A Manual For Discipleship

 

Disciples – Know The Trouble With Traditionalism

 

We have seen Jesus’ description of the genuine conversion as opposed to the counterfeit conversion (Matthew 13:1-23). We have also seen the polluted nature of the church according to Jesus’ prophetic parables (Matthew 13:24-58). Then we saw how Jesus handled the grief associated with the loss of his close fellow minister John the Baptist (Matthew 14). Now we will see another detriment to the church, overemphasis on human tradition.

 

The Trouble With Traditionalism

 

On the heels of a beautiful time of healing the hurting (Matthew 14:34-36), the scribes and Pharisees confront Jesus with a question pertaining to something they feel is of utmost importance, adhering to a “ tradition of the elders” (15:1). This opens the door to a very important teaching by Jesus on the trouble with human traditions. In the next twenty verses of Matthew 15, Jesus explains the problem with overemphasizing human traditions, that is, The Trouble With Traditionalism.

 

Traditions Focus on Externalities

 

Matthew 15:1-2 – “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”  [1]

To understand what is gong on here we need to examine a bit of the history of the Jews. Jews of Jesus day rightly taught that God had given the Law (or Torah) to Moses on Mount Sinai (see Exodus 20). But where the Jews erred was that they came to believe that the interpretation of the Law made by the Pharisees referred to as “the tradition of the elders,” was, in practice, just as important as the Law itself.  The “tradition of the elders,” Later came to be known as the Mishnah. The Mishnah contains the oral interpretations of the Torah committed to writing in the second and third centuries and was later expanded in the Gemara in the fourth and fifth centuries. The Talmud is the Mishna and the Gemara together. [2]

The tradition particularly in question here is that of hand washing. Bible Teacher Jon Courson makes the following comments on the place of the tradition of hand washing in the lives of these first century Jews:

“The Rabbis taught that at night, the demon Shibna would often come and sit upon a man’s hands as he slept. They went on to say that if anyone ate with hands that had been sat upon by a demon, the demon could enter into him through the food and take control of him. Therefore, the Rabbis concluded, before eating one needed to wash his hands in the following manner:

You would take one and a half eggshells of water and pour it over your hands as they were pressed together uprightly, letting the water drip only to your wrists and no further. Then, you would flip your hands over, pointing them downward while yet another one and a half eggshells of water was poured over them. Finally, you would rub your right fist with your left palm, then your left fist with your right palm.

This procedure was followed not only before every meal, but between each course of every meal.” [3]

This was what was going on in this situation, the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to impose their human traditions on Jesus and His disciples and Jesus would have none of it.            

Traditions Add to and Even Oppose At Times, The Word of God

Matthew 15:3-9 – “He answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?4 “For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’5 “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—6 ‘then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.7 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,  And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”   [4]

Jesus points out the problem with the religious traditions that the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to impose on Him and His disciples was that they actually contradicted and transgressed God’s Law, His word (15:4). Jesus then goes on to give an example of how these human traditions led to transgressing God’s Law and word.

Jesus recited the fifth commandment which states God orders the honor of one’s parents (Exodus 20:12). Jesus includes the Biblical admonition that the one who curses his parents shall be worthy of the death penalty (Exodus 21:17). Jesus then contrasts and shows how the human tradition of the Pharisees contradicted this law. The Pharisees had implemented a tradition whereby if you owned something of great value you could label it “Corban,” which literally meant, gift of God.” By doing this you could keep the valuable item in your home and enjoy it, but it was set aside for God in a way that prohibited your selling it or using it for other purposes. This may sound good on the surface, but what it led to was unrighteous manipulation. You see if someone, even your parents came to you for help or financial assistance, you could keep from selling off your property to help them by saying, “Well, I’d like to help you, but you know how it is, I’ve dedicated [Corban] everything of value in my home to God and can’t really sell it off to assist you.” Jesus said such a practice served to nullify God’s word (15:6).  

Jesus closes his comments here by saying, ““Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,  And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”   (15:7-9). This statement by Jesus tells us that God’s doctrine is not man-made. This statement also defines “tradition,” (15:3) as “the commandments of men” (15:9).  The implication here is that the only true guide for the believer is that which has been inspired by God, man-made “traditions” or “commandments” are unreliable and secondary at best.

The Dangerous Consequence of Traditionalism

When men’s traditions take a prominent place in the life of the church or the believer, a great danger lurks. In the gospels and the New Testament we see a warning against exalting human traditions to the same level of authority as that of God’s word, the Scriptures. The apostle Paul also spoke of this danger and the consequence when he was inspired to write:

  • Colossians 2:8-9 – “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;”  [5]

Human tradition, the teaching of mere men, can “cheat” us if we give them the same authority as God’s word. The word “cheat” is translated from the Greek term SULAGOGEO (Strong’s #4812) and means, “to carry off booty, to lead captive, to rob, to kidnap, to spoil, to lead away from the truth and subject to one’s sway.” [6] That is what will happen if one depends upon human tradition. Human tradition rests on infallible humans and will also come up short of God’s infallible word.

