Sunday, February 7, 2010

Protestant Myth Busters :- They believe in Sacred Tradition

I am making a huge assertion with the title of this post, I know, but I sincerely believe it to be true.  I believe that Non-Catholics, Protestants, and Anglicans (hehehe) all believe in Sacred Tradition.  Before continuing, let us define what Sacred Tradition is:

The teachings of Tradition are not written down, but are lived and are handed on by the lives of those who lived according to its teachings, according to the example of Christ and the Apostles (1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15). This perpetual handing on of the teachings of Tradition is called a living Tradition; it is the transmission of the teachings of Tradition from one generation to the next. [1]

In other words, Non-Catholics do not really believe in Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone.  They can't.  It is completely impossible for them to believe that.  I am sure by now you are wondering how I came to this conclusion, so let me tell you...

All Non-Catholic believers say that their authority is in Scripture and in Scripture Alone.  They all believe that the Bible is the inerrant inspired Word of God.  If they really believe that....then someone must have told them.  As far as I know, there is not one infant born into this world that inherently knows that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and the Book of Mormon is not.  No.  Instead, they have had an encounter with someone that they know and trust, and that someone had to tell them that Scripture was the inspired Word of God.  Someone had to "instruct" them that the Bible was the inerrant, God breathed Word of God.  Isn't that instruction the same as Sacred Tradition?  Doesn't that instruction make up part of the Sacred Tradition that has been passed on down through the centuries (about 20 to be exact)?  How is that really any different than Sacred Tradition?  My assertion is that it is not.

Therefore, Non-Catholics do in fact believe in Sacred Tradition and not in Scripture Alone.  What do you think?  Am I on to something, or am I completely off base?  Is my logic sound or no?

God bless...

[1] - Wikipedia :- Sacred Tradition

37 comments:

Willison said...

Right on, Carlus. Good post. Any explanation or emphasis of one part of the Bible or another can become a tradition. "Sacred Tradition" means explanations given to the Church by the Holy Spirit. Those never change. Those are never wrong. "Decisions" that morph into a form of tradition change all the time. We need to be careful which one we follow - but we are all influenced by one or the other.

luke said...

"Solo" scriptura is easily shown illogical, but it maybe takes some more analysis to show Sola Sciptura equally so ... luckily, there's stuff out there already for those so inclined.

http://principiumunitatis.blogspot.com/2009/11/solo-scriptura-sola-scriptura-and.html

Deborah said...

I don't know enough, barely anything actually, about this Tradition to really even give an opinion. Is it considered infallible like the Word of God? Is it incapable of error? unable to mislead and line up with scripture? I guess those would be my first questions.

I have complete confidence in scripture because it is "God-breathed", what the Scriptures say and what God says are the same thing. The person who may tell me about the Bible is far from being infallible, even quoting scripture can quickly take a turn for the worst. What about the Bible would make one consider tradition? Is it incomplete in some way? I think there are a few misconceptions about Sola Scriptura anyway... or at least how I understand it.

To my understanding as well, the Apostolic Fathers from Irenaeus to Theodorat, believed in Sola Scriptura. I'm not sure why we need to add anything to God's Word. For me, it is not so much what I was told to believe about this, as it is the scriptures in the Bible that speak to it.

Deuteronomy 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."

Galatians1:9-10 "...if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."

Deuteronomy 12:32"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it."

Proverbs 30:5-6 "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."

Revelation 22:18-19 "If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

These pretty much tell me that adding anything is not such a good idea....

Carlus Henry said...

Deb,

Is it considered infallible like the Word of God? Is it incapable of error? unable to mislead and line up with scripture?

Sacred Tradition is instruction from God. It is the teachings of God. Scriptures themselves are part of what makes up Sacred Tradition. It is simply the portion of those teachings that was written down. So, yes, it is inerrant in that it is without error, and it is coherent with Scripture in that they both line up and never disagree.

To my understanding as well, the Apostolic Fathers from Irenaeus to Theodorat, believed in Sola Scriptura.

