Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 16, 1967
NUMBER 40, PAGE 8b-9a

Signs Of The Times No. II.

Lloyd Moyer


Traditionalism is an insidious thing. It is defined as "adherence to or importance placed on tradition." Tradition is defined as follows: "The handing down of opinions, doctrines, practices, rites, and customs from father to son, or from ancestors to posterity by oral communication,..." Of all things our Lord condemned while on earth, I suppose "traditions" stood at the top of the list. Note these words, "Howbeit in vain they do worship me teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men..." "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." (Mark 7:7-8,13) The 23rd chapter of Matthew shows plainly how Jesus felt about tradition. The Jews of Jesus' day had become so steeped in tradition that they were rendering VAIN worship to God. Our worship and service to God MUST be authorized in the scriptures (Col. 3:17; John 4:24; Rom. 14:23; 2 John 9) The Jews had so mixed tradition with scripture that they could not tell which was which. It placed them all in a lost condition. (Rom. 10:1-3) Even though they were honest, sincere, zealous and worshipped God; Paul prayed that they might BE SAVED. These passages are enough to show that doing anything in service to God simply because it has been practiced for some time is to lose our soul.

The signs of our times indicate that many brethren are doing things for which there is NO authority in the word of God. They appeal to "tradition" for their authority. TRADITION CANNOT BE USED FOR AUTHORITY IN THINGS SPIRITUAL. Yet, we hear and read, "The church has been doing it ever since I can remember". Or "We have always done it this way". These, and like expressions are forth-coming when we ask brethren to give us authority for churches supporting human benevolent organizations or societies. Or authority for the "sponsoring type" of church cooperation. That is - one church sending money to another church and that church overseeing the preaching of the gospel. Never do we read in the New Testament of one church receiving money from one or many churches and using it to "sponsor" and support a preacher in his work. But we DO read of the support being sent direct to the preacher. (Phil. 4:15-18; 2 Cor. 11:8) Brethren should be satisfied to do things the way God authorizes in His word. It seems that some of God's people have never been happy with God's arrangements. They are constantly seeking out new schemes and devices. Some formed human organizations and seek money from the churches so that societies or organizations can perform the work of the Lord. Then others form organizations (for conveniences and tax purposes) which provide money for churches to do their work. One is just as wrong as the other. BOTH are based on "tradition". Neither has any authority in the word of God.

Any concession on the part of the government to any church is dangerous and is contrary to the teaching of the scriptures. "And he said unto them, render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesars, and unto God the things which be God's." (Luke 20:25) It is my conviction that money in the form of taxes which belongs to the government should be given to the government. Tax exemptions on "church property" has opened the flood gate to "government support" of religious activities. Look at the large operations of the Catholic Church as an example. Recently they were made to pay back taxes on a winery which they operated. It seems inconsistent to me to protest government support of other religious activities, when in reality we have tax-free buildings in which to carry on our religious activities. "A dollar saved, is a dollar made." But when this dollar is saved or made at the expense of the government, we violate Luke 20: 25. We have NOT rendered "to Caesar that which be Caesar's". Another grave danger to the cause of Christ is the practice of some to "incorporate" for tax purposes. To give as the bible teaches, one may take only 30% for income taxes. But a "chartered organization" may be formed and money given to churches is tax free. This places the individual in a lower income bracket and saves him money on income taxes. This is a legal devise, by which the government, indirectly, supports religious activities. So far as I have been able to see, the only way the church, in New Testament days, received money with which to perform her duties was from INDIVIDUALS, NOT FROM ORGANIZATIONS, SOCIETIES, OR INSTITUTIONS. What has been done, or some situation or hypothetical case will not suffice as authority. Please turn to the word of God and find scriptural authority. With this ONLY will I be satisfied as a basis for continued activity in any religious endeavor.