mother and father. He called them hypocrites!!!
It is very hypocritical for the Body of Christ (the church) to continue to practice traditions and actually hold them as "sacred." Two examples are Easter egg-hunts and Halloween/Harvest Festivals. Dare I say that I do not participate in either and I immediately am labeled "holier than though." First, let us examine the tradition of Easter egg-hunts and its origin.
Easter was originally a pagan holiday to celebrate spring. The council of Nicea in 325 adopted it as their own celebration and changed the time of the celebration to coincide with the Resurrection of Christ. Eggs meant the beginning of new life and In Christ there is indeed new life. While we can see how the early church tied a pagan holiday to the resurrection of Christ that does not make Easter or the celebration of bunnies and eggs correct. The Resurrection of Christ is a fundamental in the Christian faith. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith is dead. I Cor. 15 13-14: "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain."
How could something so important be overshadowed by Easter egg hunts and bunny rabbits? How can I say that it is right to have these events at a time when we should be celebrating the Redemption of mankind that came through Christ dying on the cross. The world will always want us to lessen the seriousness of the Cross. It is worse when the "church" continues traditions when we should know better.
The second holiday celebrated in the church is Harvest Festivals/Halloween. Some churches actually have this celebration on the same date as Halloween to give children an alternative. Again, do we realize that no matter what we call it, in the child's mind, we "are" celebrating Halloween. Let's discuss origin again. It is an ancient Celtic holiday that marked the time crops were dying and the Celts believed that it was a time when the "worlds between living and the dead was blurred"(Source- History of). They believed that Spirits returned to earth. To appease these Spirits, they built Bonfires and offered sacrifices of crop and animals. They wore costumes made of animal skins and heads. They then took some of the ashes from the fire to relight their homes which they believed offered them protection and good luck for the coming crop season. By A.D. 30 the Romans who conquered the Celtics began to celebrate it as a day to remember the DEAD. Sometime after, Pope Boniface IV chose to celebrate November 1, the day after October 31st, to honor saints and martyrs and called it ALL Saints day. In A.D. 1000 the church added November 2, as a holiday and called it ALL souls day--a day to honor the dead. They started a service called Hallomas... How can we take holidays that have nothing to do with Christ or the Bible and bring it into the church and call it sacred? It is what it is, TRADITIONS of MEN, NOT GOD. Ungodly, Tradition, celebrated without regard to biblical truth.
Let's discuss CHRISTmas. It is indeed the most celebrated holiday in which the world and the world has chosen to celebrate it with the "church" for many reasons. The amount of money that exchanges hands in the retail industry in the name of CHRISTmas is utterly ridiculous. The sale of CHRISTmas items now begin as early as August. Never mind that many politically correct folks have started trying to ban the word CHRISTmas in exchange for calling the whole season "THE HOLIDAYS." While most of us know what the TRUE meaning of the celebration is, we don't want to ruin it for others. We say, "it's okay if they believe in Santa Claus," or "what's wrong with children having an imagination?" To these statements, I refer back to the Word of God for a defense. Matt 15:6: "You have made the word of God void with your traditions." CHRISTmas should be celebrated everyday, because without His birth and Resurrection there would be no CHRISTIANITY, but the way in which it is celebrated today is very far from being a celebration about CHRIST!!!!
Finally, as you consider what it would be like to continue to Hold Fast to traditions, know that the Word of God says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." Col. 2:8