This is not possible. Irenaeus was born and lived prior to the identification of what was Scripture and what was not. He could not base his whole belief system on a book that wasn't completely codified yet. There was not an approved book list of what was the inspired Word of God and what wasn't. Here is a quote from Irenaeus that tells us how he felt regarding Scripture and Tradition (teachings of the Church)

“Those, therefore, who desert the preaching of the Church, call in question the knowledge of the holy presbyters, not taking into consideration of how much greater consequence is a religious man, even in a private station, than a blasphemous and impudent sophist. Now, such are all the heretics, and those who imagine that they have hit upon something more beyond the truth, so that by following those things already mentioned, proceeding on their way variously, in harmoniously, and foolishly, not keeping always to the same opinions with regard to the same things, as blind men are led by the blind, they shall deservedly fall into the ditch of ignorance lying in their path, ever seeking and never finding out the truth. It behooves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and to take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them; but to flee to the Church, and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord's Scriptures." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5,20:2 (A.D. 180).[1]

...I have honestly never heard of Theodorat - however, I am a huge fan of Irenaeus, thanks to the Four Witnesses

[1] - Scripture Catholic

to be continued...

Carlus Henry said...

Deb,

I should have commented more on what Irenaeus says...

It behooves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and to take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them; but to flee to the Church and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord's Scriptures.

What he is saying is that there are a whole of people out there touting to have the truth. Claiming that they are teaching the gospel, but they are in error, since...

Those, therefore, who desert the preaching of the Church

What Irenaeus is warning us against, is those who would leave the Church, thinking that they have discovered some new truths, are not to be followed or trusted. Notice he did not say anything about whether or not these people are scripturally based or not. He said they have left the Church. This of course means that there are those who would claim to be scripturally based, but they have mis-interpreted scriptures since they do not interpret it within the context of the Church...or like you said:

The person who may tell me about the Bible is far from being infallible, even quoting scripture can quickly take a turn for the worst.

I have complete confidence in scripture because it is "God-breathed", what the Scriptures say and what God says are the same thing.

Amen. Surely they are. But how do you know? Someone must have told you. That person was not infallible, however, what they said, the teaching / instruction that they gave you in order to communicate to you that the Scriptures are God-breathed....that was. It is part of the Sacred Tradition.

What about the Bible would make one consider tradition?

2 Thess 2:15
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings[a] we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

Scripture itself points to something outside of the written word. It is pointing to something that encompasses Scripture and more. It is a much wider net than just the written Word of God. It is pointing to the whole complete deposit of faith. This includes both Scripture and Sacred Tradition. (Note: The footnote from the scripture passage [a] is even saying "tradition")

Regarding the scripture passages that you shared with me, think about them with these questions?

1. When the word "word" or "God's word" is mentioned, is it referring to the written word only, or everything that God commands?

2. If it is only referring to the written word, then are we only obliged to following God's instruction, if it is written down?

3. If it is only what is written down that constitutes the Word of God, then why did Paul say this:

1 Thess 2:13
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

...isn't he comparing what he said to be the Word of God and not words of men?

God bless you Deborah, these are excellent questions you are asking.

Deborah said...

Carlus: I'll be back this evening to respond to this... thank you for explaining all of this to me, and have a super day =)

Deborah said...

Carlus, I think I need to find out how tradition came about in the Catholic church, and read more on it before I ask any more. I'm just not clear about how they came about, why the Church adheres to them etc. or if they match up with scripture... So I'm gonna look into it. Thanks!

Carlus Henry said...

Debs,

Carlus, I think I need to find out how tradition came about in the Catholic church, and read more on it before I ask any more.

If I can offer a suggestion, or a challenge in the perspective. Tradition really means "teaching". The "Gospel" / good news of Christ, is really a teaching. It is really tradition - a Sacred Tradition in the context of God. It is God's teachings.

What makes up God's teachings? Scripture of course, but before the codification of the New Testament, Peter, Paul and the other Apostles were spreading the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. They were spreading the Gospel. They were spreading Sacred Tradition.

Don't believe that Sacred Tradition was invented by the Catholic Church. Consider Sacred Tradition to be a part of the Christian Church Community.

Another idea...when it came down to considering which books of the Bible were inspired, and which ones were not, they had to use some kind of measuring stick. They had to identify which books were teaching what is True, and which books were teaching error. One of those tests was to weigh it against what they already knew, or were already taught. They used Sacred Tradition in order to determine which books taught orthodox beliefs, and which ones did not.

