Cause Of Death – Tradition

Cause Of Death – Tradition

Posted on 02. Apr, 2009 by in Tradition

One of the powerful uses of the social medial platform Twitter, is the ability to share information easily. Recently, someone I am following posted a note referencing an article about the condition of the church. Naturally I went to check it out.

This article is titled; “You’re Growing? Well, She’s Dying.” It speaks of their observation that there may be some mega churches doing well, but unfortunately the church as a whole is not growing and in fact dying.

This article prompted a few responses in me.
First, there was a confirmation; here was someone else with the same concern as me.
Second, there was sadness; ok there is a problem, so, lets just continue to talk about it.
Thirdly, the urge to put my two cents worth in; so I left a comment. The following is an expanded version of this comment.

The church as we know it (at least in North America) appears to be dying. Recent reports state that Christianity is no longer the “default” religion of the US. There are any number of reasons given that blame society, organizations, pastors and young people. Many of them contain some truth – yet I do not believe they are the cause, they are the symptoms of a greater problem.

In my opinion, this situation has developed because the average church is no longer expressing the Kingdom in a relevant and engaging way to those that are under the age of 35. The breakdown is because much of doing church today is based on man’s traditions*.

Oh yes, some churches are growing because they are able to cater to the “mall” mentality, offering programs that appeal to the selfish interests of the individuals. Yet the vast majority of churches are using the same model of doing church that has been around for centuries. There may be a more contemporary wrapping to it, but still the same structure and format.  I know this may sound harsh, but this is reality.

This lack of connecting with this younger generation was exampled in my life this past week. An individual contacted me and we spent almost 2 hours discussing how they were tired of the “stuff” of church. They were looking for a more authentic or genuine connection with God.

This hunger for an authentic engagement with the Lord has caused many young people (under 35) to plant churches that are very different from the ordinary. Terminology may vary, but they stress three ingredients: community, missions and purpose. All of which entail a less formal structure and are highly interactive. Will this be the ultimate kingdom expression – who knows, but it is a step in the right direction.

When the church returns to it’s purpose – all about revealing the nature and image of Jesus – that is when we will see a growth in the body of Christ.

*The original Greek for tradition means a handing over or selling out. Comes from a word that means to bring into captivity. So – tradition is a handing over of the commandments of God, resulting in the people being taken captive by man’s doctrines. Expressing a weak and anemic church. For more on traditions you can go to “What Stops Us From Being Apostolic”. Also read some of the posts after that.
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7 Responses to “Cause Of Death – Tradition”

  1. Perry Davis

    16. Apr, 2009

    What a golden nugget of truth:

    “church returns to it’s purpose – all about revealing the nature and image of Jesus – that is when we will see a growth in the body of Christ.”

    Amen (not in the religious sense but in the spiirt of what the word means”

    Reply to this comment
  2. bilet

    29. Apr, 2009

    These are great.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Biggy

    09. Jul, 2009

    Man, that’s great…Thanks for providing such a good info………

    Reply to this comment
  4. Kuriyya

    11. Jul, 2009

    Nice work! I’ll have to do a cross post on this one 😉

    Reply to this comment
  5. Agnese

    13. Jul, 2009

    Thanks a lot!! a very useful topic!!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Rev. Richard Whiting Jr.

    16. Jan, 2011

    I had been a member of my local assembly for about 10 years when the unthinkable happened . . . my pastor backslid. Although my new pastor and I were not very close he did something that totally blew me away (pardon the language, I’m a high school teacher) he placed me on the church board. I believe he did it for a very important reason; he knew that I was mature enough to speak my mind and not let negative reactions to my opinions deter me. I often found myself playing the role of Devil’s advocate, looking at the flip side of an decision that the church board was contemplating (ref. II Chron18:15), and I believe his reasoning was simple; he wanted someone near him who could look at both sides of the issue and wasn’t afraid to go against the tide of opinion. I said all that to say this; I don’t agree with you. I believe what we are really looking at is a loss of passion as we hold to our traditions (ref. II Thess 2:15). Just as discipline without relationship results in rebellion (remember, I am a high school teacher), tradition without passion results in a legalistic, dead, dry church. Let’s recover our passion and not throw out he baby with the bath water.

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      16. Jan, 2011

      Thanks Richard for your insight. I understand each situation is different and we cannot make blanket statements that would cover 100% of the situations. That being said, it is my humble opinion, that it is the traditions of men that are held sacred that are detrimental. The pharisees were passionate about their traditions – it put Jesus on a cross. A biblical view of the word tradition is used in a negative context every time but 2x. The root word for tradition is used 121x in the NT. 100 times in the negative.

      I am in agreement with your regarding passion. We need to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the good news of His kingdom. Once again, thanks for taking the time to comment. Be Blessed.

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