Human tradition is “aimless” in comparison to the true gospel of Christ.  That is what Peter says when he is inspired to write:

  • 1 Peter 1:18-19 – “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  [7]

Tradition is aimless in as much as it does not depend on Christ or fall in line with God’s word. We need to give priority and preeminence to God’s word, not human tradition.

What Is Human Tradition and Is It Ever Useful?

The Bible does use the word “ tradition,” eleven times in the New Testament (Matthew 15:2,3,6; Mark 7:3,5,8,9,13; 1 Corinthians 11:2; Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6)).  The word translated “tradition” in the New Testament is PARADOSIS (Strong’s #3862), which has a literal meaning of, “to hand down, giving up, giving over,” or passing on of something. [8]

Eight of the eleven times “tradition” is used refers to the misguided and misused “traditions’ of the religious Pharisees in Matthew and Mark’s account of Jesus confronting the Pharisees we are immediately studying. The ninth use of the term refers to the “traditions of men” referred to earlier in our study in Colossians 2:8. All of these uses are negative in nature.

There are far fewer uses of the term tradition that are favorable. When tradition is used in a favorable manner it refers to an acceptable body of teaching passed on by apostles. The apostle Paul used the term “tradition” on occasion when referring to the teachings he passed on as we see when he wrote:

 

  • 1 Corinthians 11:2 – “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions [PARADOSIN] just as I delivered [PARADIDOMI] them to you.”  [9]
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15 – “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions         [PARADOSEIS] which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”   [10]
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6 – “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition [PARADOSIN] which he received from us.”  [11]

This last verse makes a distinction between mere human tradition and that tradition that is inspired by God. Paul goes out of his way to emphasize that the tradition the flock at Thessalonica needs to follow is that tradition “received from us.” It is Paul’s and the other apostle’s “tradition” in particular that is authoritative because the “tradition” passed on by Paul and other apostles was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17). .

Another term which can be used in a way that connotes the idea of passing on a doctrine or teaching is the Greek term PARADIDOMI (Strong’s # 3860). PARADIDOMI has the literal meaning of, “to give something to someone; hand over; deliver up, be taken care of; to deliver.” This is a more general term and is used in regards to handing someone over to a court (Matthew 10:17), or imprisonment (Matthew 4:12). The term can refer to handing one over to death (Matthew 17:22), or to betray someone (Matthew 10:4; John 6:64,71). This word is used when John states that Jesus on the cross “He gave up His spirit”  (John 19:30). Paul uses the term to state how God “delivered Him up,” [i.e. Jesus] (Romans 8:32). When Paul states that Jesus “gave Himself for me,” he uses the Greek term PARADIDOMI (Galatians 2:20).

But PARADIDOMI can also be used to refer to the passing on of a tradition, testimony or doctrine as seen in the following verses:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3 – “For I delivered [PARADIDOMI] to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,”  [12]
  • Jude 3 – “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered [PARADIDOMI] to the saints.”  [13]

In both of these verses PARADIDOMI is used to refer to doctrine or teaching that was handed down by the apostles.

Therefore, acceptable tradition, (or that passed on), is that which coincides and agrees with the teachings of the apostles or the larger body of the inspired word of God.

Tradition spoken of by the apostles was inspired material. The apostles were uniquely inspired by God to write that which the Spirit would have them write (John 15:26-27). The apostles based what they handed down to future generations of Christians on their eyewitness accounts of Jesus (2 Peter 1:16.19). That handed down by the apostles was classified as “Scripture” in the Bible (2 Peter 3:16). That handed down by the apostles has a once and for all nature about it (Jude 3). That passed on by the apostles was consistent with God’s truth and originated from their relationship with Jesus (Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 11:1-23; 15:1-3).

Human tradition is therefore that which falls outside of the inspired body of material handed down by the apostles. Human tradition depends upon humanity as its source. Human tradition is only permissible when it does not contradict God’s word. The traditions of the Early Church Fathers (Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers) offer interesting commentary on the early workings of the church and its history, but it is not inspired or to be given the same authoritative weight as that of the Bible. Any and all statements, orders, decisions, or commands coming out of the church from after the close of the canon of Scripture at the end of the first century up to the present and until the end of history must, like any other material, be scrutinized through the lens of the inspired word of God.

