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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
WHAT ESTABLISHES AN APOSTOLIC TRADITION?
I believe that one reason the following four scriptures have been given is to identify for us what apostolic traditions are and what establishes such traditions:
1 Corinthians 11:1) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2) Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
1 Corinthians 14:37) If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
2 Thessalonians 2:15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Thessalonians 3:6) 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.
From these scriptures we learn that an apostolic tradition is:
(a) a teaching passed down to an apostle, from the Lord Jesus,(I Cor.11:1,2
(b) such a teaching has been delivered to others by an apostle,
(I Cor.11:2; II Thess.3:6)
(c) such a teaching has been communicated by an
apostle’s spoken word or by written epistle.
(I Cor.14:37; II Thess.2:15)
Some very earnest Christians sincerely believe and teach that some very common church practices are apostolic traditions based solely on records of historical events found in the New Testament.
But does a scriptural historical record of an event establish any apostolic tradition?
You be the judge of the following recorded events in the Book of Acts. Does the record of any of the following 21 events establish an apostolic tradition which we ought always to follow? Check off your answer (“YES” or “NO”) after each of the following and then record your reasons below for any “YES” answers:
(1) Prayer meetings ought to be held in upper rooms because of Acts 1:13,14.
Y( ) N( )
(2) Everybody at a prayer meeting ought to speak in tongues because of
Acts 2:4. Y( ) N( )
(3) When preaching the Gospel, one should use Joel 2, Psalm 16, Psalm 110 &
Psalm 132 as their texts because of Acts 2:14-39. Y( ) N( )
(4) Believers ought to continue steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and
fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers because of Acts 2:42.
Y ( ) N ( )
(5) Believers ought to have all things common, selling their possessions and
distributing to those who have need because of Acts 2:44,45 and 4:32-35.
Y( ) N( )
(6) Believers ought to meet daily in the temple because of Acts 2:46.Y( )N( )
(7) Believers ought to break bread daily from house to house because of
Acts 2:46. Y( ) N( )
(8) All lame beggars ought to be healed because of Acts 3:1-11. Y( ) N( )
(9) Believers ought to heal every sick person that is brought for healing
because of Acts 5:12-16. Y( ) N( )
(10) Believers ought to preach the Gospel daily in the temple and in houses
because of Acts 5:42. Y( ) N( )
(11) Believers everywhere ought to appoint 7 men filled with the Holy Spirit
and wisdom to care for widows in their city because of Acts 6:1-6.
Y( ) N( )
(12) Believers ought to pray and lay hands on people so they receive the
Holy Spirit because of Acts 8:15-17. Y( ) N( )
(13) Every one’s baptism should occur 3 days after their conversion because
of Acts 9:1-18. Y( ) N( )
(14) Believers should heal all those who are sick of the palsy because of
Acts 9:33,34. Y( ) N( )
(15) Believers always ought to raise the dead to life again because of
Acts 9:36-41. Y( ) N( )
(16) Believers ought to preach the Gospel on the sabbath day in synagogues
because of Acts 14:1; 17:1-4) Y( ) N( )
(17) Believers ought to baptize new converts in the middle of the night
because of Acts 16:33. Y( ) N( )
(18) Believers ought to remember the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread
on the first day of the week, and only then because of Acts 20:7.
Y( ) N( )
(19) Someone should always preach till midnight when disciples come
together to break bread because of Acts 20:7. Y( ) N( )
(20) Believers should always gather in an upper room to break bread
because of Acts 20:8. Y( ) N( )
(21) Believers should always break bread after midnight and then talk
till day break because of Acts 20:11. Y( ) N( )
How many of the historical events above do you think establish an apostolic tradition?( )
If you think one or more of them do, why that one or those and not others?
Would you then add any other further scriptural requirements (which identify apostolic traditions) to the three I have listed above? If so, what would such requirements be and where would they be found in the scriptures?
From another perspective, some of the recorded events above are practical illustrations of obedience to apostolic traditions which are actually taught and commanded elsewhere in scripture!
- Believers ought to continue steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, NOT because of the historical event of Acts 2:42, but because of the commands of the Lord Jesus and the apostles in Matt.28:18-20; I Cor.11:1,2; II Thess. 2:15 and 3:6!
- We ought to continue steadfastly in the fellowship, NOT because of the historical event of Acts 2:42, but because of the calling of God in I Cor.1:9 and the apostolic command to communicate/have fellowship in Hebrews 13:16
-We ought to continue steadfastly in the breaking of bread NOT because of the historical event of Acts 2:42 but because of the commands of the Lord Jesus and the apostles in Luke 22:19 and I Cor.11:23-26.
- We ought to continue steadfastly in prayers NOT because of the historical event of Acts 2:42 but because of the commands of the Lord Jesus and the apostles in Luke 18:1; 21:36; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18!
-We ought to sell possessions we don’t need and distribute to the necessities of others NOT because of the historical events of Acts 2:44,45 and 4:32-35 but because of the commands of the Lord Jesus and the apostles in Matt.19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 12:33; II Cor.8:9-15!
- Believers ought to remember the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread on the first day of the week NOT because of the historical event of Acts 20:7 but rather because the Lord Jesus and the apostles command us to do it as often we eat the bread and drink the cup (i.e. as often as we eat our daily meals!) This is also the reason why we ought to do it NOT ONLY on the first day of the week but daily, NOT because the early believers happened to do it daily (Acts 2:46) but because the Lord Jesus and the apostles commanded us to do so!
Your comments?.... Add them below!