Monday, 27 April 2015

No such thing as a tradition-free church: part 1

Some of the churches I have been a part of over the years have liked to think of themselves as tradition-free. I am not saying that this has not been a useful goal - to try and resemble as closely as possible the 1st Century church as best we understand it. I am certain this quest has valuable lessons for the church of today. Antioch has been a good model, for example.

But that does not change a fundamental truth, that I want to over-simplify for you here. There are two types of church. Churches that embrace their traditions, and churches that don't. As I said, an over-simplification, but I feel nonetheless helpful. Both of these groups are loaded with tradition, but only the former will truly honour and recognise the significance of their tradition. This is where liturgy and creeds come in, for example.

My wife and I are part of the latter kind of church, which in our case is charismatic evangelical. We live very much in the present. Of course we are affected by the past and are drawn toward a future eschatological hope, but the present is the biggie. 

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