Regarding the Traditions You Were Taught

The Amish Papers - Chapter 13

This short article is one I wrote for my hundreds of Amish-background Facebook friends, posted on November 23, 2022. I addressed a common mis-handling of Scripture that Amish bishops and ministers often use to attempt to persuade wayward, born-again Amish people to “return to the fold.”

When your still-Amish relatives, friends, bishops and ministers tell you that Bible says that you should “hold to the traditions that you were taught” (2 Thes. 2:15), it might be good to gently remind them that Paul wasn’t referring to various traditions handed down to children by parents and grandparents. Rather, he was talking about traditions He handed down to the Thessalonian Christians. Here is what he actually wrote: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught, whether by word of mouth or my letter from us” (2 Thes. 2:15, emphasis added). He similarly wrote to the Corinthian Christians, “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2, emphasis added). Both 2 Thes. 2:15 and 1 Cor. 11:2 have nothing to do with parental or grand parental traditions.

And who handed down to Paul those traditions of which he wrote? It wasn’t his parents. Paul’s traditions had been handed down to him by the Holy Spirit, and he recorded those traditions in his letters to the New Testament churches.

So, if you are following the New Testament, you are following the traditions Paul wrote about in 2 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians. In contrast, those who ARE following traditions handed down to them by their parents and grandparents that contradict the New Testament, are not following the traditions Paul wrote about in 2 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians.

And if still-Amish friends and relatives tell you that you aren’t “honoring your parents” if you reject any of their traditions, you might gently remind them that God struck Paul down on the road to Damascus, in a sense, because he was following the tradition of his parents and grandparents! From then on, Paul certainly rejected the traditions of his parents and grandparents that contradicted God’s truth. Jesus became his Lord, and so he listened to and obeyed Him, the One who said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37).

Rejecting the unbiblical traditions of your parents and grandparents is not a sin; it is an act of repentance.