I hope this helps on some level. God bless....

Deborah said...

I guess I don't want to sound argumentative, but I'm not on the same page with this. Part of the problem is there are SO many definitions as to what this is.

You quoted 2 Thessalonians 2:15, yet in context I'm not understanding that scripture as you quoted it. Taken in context it says:

"But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle."

In this, Paul had preached the Gospel to the Thessalonians, which they believed... but now he is telling them (in his absence) to hold on to the "traditions" he had passed to them. I'm not sure how to get from here to the perfect transmission of an undefined body of teachings through the succession of bishops.

Even in this scripture we are using two different meanings for the word tradition. To me in Paul's epistle it means that particular doctrine, handed personally by the apostle to the church. To you it is the transmission of God's Word from one generation to another by the Church, if I am understanding correctly)

Although I can not find anywhere where God condemns or commends Sacred Tradition, I'm also not seeing where Paul's "oral" traditions are referring to doctrines other than the Gospel and truth that he is mentioning in the previous verse?

The pharisees censured disciples of Christ because they ignored their venerated tradition of elders. It feels the same to me now when all Christians do not follow the Sacred Tradition of the Church. It's part of the exclusion that happens because people outside of the Church don't submit to it. Just some thoughts, and I really am not trying to be difficult, just understand. Back to looking... =)

Carlus Henry said...

Debs,

No offense taken....you were very civil... :)

Some questions to ponder...

In this, Paul had preached the Gospel to the Thessalonians, which they believed... but now he is telling them (in his absence) to hold on to the "traditions" he had passed to them.

How is this different than oral traditions? Remember, traditions are the same as teachings?

To me in Paul's epistle it means that particular doctrine, handed personally by the apostle to the church.

Yes. What happened after the death of the Apostles? Do you think that everyone was free to believe what they wanted to, or did they use what they were taught in order to distinguish between orthodox beliefs and the current trends? What was the body of evidence during that time, when the entire body of Scripture was not to be defined for at least 250 years later in the 300's? What do we call that body of teaching that existed to help define Scripture?

Although I can not find anywhere where God condemns or commends Sacred Tradition, I'm also not seeing where Paul's "oral" traditions are referring to doctrines other than the Gospel and truth that he is mentioning in the previous verse?

Let's think about this for a moment. Let's say that Paul visited the Church at Corinth, and he finds that they are not following something that he had taught them while he was with them. Let's say that the only excuse that those individuals can come up with for not following that particular teaching is because it wasn't written down in the letters that they received from him? Is the Church at Corinth justified with such a position? Would Paul say, "Oh, that's okay. You are right. I should have wrote that down so you knew that I was serious"?

Just some questions to consider...

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born4battle said...

You might want to start with a correct definition of Sola Scriptura and a major premise that is not badly flawed.

This sounds like you are trying to prop up the Catholic doctrine that gives equal weight to traditions alongside written scripture.

Beginning there, your "Protestant Myth" (in itself insulting to Protestants) is 'busted' my friend.

Carlus Henry said...

Dan...

You might want to start with a correct definition of Sola Scriptura and a major premise that is not badly flawed.

This is so interesting. Especially since there seems to be MANY, different interpretations of what Sola Scriptura really means. Everyone seems to have an opinion on it, but not everyone seems to agree.

When I was a Protestant, there never seemed to be a universal Protestant answer to many questions. I think that the definition of Sola Scriptura would fall into that category.

Regarding giving equal weight to tradition and scripture, you said:
Beginning there, your "Protestant Myth" (in itself insulting to Protestants) is 'busted' my friend.

So you don't believe that when someone told you that the Bible was the inspired Word of God, that they were not speaking the truth? You don't believe that that piece of instruction that they gave you was inspired? You don't believe that it was the Holy Spirit working through that individual to give you some divine truth?

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

As a lifelong Catholic and logic Maven, I fail to see the flaw in Carlus' logic. Please consider this sincerely, as I lack a non-Catholic perspective that you, born4battle and Carlus have.

Since scripture does not come with an index or list of books (Catholic or Protestant) then how can we accept it without some traditional basis? Using scripture itself as the basis for its own inspired existence is a circular argument and also flawed. Some tradition must exist to receive and accept scripture as inspired word.

