Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 3
This is our third installment in this series, Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity. If you, somehow, happened upon this installment and you have not read the first two installments, please, read those first. Click Here, to go to the beginning of this series.
In this third installment we will look at the First of the two major reactions or responses to what was presented in the first two installments. These reactions do follow a predictive model of how folks would naturally react or respond. One reaction is to JUSTIFY their post-biblical, non-biblical, so-called “Christian” religious traditions. which are really Roman Catholic, pagan-rooted, syncretistic blending, etc. The other reaction is to Join one of the many factions of Hebrew Roots Legalism Movements. These are the two major reactions and/or responses. So, let’s explore the first one – Justification – a little bit and see how it measure up to what Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles have to say about them.
It has been amazing the kinds of reactions I’ve experienced while preaching, teaching and writing on this subject. Folks who are very logical, very concise in their apologetic wisdom regarding defending the Christian faith, seem to throw out all semblance of sanity in their radical defense and justification of these “traditions” that stem directly from the Roman Catholic church’s attempt to compromise with and to seek to “Christianize” and/or “redeem” fully pagan and worldly traditions, annual celebrations, beliefs, practices, and rituals. One very popular Christian Apologetics Ministry that is almost always very logical, Biblical, consistent and very articulate in the defense of Biblical Christianity, Biblical Creation (6 – 24 days, Young Earth, Young Universe) – they explained to me that I was wrong. And they said that a certain Roman Catholic tradition that I was exposing as pagan (its historically verified pagan roots), they said that it was fully Christian and Biblical. So, I challenged them, and asked if they could find, in the New Testament, Jesus and/or any of Christ’s Apostles celebrating this “tradition”, etc. Their retort, was the following (summarized), “We have electric lighting. We use modern music and electronic presentation, like PowerPoint, computers, electronic musical instruments, and air conditioning. Paul and the apostles didn’t have those things. So, in the same way, they didn’t have these newer, post-biblical Christian traditions.” I think you can see through that horrible “logic” if that is what anyone could call it. For a person from a very popular Christian Apologetics Ministry – of which I love and support – for them to use that kind of so-called “logic” to distract from the truth, is just unbelievable. If they would use their normal consistent approach to find the truth about anything else, they do that very well and should come to the same conclusion as I did, if they’d apply it in this situation. But, when confronted with this, it turns out that they love their Roman Catholic, pagan-rooted, post-biblical, non-biblical traditions more than the Word of God or God Himself (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4).
In another instance, I watched a video from a very popular, Southern Baptist Seminary, seeking to defend a very popular, common, Roman Catholic winter festival (a Mass – the word ends with “mas” – hint, hint). The Biblical Scholar starts the video admitting that these traditions and celebrations are Roman Catholic, that they are pagan-rooted . . . BUT . . . he switched gears and said it is OK, now, to celebrate them, since, we, now are not bowing down to those old idols, and worshiping false gods in our newer traditions, etc. I say – wow – ridiculous. He would never use that same Biblical Hermaneautic (i.e.: approach and framework of interpreting the Bible) with any other kind of subject. It seems that folks will do anything to promote, defend, and support these pagan-rooted, post-biblical, non-biblical traditions – even within the Southern Baptist churches.
To add to this, when I was looking through LIFEWAY Books online (the Southern Baptist Bookstore, online) they had a whole section regarding “Discovering our Liturgical Past” – my brain exploded. This was about 2 years ago. They must’ve received a ton of complaints, because, I cannot find that section or those books in any Topic Section like that anymore. Then I noticed, more and more, books on LENT, and other Roman Catholic Traditions creeping into the lists of new books. Again, these are the very things the Protestant Reformation PROTESTED against the Roman Catholic church about. The Reformers cried out – SOLA SCRIPTURA! – Scripture ONLY. The Reformers wanted the church to go back to the Bible – and the Bible, only – as the basis for everything the church believes, supports, promotes, defends, and does (mission, etc.). I thought, the last place on the planet that I would find Roman Catholic Traditions infiltration would be the Southern Baptists – but it is happening, little by little – like the, proverbial, Frog in the Kettle.
God has something to say about this – in Deuteronomy 12:29-31 – God specifically warns Israel to NOT go and find out how the pagans worshiped their false gods – and then come back and worship Him in that way.
An example of this is seen in 2 Chronicles 33 – King Manasseh repented of his sins and started to put in reforms to get rid of all the idolatry in the Kingdom of the House of Judah (the southern kingdom). Then we read in verse 17:
Nevertheless the people sacrificed still in the high places, but only to Yahweh their God.