Didn’t The Church Determine the Canon AFTER The First Century?

This is a misconception perpetrated by those in the church who seek to elevate themselves to a position of authority over God’s word. The “canon” (literally “measure”) of Scripture refers to those writings which are inspired by God through human writers. God’s word is not inspired because the church determined it was inspired, God’s word is inspired because when God gave it He inspired it. The church merely discovered the inspired works of God.

How Was The Canon Discovered?

In their great work, A General Introduction to the Bible, Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix explain the proper view of how the canon of Scripture came to be recognized. In their book they state:

“Canonicity is determined by God. A book is not inspired because men made it canonical; it is canonical because God inspired it.” [14]

 

Geisler and Nix go on to contrast the incorrect view and correct view of canonization in the following way:

 

INCORRECT VIEW                                         CORRECT VIEW

 

The Church is DETERMINER of Canon        The Church is DISCOVERER of Canon

The Church is MOTHER of Canon                The Church is CHILD of Canon

The Church is MAGISTRATE of Canon       The Church is MINISTER

The Church is REGULATOR of Canon         The Church is RECOGNIZER of Canon

The Church is JUDGE of Canon                    The Church is WITNESS of Canon

The Church is MASTER of Canon                 The Church is SERVANT of Canon

 

Geisler and Nix explain that canonization was discovered based on the following evidences.

 

1.)     Is it AUTHORITATIVE?   Did it come with the authority of God?  (E.g. “Says the LORD” Is. 1:18; Mk. 1:22)

2.)     Is it PROPHETIC?    Was it written by a man of God? (2 Peter 1:20; Heb. 1:1)

3.)     Is it AUTHENTIC?  Did it tell the truth about God, man, etc.? Bible does not contradict truth. (Acts 17:11; I John. 4:1-6)

4.)     Is it DYNAMIC?   Did it come with the life-changing power of God? (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23)

5.)     Was it RECEIVED?  Was it collected, read, used and accepted by the people of God? (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

 

These criteria are what tips off God’s people as to the peculiar and uniquely blessed writings that come straight from the heart of God to His people. Human tradition does not have the authority of God and at times, though written by men of God, do not always speak the truth of God. Human tradition is impotent in comparison to God’s word. Human tradition may have been accepted by some men, but it was not received by the early church as was the inspired canonical writings of the 66 Old and New Testament books.

 

When Was The Canon of the Church In Place?

 

Geisler and Nix go on to say the following about when the canon was set:

 

“The Old Testament canon was probably completed about 400 B.C. . . . At these councils (of Hippo -A.D. 393 and Carthage - A.D. 397) the New Testament canon, which was ratified, agreed with the present-day canon of twenty-seven books. It should be remembered, however, that the canon was actually completed when the last New Testament book was written.”  [15]  

 

Who did determine what the canon of scriptural writings was and that the canon was complete?

 

The Holy Spirit Determined the Canon of Inspired Writings of God

 

Geisler and Nix go on to explain the role of the Holy Spirit in canonization and inspiration:

 

The witness of the Holy Spirit. The recognition of canonicity was not a mere mechanical matter settled by a synod or ecclesiastical council. It was a providential process directed by the Spirit of God as He witnessed to the church about the reality of the Word of God. Man of himself could not identify the Word of God, but the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of their understanding so that they could recognize God’s Word. Jesus said, ‘My sheep will hear My voice’ (John 10:27). . . . In the providence of God, the principles were used to determine the extent of the canon, while the Holy Spirit gave assurance as to the reality of its message.”  [16]

 

Therefore, we see that canonization as well as inspiration is a work of the Holy Spirit, not the church. What happens when tradition is given the same authority as God’s inspired word? Let’s look at some examples.

 

From Persecution to Peace - The Origin and Overflow of Church Traditions

 

In 312 A.D. the last of the persecuting Roman emperors Diocletian died leaving the Roman Empire fragmented between a number of contestants for the throne. The two most powerful were Maxentius and Constantine. In 312 A.D. the armies of these two figures met at the battle of the Milvian Bridge which passed over the Tiber River.  Constantine was on the brink of being pushed out of contention for emperor by Maxentius.  At a critical moment in the battle, badly outnumbered, Constantine is alleged to have seen a vision of a cross in the sky with the Latin  words, “IN HOC SIGNO VINCES” [17]or “IN THIS SIGN CONQUER.” [18] As a result some contend that Constantine converted to Christianity. As to the authenticity of this conversion Earle E. Cairns writes,

“Though the vision may have occurred, it is likely that Constantine’s favoritism to the church was a matter of expediency. The church might serve as a new center of unity and save classical culture and the empire. The fact that he delayed baptism till shortly before his death and kept the position of Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the pagan state religion, would seem to support this view. Moreover, his execution of the young men who might have had a claim to his throne was not in keeping with the conduct of a sincere Christian. Perhaps there was a mixture of superstition and expediency in his policy.” [19]

In further support of this view is the fact that Constantine who was badly outnumbered at the battle of the Milvian Bridge, saw that there was a group uninvolved in the war to this point. This group could tip the balance. Who was this group of people? Christians! As he professed their faith he drew them into support of his efforts. Needless to say, Constantine won the battle as a result.