I accept that scripture is divinely inspired. I also accept that it can not be taken out of context and that part of that context will inevitably involve tradition, in the choice of books, the translation (placing the text accurately within the current language), the cultural, historical perspective (placing the scripture within its original context - not vice versa).

Finally, scripture tells us that tradition is important. "I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you." - 1 Corinthians 11:2. Paul even discusses these traditions and their importance to a Christian life, even those that have changed over the years as a result of our change in cultural perspective. That alone seems a scriptural.

Please re-read the post on Sacred Tradition to understand more fully the Catholic tradition, which must be fully supported and not contradict scripture. Does that place Tradition as equal weight in your estimation?

Deborah said...

Hi Shaz: Hope you don't mind the nickname but I would be consistently mis-spelling your name and BM, well it just didn't sound right. =/

I assume the "you" is me... so

this is my understanding about what the Bible has to say about Tradition... there are actually thirteen references to tradition in the NT, ten of which refer to Jewish tradition. The 1 Corinthians verse you cited is introducing a passage which covers the topic of whether or not someone should cover their head when praying or prophesying. Paul praises the C's for continuing in their practice that he had handed down by his oral teaching..... Before you say "aha".... let me go to the other two uses of "tradition" which are found in Paul's teaching that are both in 2 Thessalonians.... 2:15, in context refers to the aspect of God's second coming. In the original, Paul is calling these "traditions" to stress that they were truths he had received by revelation from the Lord, then had handed them down to Thessalonica. They did NOT originate with him. Since they are from GOD, Paul wanted them to hold onto them. Then look at 3:6.... again in context, some of the Thessalonians were very confused about Christ's return. Paul is telling them to discipline their lives and follow his example, which he handed down to the Thessalonians....so in the last three references I believe it shows that Paul handed down the Christian faith to the early church, by his letters, oral teaching and example. I guess the problem I am having with this is equating these references of Paul's teaching with Roman Catholic Tradition. Paul's teaching was direct apostolic teaching. RC tradition is referring to beliefs and practices that have been transmitted for 2000 years by fallible means.... I don't see the two as equal.

I hope that made sense.

Rita said...

Before there was scripture, there was tradition. If God wanted us to read Scripture alone, why didn't God drop a Bible out of the sky when Jesus ascended into heaven? The answer is he didn't. We had the apostles and sacred Tradition to disseminate the word of Jesus Christ. I like Amy Welborn's explanation of this in her "Prove It! Church" book.

Regardless of anyone's practicing faith, I think we can all agree on the historical fact that the Bible wasn't accessible to the common man until the printing press, made by Johannes Guttenberg in the 15th century.

Thank heaven for Sacred Tradition! Even Protestants can thank Sacred Tradition!

Carlus Henry said...

Deb,

I guess the problem I am having with this is equating these references of Paul's teaching with Roman Catholic Tradition. Paul's teaching was direct apostolic teaching. RC tradition is referring to beliefs and practices that have been transmitted for 2000 years by fallible means.... I don't see the two as equal.

Using the same logic, you would have to conclude that all of Christianity has been passed down for 2000 years by fallible means, therefore, it must not be elevated to the level of Divine Tradition. This would of course include the Holy Bible, since we are basing it off of the word of the Church (which is ironic when you think about it) who say that they have preserved it for 1500 years. If you don't subscribe to that belief (which I know that you don't), then who becomes the arbitrator of truth?

One option would be Self. Which really has no foundation in Scripture or the History of our (yours and mine) faith until 1500A.D..

Another option would be the Church - which Christ seems to allude to throughout scripture. The institution in which He seems to cosign every decision made in heaven - Whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven whatever you Bind on Earth shall be Bound in Heaven. Not only Christ, but the Apostles point to look at the Church as well as the people who the Apostles put in charge.

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Rita,

I cannot believe that you just mentioned the "Prove It:*" book series.

My parish has those, and even though the content seems to be geared more towards the youth, I think that they way that they present truths to be great. I have gained a lot from them.

God bless...

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

Deborah, the nickname Shaz is fine. I apologize for not addressing your comments by name.

In the original, Paul is calling these "traditions" to stress that they were truths he had received by revelation from the Lord, then had handed them down to Thessalonica. They did NOT originate with him. Since they are from GOD, Paul wanted them to hold onto them.

