By your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God
(Matthew 15:6, NLT
I love tradition and the old ways of doing things. However, if we are not careful, we can allow tradition to quench the work of the Holy Spirit.
Can you imagine church members protesting an invitation to receive Christ after an evangelistic sermon? Christian History, Volume III, says they did so in 1825. Not only did church members object to an invitation, but so did many of the ministers.
There was a new evangelist in town. Charles Finney had come on to the religious scene in America and by 1825 had become quite popular. He was reaching many Americans with the gospel by implementing what grumbling critics were calling "new measures."
Among these intolerable changes and new measures were: praying for people by name, having an invitation after the sermon, sharing the gospel by visiting in homes, allowing women to pray and testify, holding services on days other than the usual times for worship, and preaching in an informal manner that appealed to those who attended his services. By the way, these services were another outlandish idea he called "revival services."
Finney was perceived as a radical troublemaker, but his "wrong" approach introduced hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to Christ. He became one of the greatest evangelists in history, now widely respected.
Tradition just for the sake of tradition can be a bondage. Change is usually threatening yet its results can often be tremendous. Can you imagine the opposition there would be in Finny's day to the gospel being proclaimed via radio, television and films? Yet God has used these media to bring millions of souls into the Kingdom.
God is our great Creator. He conceived of and created more than 100 billion galaxies and innumerable creatures. Creativity is one of His attributes. He also gives creativity to His servants as they help to fulfill the Great Commission and seek Him for wisdom in performing the task in a changing world.
For example, in 1945 He put the idea of a film on the life of Christ on my heart. Approximately 33 years later, He enabled us to do a full-length movie on the life of our Lord, taken directly from the Gospel of Luke. Since its use began in 1980, there have more than 5.5 billion exposures to the gospel through this film, now seen in 236 countries and translated into over 827 languages. After viewing it, many hundreds of millions have indicated salvation decisions to trust and follow Christ.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.