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Whose Tradition?

Without explanation or clarification, a woman once asked, "Are you a traditional church of Christ?" to which I could only respond, "Whose tradition?"

The traditions of men we reject! The traditions of men cannot bring about salvation: "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19). In fact, human tradition is fraudulent: "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8). It is fraudulent because it detracts from God's commands, as Jesus said, "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition" (Mark 7:8-9).

The traditions of the apostles we affirm! The apostle Paul commanded, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle" (2 Thessalonians 2:15). So important are these traditions that those who neglect or reject them must be shunned: "But we command you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us" (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Paul also said, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). Apostolic tradition is worthy of emulation because of the authority of Christ, who said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me" (John 13:20). Jesus Himself sent the apostles into the world as His witnesses, having given them their power (Acts 1:8).

So, the answer is yes and no. We have no pretension of following the traditions established by men who were not inspired simply because they were in the church before us. Our goal is, however, to imitate the apostles insomuch as they imitated Christ, to observe the traditions recorded in scripture.

— via Sound Doctrine, Volume 2, Number 22