Roman Catholics do not believe their Sacred Traditions (capital T) originate from fallible human sources either. They originate from God by divine revelation. I liked Willison's statement that they are "explanations given to the Church by the Holy Spirit". That is the Catholic stance on Sacred Tradition.

Keep in mind that Catholics have some "little t" traditions that are not considered inspired by the Holy Spirit and come and go or change over time. I am thinking of wearing red on Pentecost, crossing ourselves or saying the rosary.

RC tradition is referring to beliefs and practices that have been transmitted for 2000 years by fallible means.

This is a bare assertion that seems to assume that God reveals himself only to Paul and scripture. Are Catholic Sacred Traditions fallible and not from God only because they are Catholic? Are there no more revelations from God since scripture and Paul?

RKBentley said...

I'm not sure that I agree with the premise that no protestant accepts any kind of church tradition. I believe it would be more correct to say that Scripture takes precedence over tradition.

As a Catholic, do you accept the words of Jesus as written in the Bible? I assume you do. What is your opinion of Matthew 15:3-6?

“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.”

Jesus seems to be saying clearly that when tradition conflicts with Scripture, Scripture wins.

luke said...

In my conversion, I discovered, as a Protestant, I believed in Tradition just as much as any Catholic. Moreover, there is important common Truth found in wider Christian Tradition - Monogamy, the Trinity, etc.

But as a Protestant, I believed that Tradition - the authoritative and Godly kind - was preserved over the ages by the Holy Spirit through the progression of faithful believers. The turning point for me was when a Catholic explained to me that Catholics believe the same thing, with a further understanding that the Holy Spirit uses the Church as a vessel for Tradition.

Protestants deny the Pope or the Catholic Church the very same Holy-Spirit-given authority claimed by each and every Protestant with regard to Tradition.

So the question is not whether or not Sacred Tradition exists - all Christians implicitly or explicitly believe in it. Neither is it an issue of pitting Tradition against Scripture - surely each Christian believes that their extra-Scriptural, Traditional beliefs are consistent with Scripture. Indeed, Scripture itself is defined by Tradition and vice-versa. It's like asking which blade in a pair of scissors 'wins.'

The question is more about *how* God reveals Tradition to believers. When I re-read the Gospels and Acts, it seemed much more likely that Christ created His Church, endowed it with the Holy Spirit, and charged it with protecting and evangelizing His Truth. Not in an exclusive way (there's lots of Sacred Tradition floating around outside the RCC) but certainly in a distinct way.

Deborah said...

Hi again Shaz & Carlus:

John 10:35 equates Scripture with God's Word, yet in Mark 7:1-13 He condemns some traditions because they contradict His written Word. I see where there were hundreds of Jewish "traditions" that are recorded in the Talmud. So I do believe that Jesus and the apostles had both the OT, and Jewish tradition. In Matthew 15, the Pharisees accused Christ and the apostles of 'breaking the traditions' and He responded with a rebuke....and in Matthew 15:9, Christ rebukes treating the "commandments of men" as doctrine... See why I'm a bit confused as to why you would hold these things as inspired and sacred as the Bible?

So, is there a book of Tradition that was written in Christ's time that is held to? How do you know what the traditions even were, if they've changed or what is accurate to hold?

Carlus Henry said...

RKBently,

Not sure if we have met, but welcome to the discussion....

I believe it would be more correct to say that Scripture takes precedence over tradition.

I am assuming that you are saying that it is ore correct to say that "Protestants" view Scripture takes precedence over tradition. If that is the case, then I would say that I would still disagree.

What is tradition? Tradition means teaching. Scripture is the written teachings of God. Does the teaching of God necessarily take precedence over the unwritten teaching of God? Of course not. When the Apostles and the elders gathered together in order to decide on the matter of Judaizers in Acts 15, was their proclamation only effective after it was written down? Of course not. Their proclamation was effective because from who it was inspired - the Holy Spirit.

Regarding the Matt 15:3-6, Jesus is referring to the traditions of men. Not God's traditions / teachings.

Jesus seems to be saying clearly that when tradition conflicts with Scripture, Scripture wins.

Sacred Tradition can never conflict with Sacred Scripture because it has the same source - God. Traditions of men, however, can conflict because they are not divinely inspired.

