"Their teachings are but rules taught by Men." (Matthew 15:9)
"All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped unto every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Scripture is God breathed, and is quite sufficient to complete and equip the man or
woman of God for holiness and obedience. Any exegesis, tradition or work (Jewish, Catholic, Protestant) of the bible can be
used to illustrate passages in the bible, but not to change obvious meanings, add burdens, create new questionable doctrines
from hard to understand or vague scriptures or seen on an equal or higher level than scripture. (2 Peter 3:15,16)
The age old arguments from supplementalists is that this scripture in 2 Timothy is referring
to OT scripture and that we need more than what is necessary.
First, Paul is talking about OT scripture as well but also recognizes that what
he is writing/grapho/scripture are the words of God.
Next, other works are beneficial such as commentaries but the problem arises when we
elevate these works to the level of scripture, as Catholics and Mormons do.
The potentially errant should always be judged by the inerrant, and also the questionable,
vague or later additions should be tested by the already established clear and concise Word of God (scripture)
This is how you test every groups claims.
If you didn't do this every cult out there would be just as legitimate as the other.
If the perpetual virginity of Mary, her assumption into heaven, immaculate conception,
her mediatorship, advocacy, status as Queen of Heaven, her sinlessness, salvation by grace through faith plus the sacraments
and baptism cannot be found in scripture (the established truth), then it needs to be tested by the already established truth.
Of course any group out there needs to be tested by these same standards.
Jesus doesn't just condemn traditions that contradict the word of God but tradition
that overloads the faithful.
"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders;
but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." (Matthew 23)
Jesus does say do as they say but not as they do but the apostle Paul after the death
and resurrection of Christ condemns to hell anyone that teaches another gospel, spirit or Jesus that is not taught in scripture.
(Galatians 1:8,9; 2 Corinthians 11)
The Catholic church places such doctrines as the immaculate conception of Mary, her
assumption into heaven, infant baptism and purgatory on an equal level with the other doctrines that are actually and clearly
taught in scripture. There is no scriptural evidence implicit or explicit for these doctrines.
Repentance and faith in Jesus resulting in salvation must precede baptism, according
to the Bible order and infants cannot do this. This kind of extrabiblical nonsense occurs when people put commentaries and
the tradition on an equal level with scripture.
Listen to the Catholic church's commentary on commentary.
"As a result the church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is
entrusted, 'does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition
must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, pg 26, DV9)
Can you see how dangerous it is to entrust the interpretation of scripture to those
who place tradition or extrabiblical commentary on an equal par with the bible, whether they be Catholics, Jews or anyone
else for that matter. This also takes away the individual's responsibility of trusting the Holy Spirit and study for illumination.
"Their teachings are but rules taught by Men." (Matthew 15:9)
This verse was originally intended for the Religious Rabbinic Jews of Jesus' day but
there is an obvious application for today as well.
Being skeptical of information from sources other than the Bible is appropriate for
the Bible believing Christian. Why do I talk about this group, and is this not divisive?
This group (Catholics) speak of their desire for unity, but it is a unity with their
church. Their idea of unity is really assimilation because 'Resistance if futile' Non Catholics are sometimes referred to
as the separated brethren. I will be giving my two pennies worth on more than the Catholic church.
I also am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater either. The Catholic church has
been phenomenal in resisting abortion and Homosexuality.
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the
message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured
out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God...So he ordered that they be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ...the Holy Spirit came on all. (Acts 10:44-48)
God astonished these Jewish believers in Acts that all he required for salvation and
filling of the Holy Spirit, of these Gentile believers was faith in Jesus.
I am sure some of the Jewish believers above wanted to respond with something similar
to what their modern counterparts have said here, "If anyone says that faith which justifies is nothing else but trust in
divine mercy, which pardons sin because because of Christ: or that it is that trust alone by which we are justified: let him
be anathema" (Catholic Council of Trent)
But if God says A and you will be saved and then later someone comes along and
says that you must A and do B and C, then they have obviously perverted what God has said.
Anyone that wants to go to what Peter said to the Jews for salvation, is not recognizing
the special wisdom given to Paul (2 Peter 3:15,16) and are not recognizing Paul's gospel (Romans 16:25), and Paul condemns
those that don't recognize the 'gospel which we (Paul and Barnabas) have preached.
Anathema means, doomed to eternal punishment.
More on the Catholic Jewish connection later.
Tradition does not always conflict with truth but it certainly should not be put on
an equal par with scripture. (The bible), whether it conflicts or not. When people are too dependent on sources, other than
the Bible for spiritual instruction, it makes them captive to these sources.
"Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees which were of Jerusalem, saying, 'Why do thy
disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.' But he answered and
said unto them, 'Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?"... (Mark 7; Matthew 15)
Then Jesus goes on to give even yet another example of tradition conflicting
with the commandments of God.
