The traditions of men cause people to turn away from the word of God. There are a number of passages which forbid us from adding to or taking away the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19). Several other passages tell us to “turn not from it to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32; 17:20; Joshua 1:7; 23:6).
Jesus enumerated three consequences in Mark 7:1-23 which people did to the word of God just to keep their traditions: First, they laid aside the commands of God (vs. 8). Second, they rejected the commands of God (vs. 9). Third, they made void the commands of God (vs. 13). Given the gravity of the situation, would you want to believe in and follow the commandments of men?
Because of the importance of avoiding the traditions of men, you need to know more about them. To that end, the following list is provided; however, it is impossible to give an exact date for the beginning of some new teaching or practice, since many changes came gradually. The parenthesis denotes the fact that the exact date is not known. The list was collated from lists by Boettner’s book entitled “Roman Catholicism,” Reece’s “Chart Of Chuch History” and a chart on the history of the church released by “The Voice Of Evangelism.”
- 135: Modern theory of “Holy Ghost baptism” began.
- 135: Prophets, visions, seasons of ecstasy.
- 135: Doctrine of premillennialism began.
- 150: “Infant baptism” first advocated.
- (225): Elevation of the “clergy” over members.
- 251: Pouring or sprinkling substituted for baptism.
- (300): Prayers for the dead.
- (300): Making the sign of the cross.
- 320: Wax candles
- 325: Nicene Creed established.
- 375: Veneration of angels and dead saints.
- 375: Use of images
- 394: The Mass as a daily celebration
- 400: Total hereditary depravity.
- 400: Salvation by faith alone through grace.
- 400: Once saved, always saved.
- 400: Necessity of “infant baptism.”
- 400: Unconditional election and reprobation.
- 431: The term “Mother of God” first applied to Mary.
- 500: Priests began to dress differently from “laymen.”
- 528: Extreme unction (“last rites”).
- 538: Priests say Mass facing East.
- 552: Apostolic succession in the Eastern Church.
- (552): Apostolic succession in the Western Church.
- 590: The papacy (office of “Pope”) begins.
- 593: The doctrine of purgatory established by “Pope” Gregory I.
- 600: Latin language for worship imposed by “Pope” Gregory I.
- 600: Prayers dedicated to Mary, dead saints and angels.
- 600: Instrumental music in worship introduced but opposed.
- 606: Title of “Pope” given to Boniface III by emperor Phocas.
- 709: Kissing the “Pope’s” foot began with “Pope” Constantine.
- 750: Temporal power of “Popes” given by Pepin, King of France.
- 786: Worship of the cross, images, and relics authorized.
- 796: Incense ordered into use.
- 850: Holy water, mixed with salt, and blessed by a priest.
- (869): Communion in only one kind in the Latin Church.
- 927: College of Cardinals established.
- 933: Invocation of saints.
- 995: Canonization of dead saints by the “Pope.”
- 998: Fish-eating, Lent and Good Friday.
- 998: Fasting on Fridays and during Lent.
- 1022: Penance instituted.
- 1079: Celibacy of the priesthood decreed by Gregory VI.
- 1079: The Rosary began by Peter the Hermit.
- 1190: Sale of indulgences.
- 1215: Mass declared a sacrifice of Christ.
- 1215: Transubstantiation proclaimed by Innocent III.
- 1215: Auricular confession of sins to priests began by Lateran Council.
- 1217: Elevation of “Host” (the bread).
- 1220: Adoration of the bread decreed by Honorius III.
- 1229: Bible forbidden to “laymen” and placed on the index of forbidden books by Council of Valencia.
- 1230: Bell ringing at Mass.
- 1268: Priestly power of absolution of sins began.
- 1311: Pouring officially substituted for baptism.
- 1362: Triple-crown tiara first worn by “Pope.”
- 1414: The cup is forbidden to the people at communion (Constance).
- 1438: Purgatory proclaimed as a dogma (Florence).
- 1439: Doctrine of the Seven Sacraments affirmed.
- 1495: Papal control of marriage rights.
- 1545: Tradition declared of equal authority with the Bible (Trent).
- 1546: Justification by human works of merit.
- 1546: Mass universally said in Latin.
- 1546: Apocryphal books added to the Bible (Trent).
- 1546: Papal interpretation declared authoritative.
- 1547: Confirmation begun.
- 1831: Use of the mourner’s bench began.
- 1854: Immaculate Conception of Mary.
- 1870: Infallibility of “Pope” affirmed by Vatican Council.
- 1930: Public schools condemned by “Pope” Pius XI.
- 1950: Bodily Assumption of Mary proclaimed by Pius XII.
- 1973: Infallibility of the “Pope” reaffirmed by Vatican ruling.
Matthew 15:8-9 says, “These people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Men cross a serious bridge when they change the word of God! Let us never do it and encourage others as best we can to turn away from these false additions.