TRADITION Tradition   comes   in   for   a   lot   of   criticism,   and   rightly   so,   if   there   is   no   higher reason   for   doing   something   than   that   it   is   the   way   it   has   always   been   done.      Yet,   the word,   “tradition,”   has   a   neutral   meaning.      It   simply   refers   to   “that   which   is   handed over”   from   one   person   or   group   to   another.      It   does   not   say   whether   that   which   is delivered   is   good   or   bad,   true   or   false.      When   traditions   are   employed   for   important and   useful   purposes,   they   might   be   thought   of   as   a   golden   chain   which   gives   order   to life,   memorializes   great   events   and   people   of   the   past,   and   gives   continued   life   to   the noble   principles   they   exemplified.      Since   God   employed   humans,   beginning   with   the inspired   men   who   wrote   the   Scriptures,   to   hand   down   the   gospel   from   teachers   to disciples, even it, by definition, is “tradition” and is so called by Paul (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6).  However,   traditions   are,   at   the   very   least,   wasteful   when   people   appeal   to   them mindlessly.      When   a   man   asked   his   young   wife   why   she   cut   off   the   ends   of   a   ham   before putting   it   in   the   oven,   she   could   only   answer   that   it   was   because   that   was   what   she   had always   seen   her   mother   do   before   baking   her   hams.      So,   they   decided   to   call   her   mother and   ask   her   why   she   had   always   cut   off   the   ends   of   her   hams.      She   likewise   replied   that it   was   because   she   had   always   seen   her   mother   cutting   off   the   ends   of   her   hams   before baking.      This   only   intensified   their   curiosity,   and   they   determined   to   pursue   an   answer to   their   question   all   the   way   to   her   grandmother.      However,   when   they   got   her   on   the phone,   she   resolved   the   mystery   by   simply   saying,   “I   always   cut   off   the   ends   of   my   hams because they were too big for my pan.” At    their    worst,    traditions    are    dangerous    when    they    are    used    for    nefarious purposes.      In   such   cases,   they   conflict   with   the   God’s   word   and   impede   obedience   to   it, or   they   are   put   on   a   par   with   it   and   obedience   to   them   is   required   as   if   they   were   God’s word.      The   Pharisees   imposed   traditions   to   make   themselves   appear   more   righteous   and enrich   themselves   (Matt.   15:1ff).      This   made   their   traditions   perhaps   the   greatest   point of conflict between themselves and Jesus.    When   it   is   at   its   best,   tradition   might   be   thought   of   as   the   passing   of   a   baton between   runners   in   a   relay   race.      Only   one   baton   per   team   is   permitted,   and   grabbing   the baton   of   an   opposing   runner,   failing   to   hand   one’s   baton   off   cleanly,   dropping   it,   or crossing the finish line without one’s baton can cost a team the victory. The   teaching   of   God’s   truth   is   like   this.      It   is   not   the   prerogative   of   one generation   to   produce   their   own   version   of   “truth,”   but,   rather,   it   is   their   obligation to   “hand   off”   the   same   truth   they   received   from   their   forebears,   going   all   the   way   back to   those   who   originally   received   it   and   set   it   down   in   Scripture.      This   ought   to   impress upon   all   parents,   teachers,   and   Christians   in   general   the   importance   of   receiving   the pure   “tradition”   of   God’s   word   and   faithfully   passing   it   on   to   the   next   person   or generation   just   as   they   had   had   it   passed   on   to   them   by   those   who   preceded   them.      Paul alludes   to   this   responsibility   when   he   says,   “And   the   things   which   you   have   heard   from me   in   the   presence   of   many   witnesses,   these   entrust   to   faithful   men,   who   will   be   able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”  … Keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).
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“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”  … Keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).
TRADITION Tradition   comes   in   for   a   lot   of   criticism,   and   rightly so,   if   there   is   no   higher   reason   for   doing   something   than   that it    is    the    way    it    has    always    been    done.        Yet,    the    word, “tradition,”   has   a   neutral   meaning.      It   simply   refers   to   “that which   is   handed   over”   from   one   person   or   group   to   another.     It   does   not   say   whether   that   which   is   delivered   is   good   or   bad, true   or   false.      When   traditions   are   employed   for   important and   useful   purposes,   they   might   be   thought   of   as   a   golden chain   which   gives   order   to   life,   memorializes   great   events   and people    of    the    past,    and    gives    continued    life    to    the    noble principles    they    exemplified.        Since    God    employed    humans, beginning   with   the   inspired   men   who   wrote   the   Scriptures,   to hand   down   the   gospel   from   teachers   to   disciples,   even   it,   by definition,   is   “tradition”   and   is   so   called   by   Paul   (2   Thess.   2:15; 3:6).  However,    traditions    are,    at    the    very    least,    wasteful when   people   appeal   to   them   mindlessly.      When   a   man   asked   his young   wife   why   she   cut   off   the   ends   of   a   ham   before   putting it   in   the   oven,   she   could   only   answer   that   it   was   because   that was   what   she   had   always   seen   her   mother   do   before   baking her   hams.      So,   they   decided   to   call   her   mother   and   ask   her   why she   had   always   cut   off   the   ends   of   her   hams.      She   likewise replied   that   it   was   because   she   had   always   seen   her   mother cutting   off   the   ends   of   her   hams   before   baking.      This   only intensified   their   curiosity,   and   they   determined   to   pursue   an answer   to   their   question   all   the   way   to   her   grandmother.     However,   when   they   got   her   on   the   phone,   she   resolved   the mystery   by   simply   saying,   “I   always   cut   off   the   ends   of   my   hams because they were too big for my pan.” At   their   worst,   traditions   are   dangerous   when   they are   used   for   nefarious   purposes.      In   such   cases,   they   conflict with   the   God’s   word   and   impede   obedience   to   it,   or   they   are put   on   a   par   with   it   and   obedience   to   them   is   required   as   if they   were   God’s   word.      The   Pharisees   imposed   traditions   to make   themselves   appear   more   righteous   and   enrich   themselves (Matt.   15:1ff).      This   made   their   traditions   perhaps   the   greatest point of conflict between themselves and Jesus.    When   it   is   at   its   best,   tradition   might   be   thought   of   as the   passing   of   a   baton   between   runners   in   a   relay   race.      Only one   baton   per   team   is   permitted,   and   grabbing   the   baton   of   an opposing    runner,    failing    to    hand    one’s    baton    off    cleanly, dropping   it,   or   crossing   the   finish   line   without   one’s   baton can cost a team the victory. The   teaching   of   God’s   truth   is   like   this.      It   is   not the    prerogative    of    one    generation    to    produce    their    own version   of   “truth,”   but,   rather,   it   is   their   obligation   to   “hand off”   the   same   truth   they   received   from   their   forebears,   going all   the   way   back   to   those   who   originally   received   it   and   set   it down   in   Scripture.      This   ought   to   impress   upon   all   parents, teachers,     and     Christians     in     general     the     importance     of receiving   the   pure   “tradition”   of   God’s   word   and   faithfully passing   it   on   to   the   next   person   or   generation   just   as   they   had had   it   passed   on   to   them   by   those   who   preceded   them.      Paul alludes   to   this   responsibility   when   he   says,   “And   the   things which    you    have    heard    from    me    in    the    presence    of    many witnesses,   these   entrust   to   faithful   men,   who   will   be   able   to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
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