In Matthew 15, Jesus collides head on with the traditions of the elders. Jesus was never afraid to confront traditions that broke the commands of Scripture. 2000 years later, we still hold to traditions that run counter to the commands of Scripture. Here are two (and I’ll share the rest throughout the week).
1. Thinking the church is a building, not a movement. You remember how the rhyme goes? “Here is the church, here is the steeple. Open it up, and here are the people.” That rhyme feeds into a mistranslation of Scripture of the word “church”. Discussed eloquently in chapter 3 of Andy Stanley’s Deep & Wide, when Christ declared in Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it,” he used the Greek word ekklesia, which literally translates into “gathering” or “movement.” The reason it’s not translated like that is because several centuries later the Catholic church substituted the ancient German word kurche, which literally means “house or building of the Lord.” That’s where the English word “church” comes from. Ekklesia and kurche are two completely different words. The first refers to people, the second refers to a building. By substituting that word, the Catholic church changed the way we viewed church. All of a sudden, the church was a building, and whoever owned the buildings controlled the religion.
We still buy into that tradition today, that the church is a building. That’s why some churches refuse to move locations, because they’re attached to an address, a physical location. That’s why some churches can’t tear down older and irrelevant buildings, because people think the church is the building itself. It’s not. The church is the movement of God’s people taking the gospel to every corner of the planet.
2. Refusing to honor and engage other generations. In today’s church, generations are segmented and isolated from each other. When’s the last time the youth group and senior adults did something together? It doesn’t seem natural today. It’s a tradition that runs counter to the command of Scripture. If you look throughout the pastoral letters of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, Paul continually encourages the leaders to get the different generations in their churches to engage. He encourages older ladies to mentor the younger women. He admonishes the younger men to treat the older men with the honor and respect they deserve.
The senior adults desperately need the energy, excitement, and passion of the younger generation. The younger generation desperately needs the wisdom, maturity and discernment of the older generation. We need each other.
QUESTION: What traditions would you add to this list?