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Debs,

See why I'm a bit confused as to why you would hold these things as inspired and sacred as the Bible?

Yes. Trust me, I have been there...literally. :)

Tradition means nothing more than "teaching". The two kinds of teachings that you will often see in Scripture is either Sacred Tradition or tradition of men. Sacred Tradition can never conflict with Scripture because they have the same source - God. When Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees on the grounds of their traditions, it was the traditions of men.

I have to hold these things as inspired and sacred as the Bible, if only for purely logical reasons. How did the Early Church decide what books should be considered part of the Bible and what books should not be? For one, they would have had to weigh it against the Sacred Tradition that they had already been taught up to that point. If anything conflicted with that Sacred Tradition, they would have not included that Book in the Bible. It is a chicken before the egg kind of question, however in this case, we know that Sacred Tradition preceded the New Testament Canon as a historical fact.

So, if I cannot trust Sacred Tradition, how in the world can I trust the New Testament Canon? If I only limit God's Word to that written portion identified in 380AD, and not trust the Sacred Tradition that was passed on for almost 400 years prior (without an identified canon), how can I possibly trust any of it?

I have to believe that God preserved His Word, written and unwritten throughout that time and He still continues to preserve His Word even today.

How do you know what the traditions even were, if they've changed or what is accurate to hold?

There is a simple answer for this one. We worship a God that does not change his mind. Sacred Tradition does not change.

God bless...

Willison said...

There have been a couple comments about Big T and little t. Let me give an example:

Sacred Tradition (Big T): Jesus when he walked around on Earth was, at the same time, fully human and fully God. (Not specifically in the Bible. Does not conflict with the Bible. Is fundemental to understanding the Bible. Will never change.)

Simple tradition of men (little t): Priests can't be married. (Not in the Bible. Not contrary to the Bible. However, this is not a fundemental issue. It is subject to change back and forth over time.)

Deborah said...

Oh sure Stephen.... take his side... ;-)

Carlus: Haven't forgotten this, just been super-busy... I'll ask some more questions soon... trying to comprehend this... thanks!

Jerry said...

Carlus,

I'd be curious if you've perchance read the book "The Shape of Sola Scriptura" by Keith Mathison. It is from a reformed/protestant perspective. While I definitely don't agree with everything Mathison has ever written, this book is pretty informative and enlightening. Heinteracts with both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox views. He also, perhaps as much as anything else, destroys what has become the overly simplistic views of sola scriptura as held by most modern American protestants, which seems to be the view that you are interacting with here. In fact, respectfully, (and I'm sure what I am about to say works both ways!!) most interaction I have had with Roman Catholics concerning the 'error' of protestant beliefs, usually simply destroys the overly simplistic popular level understanding of certain doctrines without ever interating with the more solid, concrete, acadmeic, historical understandings of the same doctrines. I agree with you wholeheartedly that the understanding of sola scriptura held to by a great many (though certainly not all) run of the mill protestants is really unworkable. But, that being the case does absolutely nothing to support the Roman Catholic view, let alone 'prove' that the Roman Catholic view is absolutely required.

One great thing Mathison does, is who how Roman Catholics' understanding of 'Tradition' has evolved over the centuries. Ironically, even their 'tradition' concerning the place of 'tradition' has changed, thereby making it unclear to me how tradition as defined by the Roman Catholic Church can be considered to be infallible along with and equal to the scripture.

Thanks, and I'll try to check back later on, although I just stunbled onto this blog and may not can find it again.

Carlus Henry said...

Jerry,


I'd be curious if you've perchance read the book "The Shape of Sola Scriptura" by Keith Mathison.

No. I have neither read of it or heard of it. But I have to say that what you have said in your post has definitely peaked some interest in picking it up.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that the understanding of sola scriptura held to by a great many (though certainly not all) run of the mill protestants is really unworkable. But, that being the case does absolutely nothing to support the Roman Catholic view, let alone 'prove' that the Roman Catholic view is absolutely required.

Of course it doesn't. One does not necessarily follow after the other. In other words, to destroy the idea of Sola Scriptura is not the same as promoting the idea of Sacred Tradition. That would be the subject of another post.

