Tradition, Trend, or Truth?

Thus far our basic premise has been, “What we believe will determine what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.” It’s not hard to agree on the what the church is to do, what causes the greatest differences is the “how”.Lest anyone misunderstand, I do not believe that only “old” methods should be used. “Old” methods were once new. Some of the old methods need to be changed or abandoned altogether. I realize that methods change. However, just because they change doesn’t make new methods proper. Just because medicine has many new “methods” that work, doesn’t mean I’m going to also allow myself to be turned into a human porcupine by an accupuncturist.Are there methods that are wrong? Yes. How do we determine what is right or wrong? Are there some absolute principles to guide us? I believe there are.

Here are several that I try to follow when leading our church:

1) Does it glorify God, or does it draw attention to man?
Avoid any method that attracts attention to the ability or ingenuity of man rather than the power of God. (Taking credit for success of scriptural methods is also a danger, but falls under the “why” rather than the “how”.)

2) Does it emphasize the whole gospel?
Avoid any method that reduces the message of the gospel to anything less than faith AND repentance. Sacrificing disciples for “converts” is “cheap grace”.
3) Does it make the demands of discipleship clear?
Avoid any method that minimizes the demands of the cross. Jesus was always clear about the demands of following Him. Why should we be any less open?

4) Is the spiritual primary or secondary?
Avoid any method that appeals first to the fleshly desires of man, treating his spiritual condition as an afterthought. Sure, Jesus fed the hungry crowd, but they had come to hear him teach. The fleshly was secondary to the spiritual.

5) Does it have genuine conversion as its goal?
Avoid any method that emphasizes the number of decisions without regard to genuine conversion. This is a partial fulfillment of the Great Commission.

The answer to the “how” does not lie in the realm of opinion. It comes from Scripture, and I believe these are scriptural principles. Some are stuck in TRADITION. Others follow every TREND that comes along. We must determine the TRUTH by the precepts and principles of the Bible.

How do you determine what you will or will not do to accomplish your ministry?


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