My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, September 12, 2019
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:23).
The expression “change agent” is used to describe someone who is thought to be adding to or subtracting from the Word of God. Labels are easy to stick on another, but not always deserved by the recipient. The accuser needs to recognize for every finger used to reinforce his labeling, four are pointing back at him (Matthew 7:1-2)!
A popular biblical quote is, “If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). Just because one cites Peter’s words doesn’t guarantee that the labeler is following the truth. Tradition is a cruel taskmaster that convinces its followers that their face is pointed toward Jerusalem while their feet are headed to Egypt. What is sad is that those individuals believe their traditions are the Good News.
Saul of Tarsus was a converted Jew. Yet, he claimed to be a late-start apostle. Some felt he did not qualify (Acts 1:15, 21-23). The apostles had not cast lots over him as they did for Matthias (Acts 1:24-26). This caused some in the Corinthian church to deny that he was a valid apostles (1 Corinthians 9:1-2). These individuals were the “change agents” of the first century. They weren’t as ready for the second covenant as they should have been!
The assembly in Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, and elsewhere practiced the kiss as a “holy” greeting (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; and 1 Peter 5:14). The handshake finds its origin in Greece in the fifth century. Although some cultures today continue the “kiss” as a greeting, most Westerners prefer a handshake. The problem is when one culture clashes with another and one believes his culture is the God ordained one to follow. The demand is made that since the majority favor the handshake rather than the kiss, one should stop the “holy kiss” greeting and only accept the “holy handshake.” Paul recognized this spirit and wrote to the Gentile/Jewish congregation in Rome to stop such demands (Romans 14:1-13). In the Corinthian letter Paul corrected those who were “strong in the faith” because they were not respecting those who were weak (1 Corinthians 8:7-9). Sound advice even today.
A few years ago, there was a controversy over the use of “you” and “you’re” in addressing God in prayer. The tradition of the Church of England was to use “thee, thine, and “thou.” This tradition continued for three hundred and fifty years. It became a “special” prayer language that illustrated “respect,” which supposedly the modern “you” and “you’re” did not. It was well entrenched even in the Churches of Christ. Some were very close to condemning anyone as a blasphemer who used the modern terms in their prayer! Traditions are hard to change. Accepting something “new” is difficult because it conflicts with the traditional. It took about twenty-five to thirty years for some to realize they were following for doctrine a cultural practice introduced by the Anglican Church in the seventeenth century. That same battle continues today over what is lawful, 1) tradition or 2) scripture!
“If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).