Consequently, Constantine ended the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman empire when  in 313 A.D he granted the Edict of Toleration. Soon all Roman babies were required by law to be baptized into the Christian faith. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.  A coin issued around this time by Constantine had Christian symbols on one side and pagan symbols on the other. A marriage took place between the state and the church.  

Constantine nonetheless was presented with a problem. How could he maintain the political support of the pagan religious community as well as the Christian community? What he did was orchestrate a mixture of pagan and Christian religious practices that led to the polluting of the church.   

Dr. Raul Ries writes concerning this period:

“By A.D. 312, Constantine had become so affected by the idea of Christianity, that he made it the state religion. Everyone in the Roman Empire became a Christian by decree of the emperor. Obviously, that did not mean that everyone under Roman domination suddenly turned to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and embraced the teachings of the Bible. The decree simply re-labeled any existing religious practice as ‘Christianity,’ whether or not it had anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. FROM A.D. 312 ON, THEN, THE CHURCH BECAME MORE ROMAN AND LESS CHRISTIAN IN PRACTICE.  The true Christians, however, recognized what was happening, and began separating themselves from the official state religion. As they separated themselves, though, they began to be persecuted again. The church became polluted because of all the things that were imported from Romanism.” (Emphasis added.) [20]

Therefore you see that human tradition can oftentimes serve to clutter the truth of God’s word rather than clarify it.

A Major Theological Change – End Times Lethargy

Now that the church was no longer being persecuted the desire for the appearing of the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13) began to diminish. The church began to view the period of persecution leading up to Constantine’s reign as The Great Tribulation. They viewed the events of 312 A.D. as the beginning of the Millennium and believed that the Kingdom of God would be established by the church. This resulted in a departure from the Biblical doctrine of the Rapture of the church. This theological shift based on human traditions adopted into the church led to and continues to lead to a lukewarm lack of urgency about the return of Jesus both at the Rapture and at the Second Coming. This is a dangerous condition for people to be in. Jesus warned about the need to be ready when He said:

  • Matthew 25:1-13 – ““Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.2 “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.3 “Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,4 “but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.5 “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’7 “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.8 “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’9 “But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’12 “But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”  [21]

Oil in the Scriptures is a symbol of the Spirit (see Zechariah 4:6). Therefore, from this parable of Jesus we see that the reason for the foolish virgins lack of readiness was a lack of the Spirit in their lives. Perhaps Jesus was alluding to the dependence on human traditions rather than on the Holy Spirit in the church.

Jesus also said:

  • Luke 21:36 - “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  [22]

Disciple, be ready at all times and pray that you are ready at the return of Jesus for His church.

The Example of the Tradition of Christmas

 

In history, the false Babylonian religious system which traces it’s origin back to the Tower of Babel and Nimrod (Genesis 10) emigrated to the City of Pergamos (see Revelation 2:12-17), and then later to Rome itself.[23] The melding of Christianity and pagan Babylonian cultic practices resulted in a number of traditions in the church. An example of such a tradition is as follows.

In the pagan Babylonian pantheon Nimrod, “a mighty hunter against the Lord” (Genesis 10:9) married a woman named Semiramis.  While Nimrod was away or had died (the exact details are unclear at this point) Semiramis miraculously became pregnant and gave birth to a son who was named Tammuz. Tammuz was killed by a wild beast at around the time of the winter solstice (December 22-25). The story continues with Tammuz came back to life three days later. To celebrate this miracle a holiday was proclaimed for this time of year and a tradition was established the form of which involved the taking of a log, called a “Yule” (Babylonian word for “child”) and burning it in the fire. The fire burns the log and the log is replaced with a tree, an evergreen tree which is decorated with silver and stood up by fastening it with nails so it will not topple over. This is referred to by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 10:1-5.

