NINE NECESSARY FREEDOMS
To see a
wide-spread movement for Christ, congregations must
enjoy these freedoms from religious traditions
You may use this document as a guide to present these
nine freedoms to a workshop of those who want to see their
congregations and cells reproduce and multiply.
While one of you presents the nine ideas, another of you
can play the role of Mr. Tradition. Mr. Tradition can wear a special
hat or carry a sign with his name written in big words, “MR.
TRADITION”. Mr. Tradition’s role is to object to every main idea that
you will present. You can then answer his objections while others
listen, or, better, you can ask the others to reply to Mr. Tradition.
As you introduce Mr. Tradition to the workshop, you would say something
like this, “Mr. Tradition probably attends your congregation. He is
just about everywhere! Maybe, you are Mr. Tradition.”
Mister Tradition has a reason for denying every one of a church’s
for young congregations to start newer congregations as soon as the
Lord makes it possible. Teachings:
who exercised this freedom include Barnabas and Epaphras.
biblical apostles went, new congregations started and multiplied.
kept new congregation work free from the required use of buildings and
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “Our congregation policies require that for a
congregation to start another congregation, it must first apply to our
regional headquarters for approval, have a certain number of members
and years of maturity, and a substantial budget.”
to obey the commands of Christ and his apostles above and before all
man-made religious rules and traditions. Teachings:
Peter and the
other apostles in Acts 2 taught the members of the first New Testament
congregation to obey Christ from the beginning.
commanded many things, which we can summarize in the seven basic
commands that we see the 3,000 new believers in the first congregation
obeying in Acts 2. They repented and received the Holy Spirit,
confirmed their faith with baptism, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, loved
one another (seen in their fellowship), prayed, gave and made disciples.
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “We must all follow the same policies — those that I
approve. Conformity ensures unity.”
to visit homes of unconverted seekers and new believers to evangelize,
make disciples and worship within their own cultures and families.
include Peter with Cornelius and Jesus when he sent out the seventy.
believed, they immediately went to their families and friends, as in
the case of Levi, Cornelius, Lydia, the Philippian jailer and Crispus.
They kept new
believers in a loving relationship with their kin and social network as
much as possible.
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “Separate new believers immediately from the bad
influence of friends, relatives and culture!”
to baptize new believers without delay and to celebrate the Lord’s
Supper wherever they meet. Teaching:
include Christ and the Jerusalem congregation in Acts 2:38-47.
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “Baptism and the Lord’s supper are performed only by
ordained clergy. Baptismal candidates must first walk on water.”
to serve one another in the Body of Christ as intimate, loving
congregations and cells, using all the gifts that the Holy Spirit has
given to them. (1 Corinthians 14:24-26) Teaching:
include the Corinthians.
Spirit gives to all new believers certain spiritual gifts, so that they
can serve one another.
or deacon has all the spiritual gifts necessary to build up
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “Do all things in decency and order. And the order is
what I say it is! Only educated clergy should lead public meetings.”
to provide pastoral leadership by those who meet the NT qualifications
of elders, with or without salaries. Teaching:
include Paul and Titus.
non-biblical qualifications include theological education, financial
strength, social position, ethnicity, and language. What are some
non-biblical criteria in your tradition?
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “Our congregation’s by-laws require pastors to be
ordained. Our by-laws list 750 requirements that they must meet first.
They must have the specified academic degrees and receive the salary of
to apply any New Testament method of preaching and teaching God’s Word
according to each group’s size and its leaders’ maturity. Teaching:
include the New Testament ‘one another commands’ and Jesus’
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “God has ordained oratorical preaching of the Word for
this age. We need top quality and excellence in the pulpit.”
for those who train shepherds to respond to immediate needs of new
congregations and leaders. Teaching:
a curriculum with a menu that offers options so that new leaders and
mentors can select studies and activities that correspond to each new
congregation’s current needs.
in response to current situations and immediate needs. Paul told Titus
to deal with what was lacking in the new congregations of Crete.
congregations all have different needs.
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “My training program has a standard curriculum and every
student studies the same thing, starting in the same place and
following the same path. What they learn is for some future
to provide regional coordinators who supervise new and congregations
and trainers of shepherds, as Paul instructed Titus (Titus 1:5).
There is no
biblical example of an independent local congregation.
cause of new congregations that fail, is that their leader neither
sought nor received oversight and counsel from a more experienced
Mr. Tradition argues something like this: “We do not want any godless hierarchy or bishops
dictating to the congregations what to believe and do. We hold to the
autonomy of the local church.” Or: “I’m the Bishop named as supervisor of this area, and I
do not want any new coordinators exercising authority in my area of
jurisdiction. Nor have I time to coordinate any new programs! So we
shall continue doing as we do.”