Church of Christ
at
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4) Matthew 15 - This people. . .
With the Pharisees of then or today, the key issue is "tradition versus tradition," i.e. ours against yours, because we
all have traditions.  Rather, the issue is good traditions as against bad ones, an issue that can be decided by
seeking to know the ORIGIN of the traditions:  "Are they of God, or are they of men?"

Traditionalism must presume that God's will, as He left it for men in the Bible, is deficient, because it does not inform
men about every detail he must know in order to be sure that he has observed God's Law in every detail.

For the traditionalist obedience is totally based upon law, and therefore is not perfectly possible where God has not
legislated every detail whereby the godly may know when they have faithfully, conscientiously and precisely fulfilled
His Law.  It becomes the supposedly essential function of pious scholars to formulate the missing details in order to
supply the supposed deficiency in God's Law.

The essential reason for the existence of these traditions is the attempt to fill the empty spaces, the silence, and the
loop-holes in the Law of God.  However, we also must heed such warnings as Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy
12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18 and following.

The great, damning assumption behind all this kind of thinking is its fundamental criticism of God:  "He did not tell us
all that we believe we need to know."

The Principles of control of what has not been commanded;

Liberty:  "All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify."  (1st Corinthians 6:12; 1st Corinthians 10:23).  What
God has ordered or prohibited we cannot do because our freedom can never be an excuse to disobey Him.  Beyond
what He has expressly forbidden or commanded, "nothing is unclean of itself" (Romans 14:14 and 20).  "To the pure
all things are pure" (Titus 1:15), because "everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is
received with thanksgiving, for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer," (1st Timothy 4:4 and
following, 1st Corinthians 10:26, Mark 7:19).  But make sure that it is within the principles of His law.

Be honest in the application of these rules:  "Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh." (Galatians
5:13).  "Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God," (1st
Peter 2:16).  Shun immorality, idols, etc. (1st Corinthians 6:18; 1st Corinthians 10:14; Romans 3:8).  No dishonest
use of these rules can ever justify sin.  Be careful of the effects on others:  Cause no stumbling (Matthew 18:1-14;
1st Corinthians 8, 1st Corinthians 10:31 and following).

In essentials, UNITY.  In non-essentials, LIBERTY.  In all things, CHARITY.

We must be perfectly united in the essentials, proclaiming with one voice what God has expressly commanded or
forbidden.  We have freedom to choose things that are not matters of faith.  But we must do what we do out of love
and not spite.
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