·         Jeremiah 10:1-5 - “Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.2 Thus says the Lord:  “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4 They decorate it with silver and gold;  They fasten it with nails and hammers So that it will not topple. 5 They are upright, like a palm tree, And they cannot speak;  They must be carried, Because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, For they cannot do evil, Nor can they do any good.”   [24]

The tree is to celebrate the miracle resurrection of Tammuz. The story of Semiramis and Tammuz is traceable through many different cultures:

·         Roman - Venus and Cupid

·         Greek - Aphrodite and Eros

·         Egypt - Iris and Horis

·         Phoenician - Ashtoroth and Tammuz

This pantheon is a diabolical counterfeit to God’s divine plan of salvation in Christ. Satan knows the Scriptures and seeks to undo God’s plan of salvation (e.g. Genesis 3:15).

The result of the melding of religions led to the change of the Saturnalia holiday which celebrated Tammuz’ resurrection to Christmas.  The same priestly robes and incense burning used by the Babylonian priests were kept and incorporated into the Christian celebration.  The title of Pontifex Maximus held by the Babylonian priests was also incorporated into the religious traditions of the church.

Another holiday incorporated into Christianity was that of Ishtar which celebrated the miracle birth of Tammuz. On this holiday people the colored of eggs to call to remembrance how Tammuz was miraculously formed in the womb of Semiramis.  The name of this holiday that was Christianized became Easter.[25]

Other traditions flowed from this mixture of religions. 

Troubling Traditions

 

Below are a number of traditions and the dates they were adopted by the Church. None of these traditions are Biblically supportable and many are contradictions of the Word of God. The Scriptures listed next to the traditions represent what the Bible has to say about such beliefs.

 

·         Praying for the dead (A.D. 300) - Hebrews 9:27

·         The sign of the cross (A.D. 375) - Matthew 6:1-18

·         Worship of saints and angels (A.D. 394) - Exodus 20:1-6; Matthew 4:8-10

·         The Roman Catholic Mass (A.D. 431) - Hebrews 9:24-28

·         Worship of Mary (A.D. 500) - Exodus 20:1-6; Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 1:47; 11:27-28

·         Priests wearing robes and collars to separate themselves from the laity  (A.D. 593) - Mark 10:45; Luke 22:24-27; Hebrews 8 and 10; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2:6,15

·         Purgatory (A.D. 600)  - Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 9:27

·         Title of pope given to Boniface III by emperor Phocas (A.D. 607) - Galatians 2:11-14; 1 Timothy 6:15

·         Doctrine of kissing the Pope’s foot (A.D. 709) - Romans 3:23; Revelation 19:10

·         Worship of the cross, images, and relics authorized (A.D. 786) - Exodus 20:1-6; Leviticus 26:1; 2 Kings 18:4-6; Isaiah 42:8; 1 John 5:21

·         Use of holy water (A.D. 850) - John 4:5-26

·         Canonization of dead saints by Pope John XV (A.D. 995)

·         Fasting on Fridays during Lent (A.D. 998) - Galatians 4:8-14; Colossians 2:16-17

·         Celibacy of the priesthood by Pope Gregory VII; priests and nuns forbidden to marry (A.D. 1079) - 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 27; 1 Timothy 4:1-3

·         Mechanical praying with beads, or the Rosary, invented by Peter the Hermit (A.D. 1090) - Matthew 6:7-8

·         The inquisition (A.D. 1184) - 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Peter 3:15-17

·         Sale of indulgences (A.D. 1190) - Matthew 6:19-21, 24; Romans 3:24; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 4:2; 2 Peter 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19; 1 Peter 1:7,18-19

·         Transubstantiation (A.D. 1215) - Hebrews 9:24-27

·         Establishment of communion wafer (A.D. 1220)

·         The Bible forbidden to laymen; only the priest could read the Bible; he would inform the people of God’s message (A.D. 1229) - John 14:26; 16:8, 13; 1 Corinthians 2:13-16; 1 John 2:27

·         Communion cup forbidden to the people (A.D. 1414) - Acts 2:42

·         Doctrine of purgatory decreed of by the Council of Florence (A.D. 1439) - Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 9:27

·         Seven sacraments affirmed, including baptism, penance, holy communion, confirmation, holy matrimony, holy orders, and extreme unction (A.D. 1439) - 1 Corinthians 1:17

·         Ava Maria approved (A.D. 1508)

·         Jesuit priesthood order founded by Ignatius Loyola (A.D. 1534)

·         Roman Catholic tradition granted equal authority with the Bible (A.D. 1545) - Psalm 119; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

·         Apocrypha l books added to the Bible by the Council of Trent; these books are not accepted as inspired literature by the Protestant movement, (they do have some historical value) (A.D. 1546) - Revelation 22:18-19

·         Immaculate Conception of Mary introduced (A.D. 1854) - Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 1:47; 11:27-28; Luke 1:47; Romans 3:23

·         Infallibility of the Pope declared (A.D. 1870) - Romans 3:23; Galatians 2:11-14