But let's go to the washing of the hands question. Many wash their hands before
they eat, and for obvious reasons. The washing that the Pharisees were talking about were also for religious reasons. This
is what the Talmud says about washing the hands:
The Talmud contains many centuries of Jewish oral tradition that was finally written
The Pharisees warned of finally writing the oral tradition down and then they did just
Washing the Hands upon Waking
From the book, 'The Talmud For Today' which is a compilation of quotations from the
R. means Rabbi.
"252. R. Muna used to say that a hand that touches any part of the body [without being
washed upon waking] deserves to be cut off. [hand makes the eye blind and the ear deaf, and it causes a polyp. The hands remain
in a dangerous condition until they are washed.] Sabbath" 108b Feinsilver Rabbi, pg. 86,87
Washing the Hands Before Eating
"253. R. Avira said, at times in the name of R. Ammi and at times in the name of R.
Assi, Whoever eats bread without previously washing his hands is like one who has intercourse with a harlot. Sotah,4b-Ibid"
Yikes! How would he know this? Do you think this Rabbi has a flair for the dramatic?
The Hands Should Also Be Washed After Eating
"255. R. Judah said in the name of Rab, in comment upon the words Lev.
11:44 'Sanctify yourselves therefore and be ye holy, Sanctify yourselves means washing
the hands before the meal, and be ye holy means washing them after the meal.', 53b" This was a real surprise to me. I never
thought that when God said to be holy, that what he really meant was to wash ones hands after a meal. Thank goodness we have
such insightful teachers (or is it incite full). So the more meals I eat, and wash afterwards the holier I become.
256. R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in the name of Rab one. "When washing the hands before a
meal, one should hold his hands up. But when washing the hands after a meal, one should keep his hands down.' We are simlarily
taught in a baraitha that whoever washes his hands before a meal should lift them up so that the water should not flow back
on his hands causing the hands to become unclean."
The reason I have used all these quotations rather than summing them up, is to show
the Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), that these Rabbi's are encouraging on such things as washing hands. this is similar
to what Jesus described as, 'straining at gnats and swallowing camels.' Is it any wonder that Jesus said, They tie up heavy
loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them." Some of the religious
ones have probably helped in creating many neurotics that will actually follow these guidelines. In today's society this is
called OCD. this is doing things like checking doors excessively, and washing hands excessively. They have told me that I
have this problem. Excessively checking doors and windows are my specialty.
Back to the washing of hands, Jesus says, "What goes into a man's mouth does not make
him 'unclean', but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean." (Matthew 15:11.) Evil speaking, coarse jesting,
etc are what makes a man unclean, but it is out of the heart that these things are spoken. The word Pharisee means, 'separtist'-one
that separates himself. the Pharisees were instrumental in putting Jesus on the cross and clearly demonstrated that they needed
forgiveness along with the Gentiles (Romans 11:32)
Some have said that the bible is vague and hard to understand so we need commentary
and expert opinions to clarify it. Commentaries are good for illustrative purposes or striking arguments . Still, they are
never to be seen on an equal level with the bible. In the bible we have a wonderful thing in place. God confirms his truth
in more than one place in scripture. A good example is the gospel accounts. The gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John confirm
"Sacred Tradition and the Bible are not competing revelations"
This what some say, "Sacred Tradition and the Bible are not competing revelations. They
are two ways the Church hands on the gospel. Apostolic teachings such as the Trinity, infant baptism, the inerrancy of the
Bible, purgatory, and Mary's perpetual virginity have been most clearly taught through Tradition, although they are implicitly
present in (and not contrary to) the Bible. the Bible itself tells us to hold fast to Tradition whether it comes to us in
written or oral form" (Pillar of Fire Pillar of Truth-The Catholic Church and God's Plan For You, pg 11)
This is so wrong, and to put teachings such as infant baptism, purgatory, and Mary's
perpetual virginity in the same category as the Trinity, inerrancy of the Bible is abominable. Read what the bible says about
What does the Bible really say about Tradition? (Matthew 15:2,3,6; Mark 7:3,5,8,9,13;Colossians
2:8; 2 Thessalonians; 1 Peter 1:18)
According to these scriptures we are to avoid traditions that contradict the Bible.
(Galatians 1:14;2 Thessalonians 2:15).
The tradition that this group conceived (not immaculately) about Mary,
contradict the scriptures that say, "This righteousness from God comes through faith
in Jesus Christ to all who believe to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory
of God. " (Romans 3) This includes Mary. The only one that is not a sinner is the one who is the saviour. This passage contrasts
the sinner from the saviour.
Nowhere in the bible does it describe Mary as a sinless Mediatrix.
As the bereans tested what Paul and Barnabas had to say with Old Testament scripture,
because it was first, so we must test tradition and the claims of every group out there with what came before and that is
the New Testament scriptures, because they were first. (Acts 17:10,11)
Isn't the Catholic church doing what the Pharisees and Rabbinics were doing in Jesus
The saying that 'everything in the Bible is true, but not everything that is true is
in the bible.' is true, but is it necessary for our spiritual walk?, is it more than the words of men?, does it add burdens
or pervert/add to the simple message?, and does it mesh with scripture?
These are questions that Mormons, Catholics, JW's have to answer.
I personally do not see any differences between the Pharisees of Jesus' day and the
Catholics, Mormons and JW's of today.
BJ Maxwell 05/05/2006