Whether we live as students, employees, or church leaders, we are often confronted with the question of how will we live and how we will decide how to live. Recently, I read the following suggestion:
We need to be less concerned with the method (traditions) and more concerned with results.
But is that really true?
Our methods determine our results. As we know, ends do not justify the means, and our traditions guide us towards positive results & guard us from negative results. For example, our theological traditions, such as the creeds, guard us against false doctrine and false practice. The process of developing the creeds helped to ensure that we do not overlook or deny the central tenets of our faith.
Unfortunately, we all tend towards one extreme or the other: either (1) ignoring the past successes/failures of others and under-valuing God’s work in the past or (2) viewing the past as infallible and under-valuing God’s work in the present. All of us have traditions (including any meaningful activities that we intentionally repeat); those only become problematic when we see those traditions as equal to or higher than Scripture itself. Our traditions, whether religious or otherwise, should always be critiqued according to the teaching of Scripture.
Scripture is the standard that keeps us from wandering in the lonely wilderness of pragmatism, where our principles are formed in retrospect, if they are formed at all. Although we’ve all been there, pragmatism apart from Scripture is a dangerous place to be.