·         Public schools condemned by Pius XI (A.D. 1930)

·         Assumption of the Virgin Mary proclaimed by Pius XII (A.D. 1950) -; Romans 3:23

·         Mary proclaimed to be the Mother of the Church by Paul VI (A.D. 1965) - Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 1:47; 11:27-28; Romans 3:23[26]

 

When Constantine came to power in the fourth century, he called together those bishops who were willing and met with them. He established a basilica in Rome. Constantine entertained a group of monks from Haifa who practiced the mingling of Babylonian practices with Christian practices. From this group a monk by the name of DAMISUS was given the title of SUPREME PONTIFF by Constantine and named the bishop of Rome. From that point on all of Christendom would bow to the Roman pontiff. It was at this point, not until the fourth century,  that the church was renamed the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. [27]

The Heart of the Problem With Traditionalism

Matthew 15:10-20 – “When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand:11 “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.14 “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?17 “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.20 “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”  [28]

Jesus then comes to the heart of the problem with men’s traditions. He says, ““Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (15:11). In other words, traditions do not connect with the heart. Human traditions are ineffective in dealing with the rudimentary problems of people which centers in the heart. Jesus says that while the scribes and Pharisees are all consumed with what goes into a person and how they consume things (i.e. ritual cleansing), the real issue is what comes out of a person’s mouth because that is what determines whether or not he or she is defiled (15:11).

When Jesus had said this, the disciples came to Jesus on the side and told Him, “Master, do you know you really offended the scribes and Pharisees by your words?” (15:12). The disciples were concerned with the offending the establishment, not a good sign of where they were with the Lord. Jesus stayed the course with them saying that that which is not planted by God would be uprooted (15:13). He likened the Pharisees and scribes, who relied on human tradition to, “blind leaders of the blind” (15:14a). Jesus went on to say that such would wind up in a ditch. In other words those who rely on human traditions are spiritually blind and off track with God. Traditionalism leads to spiritual blindness. If you are going to depend on human traditions to find God and relate to Him, you will eventually fall into a spiritual ditch!

The Heart of the Problem

Jesus’ disciples didn’t quite get what Jesus was saying so they came to Him for further explanation. Jesus then teaches the heart of the problem. The problem with human traditions is that they do not get to the heart of the problem with people, which is, the heart (15:17-20). It isn’t the ritual cleansing of one’s hands that determines one’s cleanliness before God, but it is the condition of one’s heart on the inside before God.

The Bible tells us that the problem with humankind is that their hearts are all fowled up. This is what God said through Jeremiah when he was inspired to write:

  • Jeremiah 17:9-10 - “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”  [29]

Read some of the other verses in the Bible which speak of the problematic heart condition of humankind:

  • Genesis 6:5 – “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  [30]
  • Jeremiah 5:23 – “But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed.”  [31]
  • Romans 1:21; 2:5 – “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. . . . 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” [32]
  • Ephesians 4:17-19 – “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”  [33]

This is only a small sampling of the verses that could have been quoted to show the sinful condition of people’s hearts. If human traditions and rules are unable to deal with the heart problem of humankind what can?

The Heart of the Solution

Only God can heal and fix the sinful heart of a person. No work or adherence to a tradition can affect the condition of a sinful heart. God alone holds the answer to the sinful heart problem of people.

God is the one who “opens” a person’s heart so that they can see their need of salvation. This was the case in the book of Acts when Paul ministered to a crowd with a certain lady named Lydia. Read what God did in this woman’s heart:

  • Acts 16:14 – “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”  [34]

God is the One who opens people’s hearts. He alone can do the spiritual heart surgery required on the ailing heart of sinful people. Paul was inspired to write in this regard:

  • 2 Corinthians 4:6 – “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  [35]

The Bible tells us that God is able to do an actual heart transplant so that when we turn to Him through faith in Jesus, He gives us a new heart that is established and steady in Him. Read what the Bible says:

  • Ezekiel 11:19 - “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,”  [36]
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 – “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”  [37]

All we need do to have this heart transplant done by God in us is to give Him our hearts.

Give God Your Heart

When Jesus was asked about the most important commandment of God He identified the one calling for the giving of the entire heart to God. Jesus said this in a conversation with a rich young ruler:

  • Matthew 22:36-38 - “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 “This is the first and great commandment.”  [38]

Humankind has a fatal heart condition that will lead to eternal spiritual death unless it is treated. God alone can treat the sinful heart. That is why salvation aims at the heart. The Bible states this in the following verses:

  • Romans 10:9-10 – “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  [39]

Once saved, the believer follows God with their hearts as the Bible states:

  • Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  [40]

God wants our hearts.

How Do We Avoid The Sin of Traditionalism?

