Yesterday a pastor friend and I were talking about something which most of us don't think much about. The conversation centered on how the previous generations of Christians have influenced our understanding Christ, the Scripture, and the church. For example; most protestants don't practice confession of sin to each other though it's clearly taught in the Scripture (Jms 5:16). This surely comes from a Reformation reaction to the confession of the Catholic Church. Similarly, our American obsession with work, which has crept into the church, is rooted in the Puritan's work ethic. This isn't to say that all the traditions passed down to us our bad. Nor should we suspect that we've somehow duped. But this realization should point us back to the word of God. We know what our pastor's teach but what did Jesus teach? We know what our church's practice but what did the first church practice? There are many things that the modern church does right, but there are many things that fall into the "needs improvement" category. Perhaps a good question for us to have in our back pocket is this: "where did this attitude or practice come from?" Is it something that the Bible teaches? If so, we'd better cling to it. Or, is this something handed down from a tradition rooted somewhere in church history? If that's the case we take it or leave it.
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: Josh 9-11