2 Chronicles 33:17
If you are a student of the Bible, you would have read, many times, God’s Hatred of His People sacrificing on the High Places – since, they were used exclusively, in the past, by pagan idolaters. God’s people used to follow other gods, the hosts of the heavens and sacrifice to other gods on those High Places or worship. Thus, if you read Exodus through Deuteronomy, God warns His people to NOT worship Him or other gods on those High Places. That practice and form of worship traces its roots, exclusively to the worship of false gods and goddesses, which includes human and child sacrifice, etc. It was considered an abomination, in the highest degree to Yahweh God of Israel. So, in 2 Chronicles 33:17, this practice is highlighted, in the sense, that, at that time, even though some folks were still using the High Places, they were only being used to Worship Yahweh God of Israel from that point forward. That is the equivalent of saying, “We’ve redeemed that pagan practice and have incorporated it into our regime of ways to worship God.” Doesn’t that “logic” sound familiar? Again, nowhere in Scripture are God’s People commanded to “redeem” anything pagan or idolatrous. Never, NADA. In all cases, God’s People were commanded to destroy, knock down, burn, flee from and avoid. Of course, in the New Covenant, we are just to avoid. But, you get the drift, here. God wants us to stay as far away from idolatry as possible.
Someone might say, “well, that was just the Old Testament…” Well, read 1 Corinthians chapters 8 & 10. Pay attention to 1 Corinthians 10:14 – Flee idolatry! Is that plain enough for you? You see, idolatry isn’t just the bowing down to an idol, praying to it (praying to that false god – demonic entity behind it, etc.) It is all the trappings of idolatry, the worship and obeying of the pagan gods and goddesses, etc. It is all their traditions, annual celebrations, rituals, practices, beliefs, etc. If a person doesn’t worship, bow down to, pray to, and follow that “god” symbolized by that statue (idol) or image (icon / picture) – but fully involves himself / herself in the traditions, annual celebrations, beliefs, and/or practices – that person IS INVOLVED in IDOLATRY – from God’s Biblical Perspective. The Apostle John warns about this in the last verse of 1st John:
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 5:21
Why would the Apostle John warn born-again disciples of Jesus Christ about Idols? Because, Idolatry is deceptive, subtle, sticky, and addictive. If many people are “doing it” it is easier for you to go along with the crowd. You might even feel left out if you don’t participate in it. You don’t want to feel like an outcast, do you? You, also, might even think that this is the way we follow Christ together as Christians – even though it is NOT even in the Bible. There are no examples of anyone in the Bible following Christ in that way, etc. But, because of the power of social-relational peer pressure, even within “churches” – folks go along with it, regardless of any misgivings. When folks are screaming loudly, that we have to PUT CHRIST BACK INTO [Fill in the Blank] – but you find out that Christ was never in it, Jesus never did it or celebrated it, the Holy Apostles of Christ never did it or celebrated it … but you keep on doing “it” because everyone else is doing it. You say to yourself that it is “fun” or what will we do with the kids? – they will miss out on “it”, etc. Those are all horrible reasons, non-biblical, worldly reasons. They are definitely NOT God Pleasing Reasons, for sure, based upon the Bible, alone.
Jesus told the churches of Ephesus, Pergamum, Thytira, Sardis, and Laodicea to REPENT. That is what the church needs to do, today. The body of Christ has compromised with, placated, supported and defended the world and paganism and she continues to promote things that God in Christ through His apostles would reject immediately. You can’t continue in something that Christ is not pleased with and expect God to bless you, as well. Seek to please God first and live accordingly, in Christ, according to His Holy Word, alone.
In our next installment, we will address the other response to our first two installments: going fully, headlong into the Hebrews Roots Legalism Movement …
- Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 1
- Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 2
- How should we Follow Jesus Together as a local church family according to the Bible?
- The Mosaic Covenant, the Israeli “Sabbath Laws”, and the New Covenant in Messiah, Yeshua
- Are Jews and Gentiles Saved in the Same Way?
- Transitioning from the Mosaic to the New Covenant
- Paul – Jerusalem & the Bondage of Judaism
- How Can We Know if “Something” is Christian or Not?
- Myth Busters – Uncovering False Beliefs Some Christians Believe
- The Gathering of the Disciples – Review of Acts 1 thru 20
- The 7 Feasts of Israel – The Appointed Times of God