We have seen the futility and impotence of traditionalism. Many have been sidetracked in their faith by giving to much attention and authority to the traditions of men rather than to the word of God. How do we avoid the sin of traditionalism? Very simply, we avoid the sin of traditionalism by standing on the word of God alone.

 

Nowhere in Scripture are we told to rely on human tradition for guidance. God has given us His inspired word to guide and build us up in our faith. God’s word is sufficient, we don’t need to add to it! Therefore the following practical actions will help us avoid the sin of traditionalism.

 

First, receive God’s word, as it is, GOD’S WORD! When the apostle Paul was inspired to write to the Thessalonians he complimented them on their spiritual growth. What was the secret of the spiritual maturity in this relatively young church body? It was that they received God’s word as God’s word. Read what Paul was inspired to write:

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10; 2:13 – “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. . . . 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”  [41]

You can’t approach God’s word like a daily newspaper. God’s word is more than a novel or history book. The Bible is not a compilation of stories or just another book. No, THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD, FROM HIS HEART TO OUR HEART. The first step in growing in your faith and avoiding traditionalism is to value, appreciate, cherish, hunger after, and treasure God’s word in your heart. When you do that, you will have a built in safeguard against not only traditionalism, but also every other aberrant teaching that is in the world.

 

Have you ever received a love letter? If so, how did you read it? When I receive a love letter from my bride, I don’t only read it, I meditate on it, I pause and digest each word, I concentrate and take it all in so that I can squeeze all of the love out of it and drink it all in. That’s how you should read God’s word. God’s word is a love letter from God’s heart to our heart. God’s word is to be cherished.

 

Second, put God’s word in your heart. As the Psalmist wrote:

 

  • Psalm 119:11 – “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!”  [42]

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!”  “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!”  “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!”  Think about that verse, repeat it over and over and let the truth of it sink into your heart. That is what it means to hide God’s word in your heart. We need to absorb God’s word in every way possible, read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, eat it, and feast on it. The word in us used by the Spirit has a powerful impact on our lives. No tradition can match that affect.

Third, scrutinize everything and everyone by the standard of God’s word. That is what the Bereans did according to the book of Acts where it states:

  • Acts 17:10-11 – “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”  [43]

We need to be students of God’s word as Paul says to pastor Timothy:

  • 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  [44]

Fourth, regularly scrutinize yourself through the lens of God’s word. It is God’s word that helps us to know the truth about our hearts and where we stand with God, where we need to surrender to Him to work on us. Our heart is deceitful and will at times do everything to hinder the Lord’s work in it (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Our heart has a mind of its own, a will of its own, so to speak. The Bible calls that mind and will of our heart that is selfish and self-centered, the flesh. The Bible states that in our “flesh” there is no good thing:

  • Romans 7:18 – “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”  [45]

Our flesh is lustful (Romans 13:14; Ephesians 2:3). Our flesh works against the Spirit in us (Galatians 5:17). The flesh is the source of many evils (Galatians 5:19-21).  If we live according to our flesh we will corrupt and destroy ourselves (Romans 7:5; Galatians 6:8). The only way to deal with our flesh is to crucify it by the Spirit in us (Galatians 5:24). We need to walk in the Spirit not our flesh (Romans 8:1,4,12,13). God’s word is crucial to our having victory over our flesh.

God’s word is like a scalpel that the Spirit uses to perform spiritual surgery on our hearts. God’s word cuts away the rationalizations, excuses and resistance of our flesh, and lays us bare and naked before God so He can do His transforming work. This truth is conveyed in Hebrews where it states:

  • Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  [46]

God’s word tells the truth about our heart, it cuts away the fogginess and faulty reasoning of our flesh. If we are to grow in the Lord, we must regularly scrutinize ourselves through the lens of God’s word.

Fifth, God’s word is sufficient; we don’t need to supplement it with other “authoritative” works in order for it to be used by God in us to accomplish His will in us. There is nothing wrong with reading things other than the Bible. We may even read tradition from the church fathers. But God’s word must always be the primary and preeminent authority in our spiritual walk. The Bible is to be our authority in our lives. The Bible is from the heart of God and reveals His heart on matters of life, and is therefore sufficient to make us all that God would have us to be.  The Bible tells us this when it states:

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  [47]
  • 2 Peter 1:2-4 – “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  [48]

God’s word is His prescribed tool to work His will in people. God has reveals precious promises in His word and given us ALL we need to please Him in His word. Humans do not have to supplement God’s word with their own brand of wisdom. Take in God’s word in an undiluted manner and He will accomplish all He has promised to accomplish in you.

