TRADITIONALISM.

Traditions are meaningful elements in personal, family and group identity. They link the generations and preserve values. But traditionalism is the upholding or maintenance of tradition, especially so as to resist change.

In Jesus’ day traditionalism even went farther. Not only did it create a resistance to change, it formed man-made conditions for God’s acceptance and salvation and ultimately led to spiritual blindness, critical spirits and hard-hearted rejection of His grace.

Traditionalism is not an “old people’s” problem; it creeps into every generation. Human beings tend to venerate whatever forms of religious practice “works” for them. Go to the next page to hunt for expressions of traditionalism in our churches today.

The “ways of man” get confused with the things of God. Anything from traditional church furniture to the most contemporary music becomes connected with “the way” to honor God best. People have difficulty distinguishing between preferences and necessities.

Lord, help us.

People inspect and reject others based on not measuring up to superficial standards. Tattoos or ties? Blue jeans or sport coats? Polished shoes or sandals? Perhaps we’ve moved beyond these examples of superficial standards. But what about other things we notice? Did they put anything in the offering plate? Don’t they know how to control their kids? They smell like they smoke.\

Lord, help us.

People are afraid of breaking new ground or going through open doors, especially if involves the possibility of having to let go of the tried and true patterns and practices.

Lord, help us.

Sometimes people are so afraid of traditionalism we “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” We discard meaningful hymns and liturgy in order to make sure that we avoid the “old” when some traditions can add meaning, direction and connection with the Lord’s work in and through His church throughout all generations. In avoiding traditionalism may we not neglect remembering and valuing God’s work through the ages.

Lord, help us.


(Mark 2:21-22) “No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
(Mark 7:9) And Jesus continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we so often get trapped by what we are comfortable with and what makes us feel righteous. We need your help to show us where our traditions keep us from following You into new ways and works of Your Spirit. But may we also honor traditions of past generations that have sacred value. Help us in all generations be so attuned to Your Spirit that Your love shapes us and not the fear of losing our traditions or the fear of being “traditional.” Help us to be truly free. Amen.