Religious Tradition is Not the Final Authority

Saturday, February 4, 2012

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye” (Mark 7:13 KJV).

A critic once asked me where the Bible taught “Sola Scriptura” (that the Bible, not religious tradition, was the final authority). Although he attempted to trip me up with this “I gotcha” issue, I showed him the following verses, including today’s Scripture, and he has not been heard from since! 🙂

Just as vain religious tradition abounds today, it did in Christ’s time. The Pharisees and scribes loved being religious, but they vehemently rejected God’s Son Jesus Christ, and they made every attempt to hinder His ministry. In their minds, their vain religious tradition, not God’s Word, had the preeminence (Galatians 1:13,14; 1 Peter 1:18). Sound familiar?

Today, most churches relegate God’s Word to a “good advice” status: the Bible’s testimony is only sought if it agrees with church tradition. Myriads of church members only hear God’s Word via a biased (denominational) viewpoint. This happens in “Christian” churches of all places too!

In Matthew 15:9, Jesus said: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” He expounded in Mark 7:8,9: “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

The focus was not on God’s doctrine and its meaning, but whether or not someone could pacify Israel’s religious body with outward performance (formalism). By cleaving to their tradition, they nullified God’s Word (today’s Scripture). Consider modern-day church members enslaved to a denominational hierarchy, bound to perform religious duty and appease fallible man.

Friends, you either believe religious tradition, or you believe God’s Word. The two cannot and will not mix because they are mutually exclusive: “…Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matthew 15:6). According to Jesus Christ, the Bible alone has God’s authority, not religious tradition (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16,17).