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We are living in an era which is called the "post-modern world." We can look back in the history of our societies and see a huge acceleration of advancement—especially in the most recent years.

But what about church history? Has the church advanced? Has it changed over the years?

I want us to take a close look at the way we have church and begin to rethink our ways and methods. We rethink them by looking back to what it was like when church first started.

The Reformation Era
Do you know that the way church services are conducted today have only been done this way for about the last 500 years? Revolutionary changes were put in place about the time of the reformation; in other words, major changes began to occur around the time of Martin Luther and John Calvin.

Before this time, the system was pre-established of having one person up front doing most or all of the lecturing—with the people just sitting quietly in the pews. The church meeting was held once each week on the same day; in addition, it began and ended at the same time as well.

We thank God for Luther and Calvin. Their revelation knowledge brought about positive changes in the way Christians conduct and experienced church services. Their influence was important because at that time, there were very few people having church (as we know it today), and even fewer who knew how to conduct a meeting at all.

Can you picture in your mind and spirit how the early church conducted believer's meetings? It makes you wonder...just how much tradition has really creped into the modern church?

According to the English dictionary, tradition is simply a culture or custom that is passed down. Here is what Jesus said about mixing tradition and the church where the power of God resides:
Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing.
(Mark 7:13 TAB)
The Traditions Of Men
One day I was reading this verse and the Lord spoke to me. First, He said this is the reason that most western churches and churches planted elsewhere in the western style don't see the miracles, signs and wonders like they would like to.

Then He gave me an example. He let me see that when ministers go to developing countries and hold crusades and meetings for the people who are hearing the Gospel mostly for the first time—they do see amazing miracles.

However, these early signs and miracles seem to be short-lived. Why? Because the traditions of men are soon established in all of the churches that have been planted. These religious traditions nullify the authority of the Word of God, according to Mark 7, and therefore the miracles and anointing are lost.

Since that time, the Lord has put me on a mission to "nullify the traditions" and get the miracles back into the church.

How do you know if what you are observing or experiencing in church is of God or of man?

Take some time to observe and then make a list of everything you do and see in a church service that is something added by men—and at the same time—something that is not seen as a pattern and principle from the Bible.

I think you will be surprised at just how much "tradition" has been laid as a foundation in some churches.

I am not saying that all tradition is bad. We just can't allow any good tradition to be elevated to a place above the Word of God. Here is what Peter said about tradition:
You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers...."
(1 Peter 1:18 TAB)
The Holy Spirit is the one who leads the church. Because of that fact, you can be assured that everywhere He leads the church will bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. So let's not put the Holy Spirit in a box.

We don't have to do things the same old way all the time. If the Holy Spirit is leading you to do things in a different way, then follow His lead; He may lead you into miracles, signs, and wonders. You may even have a revival!

It has been said this way: "We change with the changing times, but never change to the unchanging principles of God's Word."

Simply living in the post-modern world is not enough. Let's rethink the church, get the Holy Spirit out of the box and advance our churches away from handed-down traditions into the living authority of the Word of God!

Copyright © Jim Harper Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Jim Harper
Web site: Jim Harper Ministries
Jim ministers with an emphasis on teaching and facilitating unity among believers. For many years now his heart has been stirred to serve the Lord abroad with a calling to the Russian-speaking people wherever they may be. Jim has helped many in this people group to know Christ and grow in their relationship with Him. Jim has also worked in the Far East of Russia. There he assisted the Christian churches in the areas of growth and unity by giving counsel conducting seminars and leadership schools.

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