Tradition hands on from one generation to another those things found useful. Tradition doesn’t attempt to suppress new experience or insight. Tradition is a treasury of experience from which we may draw for our benefit. Traditionalism, on the other hand, is rigid and exclusive, insisting on conformity even when no one any longer remembers what value a practice is meant to represent. Tradition is a gift of earlier generations. Traditionalism is narrow and oppressive—not a gift, but an imposition. People’s negative associations with tradition may be based on their revulsion against traditionalism. Traditionalism gives tradition a bad name–unfairly, and unfortunately. Scorn for traditionalism may encourage indifference to precious things we might learn to value from tradition.
—Ronald P. Byars, Christian Worship: Glorifying and Enjoying God, p. 20
The gospel ought never to be entirely at home in any culture. If gospel and culture fit together as easily as hand-in-glove, then the likelihood is that the gospel has capitulated to the values of the culture.… There must always be some tension between gospel and culture. The trick is to tune that tension just right, so that gospel and church can play a transforming role in its host culture. The gospel doesn’t carry with it a culture of its own. It must always find its place in the culture of the time and place. Nevertheless, it always questions the local culture and holds it accountable before the cross.
—Ronald P. Byars, Christian Worship: Glorifying and Enjoying God, 110
I would argue that there is something of vital importance about what we do in the Sunday assembly. The reason it’s important is that it’s in our worship where we do our primary theology. The official compendia of denominational doctrine will not directly influence most people. Most will never do any basic theological study. Many will not even be exposed much to Scripture on their own. The vast majority will learn their theology from their experiences of worship.
—Ronald P. Byars, The Future of Protestant Worship, 73