The "Traditional" Point of View

Harold E. Turner

It may just be my imagination (naturally I don't think so) that all of a sudden the word "traditional" has taken on an air of something sinister or at least something for sure suspect.

If you happen to be running around the country preaching and teaching the "traditional" about a matter, you had better get back to the office, the dictionaries and brother Warren's rules of logic. And until the time you can cipher sufficiently to come up with a new or novel way of getting the job done, it might be best for you to stay home.

If you should be one of those fellows who preaches that if a person puts his mate away for some reason other than unfaithfulness and marries another he becomes an adulterer, then shame on you for you have fallen into the old trap of "traditional" (oh, me) teaching, and having thus fallen, you should be ashamed of yourself and seek to be more original in your approach. For after all, if it takes 55 dictionaries, the help of Solomon and 13 professors from the University of Lebanon, then we're really whizzing along, and the new and novel approach that might be forthcoming from such is to be viewed immediately as the preferred thing.

Never mind the fact that a thing just might be ' traditional" because it is so, and never mind the fact that if anything should be suspect (at least for a while) it is the novel and something that takes four days to explain when the Lord did it in one verse.

I find myself almost wishing (I said almost) that the view that anything that is not specifically condemned on the day of Pentecost is fine and allowable would just go ahead and become that "traditional" point of view, because it would then become automatically suspect, and we might just be able then to deal with it.

If that view is true and solid (after all, it doesn't belong in that trashy "traditional" bucket) then we can beat our wives half to death anytime we choose, cheat on our taxes at will, crook up our business endeavors to whatever extent we desire to do so consistent with Christ. Wouldn't you reckon there was at least one crooked business man in the three thousand? Yet not one word of condemnation in Acts 2. And, of course, this is to say nothing of "alternate lifestyles" that to my knowledge were not mentioned in Acts 2 either.

If this line of thinking can ever reach the "traditional" class of things then woe be to it, for just the reminder now and again that that's what it is will surely do it in, or at least will cast a dark ominous cloud over that ole traditional stuff.

And need we discuss other matters? Be honest now, how many of you fellows are still preaching baptism as unto salvation? Is that pretty much "traditional" or what? And don't you think it might be a good thing to start giving more thought to the dead man under the tree down by the creek? After all, that view is a little more novel insofar as our brethren are concerned, and to emphasize that the intent is probably sufficient to get the job done (including all the ramifications and implications of that) would tend to be considerable more non-traditional than to just run around preaching Mark 16:16, don't you think?

Personally, I don't give two hoots about "traditional" or non-traditional in the whole thing, and would like to make an appeal to anyone who might be feeling the pressure of the non-traditional use of the word "traditional" these days. Don't be too quick to apologize for preaching and teaching that which has characteristically been taught, for there is at least an outside chance that the reason that bit of teaching is "traditional" is because it is so. (Reprinted from The Preceptor, April 1992.)

Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 17, p. 516
September 3, 1992