BY DAVID L. FAUSS
Tradition is a word sometimes used in a bad connotation when used with religious terms. Pentecostals usually use this term to describe other churches who rather than obey the Scripture follow tradition that has little to do with the true message of the church. When people tell us we have our set of traditions, our knee-jerk reaction is denial.
However, we do have traditions, and that is not necessarily bad.
Paul admonished the Thessalonians that they should “hold the traditions” that they had been taught (II Thessalonians 2:15). What traditions Paul specifically referred to would be interesting to know. The fact remains that tradition in itself is sometimes good.
A prominent minister once said, “I am not in a branch of Pentecost, I am in the stump.” I feel that we still have many around the United Pentecostal Church that go right back to the stump. The terms “merger, PCI, PA of JC” are still heard frequently in our circles. The people who use them usually have been around for more than a few years and remember the way it was then.
The times have changed much in the church. Some would say too much has changed and others feel that more change is inevitable. One of the most feared aspects of human life is change. It leaves us with an uncertainty toward the future.
My original license to preach dates back to 1971. I am grateful there has not been a drastic change in our basic belief system in that span of time. Some traditions in the Pentecostal church must never change. Traditions that are rooted in the Word of God must remain intact.
It is a tradition for our church to have a separated appearance. Though through the years some things may change, we should never dilute preaching of holiness in our pulpits. Whatever worldliness is in the future, the church should be separated from it.
It is traditional for our services to be lively and joyful occasions. Open and free worship dates back to brush arbor days. This one aspect of the Pentecostal service is probably the most notable to the outsider even in the 1990’s.
It is traditional for Pentecostal preaching to be poignant and convicting. My father tells of hearing my grandfather preach a message when he was a lad that stirred his young heart. The title was “The Conflict of the Ages,” a sermon about the Battle of Armageddon. Peter preached a message on the day of Pentecost that pricked the hearts of the hearers. The cutting edge of the church is the power of conviction in the pulpit. Sinners must be made to feel the need to reach out to God.
In the November 15, 1993, issue of Time Magazine, Evangelist Billy Graham stated he did not believe that Hell was a place of fire, but merely a separation from God. Most of the references about Hell in the Scripture (approximately fifty) include a reference to flames, fire and smoke. In the world of religion it may not be in vogue to preach a literal Hell but it should never be so in Pentecost. Preaching stirred me not to just need something better now, but to escape something much worse in the hereafter. Our desire from the pew should be “Preacher, tell it like it is!”
Does Pentecost have traditions? Sure we do and traditions are not always bad!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY APOSTOLIC ACCENT, OCTOBER 1999, PAGE 7. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.