Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peer Pressure 2

There is another type of peer pressure. It is much heavier than the type I mentioned in the last post. It is tradition.

Religious tradition has hundreds of years of pressure. It could be religious, or family, or national. The whole culture may be into this tradition. The Jewish culture in the present day is more tradition than it is theological. Jews could be atheists but very into the tradition.

It was the same in the time of Jesus. The traditions were hundreds of years old. It is the nature of tradition to gradually grow away from the truth that started the tradition. The tradition is the new truth. Jesus both bucked the tradition but taught against it,

“He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.’ And he continued, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, “Honor your father and mother,” and, “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.” But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God) — then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.’” (Mark 7:6-13)

Jewish tradition, Catholic tradition, and Protestant tradition, are all enemies of the truth. They have parted with the truth. They have changed the truth.

Many years ago I was on a panel of four to respond to a lecture of a Lutheran theologian. The other three members of the panel were two liberal protestant ministers and a militant atheist. The theologian said, in his lecture, that there were only two factual things that he knew were true:

1. Jesus was baptized by a man named John
2. Jesus had fellowship with the down-and-outers

He did not believe in Jesus’ deity, His death and resurrection. He was a Lutheran clergyman so he served communion because of tradition.

The two pastors agreed with him. They too were traditionalists. The atheist agreed with him. He was the only honest man of the three – he had no tradition.

Family tradition is not as deep, but it holds a lot of authority. Any dissenter from the tradition is held in some sort of disrepute. This is heavy on the dissenter. But family tradition also has walked away from truth.

A follower of Jesus should not be a slave to any of these traditions. When a national tradition gets away from the truth and still demands abject loyalty from its citizens (Which has happened in many nations) the Christian may have to go to jail.

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