A Biblical Precedent for Our Traditions
[From Our National Book of Order of Discipline and Rituals]
What are traditions? Some say that traditions are good; some say that they are a danger to the work of God. And in some cases that might be true. Unfortunately, some people carelessly teach that traditions are unnecessary. My thought is that they do not understand its meaning or purpose or how to use them for the good.
Tradition may be defined as the knowledge, opinions, beliefs, doctrines, customs, practices, rites, etc., handed down, or transmitted, usually by word of mouth or by example, from one generation to another. All successful organizations have them, including our families.
The English word tradition is derived from the Latin verb tradere, which in turn is derived from trans, meaning across, and dare, meaning to give. In the Bible the Greek word paradosis (1 Corinthians 11:2) is translated tradition. According to Strong’s concordance, paradosis means transmission, and according to Young’s concordance it means a giving over, a handing down.
The following are this writer’s findings:
Throughout biblical history, we can find instances where traditions (or common practices) became accepted as the voice of God, such as the Jewish religious sect of Pharisee-ism in the New Testament. The encyclopedia Britannica reports that “The Pharisees were primarily a society of scholars and pietists. They enjoyed a large popular following, and in the New Testament they appear as spokesmen for the majority of the that population. About 100 BCE a long struggle ensued as the Pharisees tried to democratize the Jewish religion and remove it from the control of the Temple priests.”
In further study, we can find that God ordained the Temple priests, not the Pharisees. Because their authority was not monitored, they purported themselves as the oracles of God and people believed them, and the Pharisees gained a huge following and eventually caused them to replace the commandments of God, for the traditions of the elders (Matthew 15:1-20). Jesus rebuked them sharply.
When tradition is taught as dogma (a doctrine or practice that is considered unchangeable, because it is a divine commandment from God) then it becomes corrupt doctrine and then needs to be discontinued. For nothing should replace the word of the Lord God. Since various traditions are a violation against God, they have ceased fulfilling the purpose for which it was designated and should be discarded. For fear of this happening to True Holiness, the overseers periodically examine all traditions. Wayne Jackson, in his article Tradition vs Scripture, published in the ChristianCourier.com, has offered the following:
Tradition is not intrinsically evil, since it operates in the realm of expediency [being convenient and practical] and human judgment. It is condemned, however, when it is thrust into the role of “God’s law,” and bound as such. At this point it becomes destructive to the faith… We must be able to discern the difference between “law” and “tradition,” the “essential” and the “incidental.”
True Holiness Assemblies, our shepherd organization, has traditions that are handed down to its member-congregations from those who designed a church foundation, starting in the early 1900’s, upon which our founders established True Holiness. Our well-established and more recent traditions were handed down to us by example, by word of mouth, by our General Overseer, our Board of Bishops, their pastors, and through the Book of Order of Discipline and Rituals.
The Bible illustrates the need for traditions for those who serve God.
For example, Paul wrote to the church several statements about the importance of tradition:
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6)
As it says in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, these Traditions were taught not only by Scripture (Old Testament writings), but also by the approval (through private instruction) of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles (through their word). Therefore, we come to the conclusion based upon the written word of God that traditions are a necessary part of transmitting the knowledge of God
The following list is a few of True Holiness’ Local & National Traditions. Any of these can be changed or discarded when found necessary:
° Right Hand of Fellowship, when accepting a new member
° After entering the auditorium, bow at your seat for a short prayer thanking God.
° Testifying in Public Assembly
° Reciting a short scripture before your testimony
° Praying During Public Services
° Opening a Service with Devotionals
° Tithes and Freewill Pledges
° Collecting Monetary Gifts & Tithes During Worship
° Every 5th Sunday, Missionary Day
° Our Order of Worship
° Membership Regulations and Provisions
° Ceremony for Dedicating Children to God
° Wedding Ceremonies
° The Reading of the Word (Public Oratory)
° Musical Instruments during Worship
° Choral Singing
° Congregational Singing
° The First Sunday after Passover, Celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection
° Celebrating the Word Made Flesh, The Savior’s Birth
° Celebration of Motherhood, Mother’s Day
° Celebration of Fatherhood, Father’s Day
° Weekly Sunday School
° Week Night Services
° Worship on Sunday
° Foot Washing Ceremony, after The Communion Service
° Wearing All White on Missionary Sunday
° Wearing All White at a Church Member’s Home Going
° Altar Calls
° Calls for Laying on of Hands for Healing
° Worshipping in a formal church building
° The Primary Worship Service on the First Day of the Week
Traditions create memories that last a lifetime and help to unify the church family. Traditions help us to value the past and the present.