A few years ago when I retired, I made it my goal to find out what God’s word really says so I started to learn Greek, the language that the New Testament was written in and also the language that the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into, in the third century before Christ. That has been an eye opener. The preconceptions of translators are plain to see.
I’m no longer a member of any denomination so I feel free to challenge traditions without being disloyal to anyone. Many years ago I visited a proselytizing Roman Catholic priest in Hull where I lived at the time. We would discuss Bible passages and he would say, ” The Bible does say that but the church teaches — ”
Those words have haunted me and call for a choice to be made. If the Bible was God’s inspired word then it must still be so. Tradition is the alternative and it turns out to be like a trump card. Theologians read desperately between the lines to justify their traditional beliefs and turn a blind eye to what is actually written on the lines.
Jesus said the Pharisees made void God’s law with their traditions and they made these traditions into supposed commands of God. But which will God judge us by?
Because of my rejection of the trinity doctrine and much of the heaven and hell myths, someone suggested I should be a Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do agree with some of their teachings and I recall them being some of the first to be got rid of by the devil inspired Nazis – -ordinary Christians were not much of a threat.
But how could I renounce my conversion at age 17 in the Whitley Bay Salvation Army hall or being filled with the Spirit a couple of years later in the living room of a God fearing Pentecostal woman in Crawcrook, Co Durham? There are lots we don’t agree on.
I don’t think the JWs have a Pentecostal division and I have grown to distrust top down organisations that try to make everyone a carbon copy of some great leader and dictate what they should believe.
Paul told us to be convinced in our own minds and although he was an apostle he didn’t lord it over them about which days to keep special or which foods to eat. He had his own firm convictions but said it was up to us to decide for ourselves what is right and that we can do it in faith.
But tradition rarely tolerates another view, no matter how well it is grounded. In fact it turns out to be a web that takes away your freedom to believe all of God’s word and the one who has spun the web will eventually claim his prize.