A Question I Was Asked:

Surely We Should Reject All Church Traditions in Favour of Experience and Revelation?

Surely we should reject all church traditions in favour of experience and revelation?

UK Apologetics Reply:

My first thought is that I get very worried when believers talk about the importance of "experience and revelation" when the revelation which we certainly already have is within the Bible. Secondly, a thing labelled "experience" is too vague, it varies from person to person, you cannot base anything solid upon that.

Look, I have no doubt that my questioner is sincere but if you will be a true believer and a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ you cannot "reject all church traditions." To do so could only lead one into heresy and - mark this carefully - it has already happened in the past.

Let me explain: will we accept that - over the ages - the church has been made up of some sincere, God-fearing and truly Spirit-led men and women? We have to accept that. If we don't accept it we are saying that conversion and sanctification are meaningless, but they are not. Yes, I know that some dreadful liberals and extreme charismatics have often infiltrated the institutional body of the church, yes they have even taken over local congregations. In other cases an overly ritualised approach has taken hold. Yet - despite everything - outstanding Christians are still to be found everywhere. When I preached a lot and even got 'booked' into places which had obviously been very affected by liberal teachings I noted that, even in most of those places, there were a few truly committed Christians present.

Church Traditions

I have to ask which "church traditions" one means here. Excessive rituals, yes, I agree; certain denominations are especially guilty here. Some of these places even have newer traditions such as that of the incredibly short sermon, sometimes even eight minutes in certain Church of England congregations, and often even much of that eight minutes is pure politically-correct liberalism with no 'meat' being available. Yet other things are not mere traditions. I am alarmed, for example, that so many evangelical churches no longer go through at least one of the great Christian creeds during a typical service. Christians need to occasionally go through the Apostles Creed; why are we all gathered here? What do we all believe? The reading of these things reminds us; they are vital. I don't even say every single week, but quite often.

The Holy Trinity

I recently heard of one man who described the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as "just a tradition," but it is not, it is rightly considered one of the foundational doctrines of real Christianity. It was adopted for solid biblical reasons to guard against heresy. The Holy Bible obviously - on various occasions - describes God the Father as God, on other occasions it describes the Holy Spirit as God, and we all know that divinity is ascribed to Jesus; because this is a somewhat difficult area, the church fathers (quite rightly) could see that various false teachers would attack it and pervert it, so the Trinity doctrine was formulated to protect the Bible teaching - very simple. They were, of course, proven to be perfectly correct, most Bible-related cults and sects do indeed attack this teaching. It is not 'just a tradition,' it is about whether we believe the Bible or are too ready to simply go off and start putting our own ideas into the Bible.


Again, communion is most vital; Christians must be communion-keepers based on such Scriptures as Matthew 26:6-29 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-32. It is not an option, one should be involved at least once per month. Yes, this could be called a 'tradition,' but it is vital to Christianity. If one never takes communion one is saying, 'I don't want or need a relationship with Jesus Christ.'

So one can never say, I reject all tradition of the church in favour of 'experience and revelation.' What or which experiences? Be careful of 'experiences,' they have led people astray, and the vital revelation is within the pages of the Bible; there is no additional revelation at the present time. Hundreds of false teachers have come along and said, 'yes there is additional revelation and I have it!' Don't listen to them!

I have gone back to my questioner to ask him to more carefully define what he is referring to in using such terms as 'church tradition' 'experiences' and 'revelation.'

Robin A. Brace. May 5th, 2017.