(Culture,Tradition and Nationalism)
Take a look at just Jesus at His Life and His Words and then consider your life. How much is your life like Jesus and how much is culture, tradition and nationalism.
Is there a difference?
What did Jesus have to say about the church?
Jesus twice ‘cleansed’ the temple overturning the tables and driving out the money-changers. Do you think Jesus would do the same today?
How do you think the church and the world would react to Jesus were He to come and do the same things He did 2,000 years ago and say the same things?
Would you just leave everything and walk off down the road with Jesus without even saying goodbye to your family?
Did the disciples sing before Jesus preached?
Did Jesus have music before His messages?
How did Jesus describe ‘sinners’ and ‘religious leaders’?
What was the order of His meetings?
Now take a look at the early church meetings as given by glimpses in the Bible in the books of Acts to Revelation.
Can you find a certain order of meetings?
Did they have music or an offering during the meeting time?
Were their meetings on Sunday morning, afternoon or night? Did they even meet on Sunday?
How often did they meet during the week?
How often did they have the Bread and Wine and share Holy Communion?
Did the early church use fermented wine or unfermented grape juice?
Was baptism by immersion or sprinkling?
Did the members choose the pastor?
Did the early church teach tithing?
What did Jesus have to say about the churches in the Book of Revelation?
What about dress, hairstyles, make-up, and outward appearance? What does the New Testament say about this subject?
Now take a look at your church and the New Testament and teachings.
Are earrings ok? What about if the same ring is in the nose or lip or tongue?
Can you be spiritual and have body tattoos? How many and where is ok?
What is more important: how a person looks or what they believe?
Is lust the same as adultery? Is hate equal to murder? (Hint: see Matthew 5th chapter)
Is a glass of wine ok? What about a beer? What about whisky?
What about smoking cigarettes? What about smoking marijuana?
Is it ok to wear shorts or swimsuits in mixed company?
What about women speaking in church?
What about women shaving their legs?
Is topless sunbathing allowed?
Can a good church member go to the movies? If so what is the standard?
Is watching a movie on TV the same as going to a theater?
What about watching sports on Sunday or going fishing or to the beach?
What foods are you allowed to eat?
Is being overweight a sin?
Which laws should one obey? Is breaking the speed limit or failing to stop fully at a stop sign the same as not paying income tax?
Are inward sins like lust, greed, envy, gossip, hate, unforgiveness, pride, etc the same as outward sins like adultery or murder or stealing?
What about divorce?
What is the correct political party?
Can one differ on political policies and still be a true follower of Jesus?
Does God bless every nation?
Is one nation better than another?
Is one church denomination the only correct one?
Can a church meet in a home?
Can a church meet by the sea or in a cave?
Is every true believer always healed?
What does a church member look like?
Oh, on and on I could go. I am asking all these questions to stir your mind, to get you thinking.
How much of what you believe is directly from the Bible and the New Testament and how much is tradition? How much of what you do is dependent on what country you live in, or what church you attend?
As I have carried the cross around the world and walked in every nation it is very amazing how different churches even in the same denomination view social and moral issues differently and yet they all feel they are Biblical.
Some churches in the U.S. make every member pledge not to drink or sell or serve any alcoholic beverage. Yet in Europe even some churches of the same denomination do drink alcohol and even serve it in an after-service meeting.
I remember at one large youth meeting I spoke at in northern Europe during the lunch break the teenage girls lay topless in the warm sun. When the U.S. singing group and American youth group complained the conflict exploded. The European youths, preachers and leaders thought that the American girls who shaved their legs and wore heavy make-up were wrong and enticing. Yet they felt nothing was wrong with topless sunbathing! The Americans thought topless bathing was sinful but had no thought whatsoever that shaving their legs and wearing a lot of make-up was wrong or enticing. Here was a conflict within different cultures and yet all the people and leaders were committed to Jesus.
Is it ok to dance? It dancing unto the Lord, ok? Can you have a church dance or go to a disco?
Is one kiss for a dating person ok? At how many or for how long can a kiss last?
How do you separate the church from the government or should they be the same.
Why do many churches have the national flag in the front of the church? What scripture would you use to explain this to someone?
When the law violates your beliefs, which should you obey?
Is it right to go to war? What makes it right? When is it wrong?
What Bible teachings are unchanging for all times?
How do you distinguish between culture and the Bible?
Is church tradition equal to New Testament teaching?
I will close this profound column with just two passages of Holy Scripture:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
(John 14:6 in the Holy Bible)
Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”
Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following’¦
Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?
You follow Me.”
(John 21:19-22 in the Holy Bible)
This should give you something to think about. This is a good time to start studying Jesus and His life and focusing on ‘following Jesus’.
God bless you,
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt