At Good News, we feel that it is very important that we explain to you not only what we do, but why we do what we do.
In this article, I wanted to answer the question, “Is Good News a traditional church?” You may surprised to know that the answer is: “yes and no.” But it all depends on what you mean by the word “traditional.”
Let’s start off by establishing something that is much more fundamental than whether Good News is a traditional church or not. First and foremost, Good News is a biblical church. The Bible is our final authority in all that we do. So, with that as our foundation, let’s look at what the Bible has to say about “traditions.”
In the Bible, the word “tradition” is, at times, used in a positive sense (1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Thess. 2:15 & 3:6) and at other times it is used in a negative sense (Matt 15:3-6 & Mark 7:8-9.)
In the places where the Bible refers to the word tradition positively, it refers to the teaching of the Gospel and how it is handed down from one generation to another. For instance, Paul tells the Thessalonians: “Brothers, stand firm and hold to the tradition [also translated ‘teachings’] that we passed on to you.” In this case, the word tradition refers to a group of people holding on to the historic message of Jesus: He is Lord, died for our sins, and rose again. In this sense, Good News is a traditional church. We hold firmly to the Gospel and believe what the Bible says.
However, in the contexts where the Bible refers to the word tradition negatively, it refers to the practicing of certain ceremonial behaviors that have developed over time. While not all of these “traditions” are wrong, Jesus pointed out that there are occasions when people lose sight of the true word of God because of these kinds of traditions. Here is an example from the book of Mark:
“The Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with unclean hands?’”
Here are two of the things Jesus said in response to them:
“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” and “You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
So, it is in this sense that Good News is NOT traditional. We strive to be careful to not hold on too tightly to certain ceremonial behaviors simply because they have developed over time as typical church behavior. And we will certainly be on guard against any traditions that go against the word of God.