I like to ask questions like: Can we find evidence of this tradition in Scriputre? But if I can't find an example of the tradition in Scripture, do I conclude it is wrong?
For example. In our family we pray before we eat a meal together. We close our eyes, bow our heads, and say a short prayer of thanks. This is a tradition we both grew up with, and it is a tradition we have continued on. I don't know if this tradition is really rooted in Scripture. But that doesn't mean we need to abandon it.
So why do I care if something is a man made tradition or not. What difference does it make?
I find it gives me the freedom to question if it is the best way of doing something. If something is a tradition that is not commanded or demonstrated in Scripture I think it is worth asking a few questions about it:
- When did we start this tradition?
- Why did we start this tradition?
- Are there better ways of doing things?
- What does the Bible have to say on the topic - if anything?
- Are we OK if some people do things different than us?
Some of these traditions I will continue to support, but others don't make a lot of sense to me now. In some cases I think Scripture shows us alternate ways of doing things. In most of these cases I am OK with other believers continuing with their traditions. But I'd encourage them to consider examining them for themselves.
What do you think. Are there benefits to questioning traditions?