35—on creating a tradition
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
One night, I’m guessing it was about 1975 or 6, I was watching the late news, and I was tired. The news ended, the
show came on, and Johnny started into his monologue. He made a joke about the Four Spiritual Laws. One thing that popped into my head was, “If he can make a joke about that to an unbelieving audience, it’s finished as a useful tool.” Carson
Over time, I realized why. We believers in Jesus need to hold to God’s Word, but any traditions and programs not directly in scripture are, at best, only temporarily useful. At worst, if we act as if a non-scriptural tradition is necessary, it will get in the way of our truly reflecting Jesus to a watching world. In the case of the Four Spiritual Laws, shortly after Explo ’72, Christian bookstores in my area had dump tables filled with groups of 25 packets—there was enough there for a large portion of the city. By 1980, much of the church realized that, if it was an effective method, it wasn’t anymore. Almost any person, believer or not, knew by the gold cover and shape where a discussion was headed. From what I could see, Campus Crusade, who developed the tool, realized the problem in the late 1990’s. This is also a trend among those who wish to make faith into an organization—the people who receive a thing, even if it was of the Holy Spirit originally, tend to miss the next move of the Holy Spirit.
Virtually all traditional church structure is like that. How often do you hear believers discussing whether the walls of a church building are more of a problem than a blessing? How about whether church leaders’ salaries make it more, rather than less, difficult to do the works of a believer effectively? How many churches are prepared if a political change made the organization and payroll disappear by law?
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.” While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better. I comment on that in blip 94.