Conclusion

The importance of relying upon the Bible as ones’ sole spiritual authority over and above of human tradition comes out in this account found in the book Jesus Freaks:

“In the early 1500s, only scholars could read God’s Word. The only legal Bible was in Latin, which most of the common people could not understand. Since they could not read God’s Word for themselves, they had to rely upon what others told them it said.

It was illegal to own an English Bible or even memorize Scripture in English. In fact, in 1519, seven Christians were burned at the stake in Coventry, England, for teaching their children the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments in English!

[An argument ensued between a Doctor of Divinity and the scholar William Tyndale.] Before long, the two men were arguing heatedly. Tyndale quoted Scriptures; the doctor quoted man-made traditions and church rules. Finally, the Doctor of Divinity shouted, ‘It would be better to be without God’s laws than without the Pope’s.’

Tyndale courageously replied, ‘I defy the Pope and all his laws! In fact, if God spares my life, I intend to make it possible for a common farmer, a plowman, to know more of the Scripture than you do!’ . . . .

[Tyndale began working on an English translation of the New Testament.] In 1526, Tyndale’s English New Testament began trickling into England. The Scriptures, now referred to as the ‘pirate edition,’ were made smaller than conventional books. This size was easier to smuggle into bales of cotton and containers of wheat being shipped into England.

As copies poured into England, they were eagerly bought and read by all sorts of ordinary people, who often sat up all night reading them or hearing them read. When the Bishop of London discovered the New Testaments, he bought as many as he could on the black market, paying full price for them. He declared, ‘I intend to burn and destroy them all.’ The merchant who had smuggled them into England gave the money to Tyndale, who then printed three times as many in a revised version. The Bishop of London had unknowingly become Tyndale’s foremost financial supporter! . . . .

Within the next ten years, Tyndale’s New Testament was widely distributed throughout England. Bible truths were now available to everyone, and many people discovered they could have a personal relationship with God based on His Word. At the same time, anyone caught with this illegal book faced severe persecution. Prisons were overflowing and thousands of Christians were executed. Weekly, reports of the persecutions would come to Tyndale, who remained in exile in Europe and continued his translation of the Old Testament. Two of Tyndale’s close friends were burned at the stake. Even church officials, once persecutors, became martyrs after finding the truth in Tyndale’s work.

[Tyndale was eventually abducted when a friend betrayed him.] Tyndale spent the next eighteen months in prison near Brussels, Belgium. With the help of Miles Coverdale, he was able to complete part of the Old Testament. During his stay in prison, his powerful preaching and the sincerity of his life greatly influenced those around him. The jailer, the jailer’s daughter, and others of his household accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior.

On October 6, 1536, Tyndale was taken from his dungeon and strangled. Then his body was burned. His last words were a fervent prayer: ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!’

God honored Tyndale’s prayer. Within three years, the King of England gave instructions that a copy of the “Great Bible’ completed by Tyndale’s co-worker, Coverdale, including Tyndale’s New Testament, be placed in every church in England!

Tyndale’s translation was so accurate that 75 years later, when the King James Version of the Bible was published, it was based largely upon Tyndale’s work. In fact, about 90 percent of the words remain exactly as he wrote them!” [49]

Disciple, know the trouble with traditionalism and rely solely on God’s word for direction and edification in your faith. There may be trouble with tradition, but there is truth in God’s word, and if you take it into your heart, it will transform you.

 

 

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2] David Hl. Stern Jewish New Testament Commentary, Calrksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Pubs., Inc., 1996) p. 92.

[3] Jon Courson, Tree of Life Bible Commentary – Matthew  Vol. 2 – 14-28,( Jacksonville, OR: Tree of Life Publishing, 1993) p. 27.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14] Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, (Chicago IL:Moody Press,1968) p. 136-147).

[15] Geisler and Nix, Ibid. p. 161, 192,194

[16] Ibid. p. 146

 

[17] Marvin L. Galbreath, 20 Centuries of Christianity, Light and Life Press: Winona Lake, IN., 1970,. p14

[18] Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, Academe Books : Grand Rapids, MI., 1981, p. 124.

[19] Ibid., Cairns, p. 124.

[20] Raul Ries, Ibid., p. 57

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23] Rev. Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, Loizeau Brothers,:Neptune, N.J. , 1916, pgs. 225-256.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25] Jon Courson, Ibid.

[26] Raul Ries, Ibid., pgs. 58, 75-76

[27] Pastor Joe Focht, Straight From the Heart,  Tape #1537 Revelation 2:12-17

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[38]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[39]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[41]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[44]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[48]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[49] DC Talk and Voice of the Martyrs, Jesus Freaks, (Tulsa, OK: Albury Pub. 1999) p. 210-213.