While the church desperately needs to recognize the distinction between our doctrines and our man-made traditions, we also need to fight the urge to dismiss all traditions as irrelevant and out-of-date. The man-made traditions of yesterday have an extremely important role to play in the church today. We just need to recognize – and respect – them for what they are.

Here’s why we should respect our man-made traditions…

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I absolutely love Thanksgiving! I love spending time with family, I love the idea of setting aside a day to be particularly thankful, and I love the food. I could eat turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce all year round. But recently, I got to thinking, “Is a feast really the best way to give thanks? Are we really honoring God by having a great big feast?”

Here are some thoughts on that…

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Is the church you attend, “of Christ”? The sign may say you are “of Christ,” but are you? Does the leadership structure (i.e. elders, deacons, preachers) make a you “of Christ”? Does the absence of mechanical instruments make you “of Christ”? Does the fact that you fully immerse in water, those desiring to be saved, make you “of Christ”? What is the very best way to tell if a church is “of Christ”?

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Before you read a book – or a collection of books like the New Testament – you ought to have a sense of what you’re reading. If you’re reading a novel, you should know that. If you’re reading a historical biography, you should know that. In the case of the New Testament, I’m afraid many of us don’t understand what we’re reading when we read it. So here’s a little information that might be helpful.

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When we sit down to play a game that we’ve never played before, we ask, “So, what are the rules?” People often think of Christianity in the same way. They want to know, “What are the rules?” I must admit, I struggle with this myself. But I’m beginning to see how destructive it is to think of Christianity primarily in terms of rule-keeping.

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We often treat the Bible like a reference book, rather than a collection of 66 books that reveal one unified story. With a reference book – like a dictionary – you can pull a quotation from the middle of the book, without any concern for the context. But you cannot do that with the Bible. Sadly, we often string together a series of biblical quotations – without any concern for the context – to try and prove a point. The worst might be when we use this method to quickly convince people of the necessity of baptism.

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When a congregation starts the process of appointing new elders, the preacher usually preaches a lesson or two about the qualifications of elders. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are usually the two texts on which the preacher focuses. But I think we are missing some qualifications that are much more fundamental. Just because a man is not a drunkard and is the husband of one wife, does not make him qualified to serve as a shepherd in the Lord’s church.

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What you post online reveals a lot about your thinking. Whether your post is angry, passive-aggressive, political, religious, personal, or news-oriented, you’re probably sharing it because you’re thinking about it. Here are 8 questions we all need to ask before we post something online.

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Yesterday’s blog post, “Christian Men Should Wear Suits and Ties to Worship” was met with some interesting dialogue. I’m afraid some people missed the whole point of the post. The post was not to promote the wearing of “casual” clothes to worship. The point of the post was to illustrate one area in which we tend to use our personal opinions as a standard for judging our brethren. And this kind of judging has got to stop.

So here is a little reminder about what Christians should do with their opinions.

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Every time I see an old photograph of a professional baseball game, it amazes me that most of the male spectators were wearing suits and ties. Obviously, those days are long gone. In fact, suits and ties are becoming less and less common in many settings. On occasions like weddings, funerals, and worship services there are far less suits and ties than there used to be. This may or may not say something about our culture. But when it comes to the worship assembly, some brethren look at this situation and say, “This is a sign of disrespect. Christian men should wear suits and ties to worship.”

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