However, I do reject the idea of Sola Scriptura. This post's intent was to show that although most Protestants would say that they don't believe in Sacred Tradition...they really do. It is not as complicated as the chicken before the egg question. Instead, we all trust our parents, counselor, youth pastor, pastor, we all trust someone who told us that Scripture is the Word of God. We did not come to this knowledge on our own. Instead, someone had to teach this to us. This teaching is truth, this teaching is sacred, this teaching is tradition...this teaching is part of what Catholics call Sacred Tradition.

God bless...

Deborah said...

" Instead, we all trust our parents, counselor, youth pastor, pastor, we all trust someone who told us that Scripture is the Word of God."

I think you have touched on something, a reason actually of why it is hard for me to know what is truth and what to believe. It is easy to see that someone's interpretation of scripture can be very wrong, and twisted to fit their purposes... especially when the ones we look to betray that seemingly unquestionable trust that we are suppose to have as children.

Jerry said...

Thanks, Carlus. Might I suggest you check out Mathisons work. Again, while I do not agree with all his works (I am always careful to not give a blanket endorsement to most anyone!) this particular work is quite well done. The one thing I would like to get across to Roman Catholics is that not all of protestantism is as you guys often portray it. There are thinking protestants who are quite aware of the historical church and its 'traditions.' LUther and Calvin were not seeking to start new movements outside of the historic faith. They were attempting to reform what was there. They were actually both very catholic minded. I myself consider myself a catholic Christian, of the reformed variety. Unfortunately, too often Roman Catholics and protestants simply want to kick each other out of Christendom when if we could focus on where our common ground is, and then HONESTLY, with an OPEN MIND and sorta 'in-house' debate our differences, what a difference that would make for the witness of Christ in the world.

Thanks
J

Carlus Henry said...

Debs...

I think you have touched on something, a reason actually of why it is hard for me to know what is truth and what to believe.

Not sure that I follow what you are saying. Can you give me more detail....

Carlus Henry said...

Jerry,

The one thing I would like to get across to Roman Catholics is that not all of protestantism is as you guys often portray it. There are thinking protestants who are quite aware of the historical church and its 'traditions.'

I don't think that all Protestants are ignorant about the Historical Church and Her Traditions. Typically, these types of Protestants (in my opinion) fall into two categories.

They either honestly do not see that the Early Historical Church was Catholic, or they do see that the Early Historical Church was Catholic. The Protestants that form the first group, I can't fault. My whole family falls into that first category. The second group, is God's special blessing to me in teaching me how to love.

LUther and Calvin were not seeking to start new movements outside of the historic faith.

Sure they were. I can tell because their church looks nothing like the historic church. For example, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli had a disagreement amongst themselves regarding "The Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist. What did they do? Did they get together, come to a joint conclusion and that conclusion became binding on the hearts and souls of all Protestants everywhere? (This would be similar to what happened biblically in Acts 15, and what has happened historically for 1500 years prior to Luther). No. They each held on to their individual views. Not only that, but they started to back bite and talk horribly about one another and the faith that they were promoting. That is not how the Historical Church has ever operated.

They were attempting to reform what was there. They were actually both very catholic minded.

Not true. If they were Catholic-minded, then they would have never split from the Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, too often Roman Catholics and protestants simply want to kick each other out of Christendom when if we could focus on where our common ground is, and then HONESTLY, with an OPEN MIND and sorta 'in-house' debate our differences,...

I think that we are already at this stage. You don't hear too often of Catholics lynching Lutherans or Lutherans drowning Baptists or Presbyterians killing Jehovas Witnesses or anything like that. The stage is set for open discussion. I hope that this blog serves as one of the many platforms out there to support and encourage that discussion.

As for majoring in the majors and minoring in the minors...is that really what God expects from us? Does He hope that we agree on 80% of things and the other 20% can be negotiable? Or does God expect us to be of one mind and one spirit? Does He expect us to all be one as Jesus is One with the Father?

... what a difference that would make for the witness of Christ in the world.

Christ said that it was unity that would make the difference in the world.

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.(John 17:20-21)

God bless...and I am glad that you found your way back to the blog....

:)

Deborah said...

Simply put, I was taught to hate Catholics and their "apostasy" religion most of my life, with scripture to back it.... from people (parents) I trusted, and later by supposed "brothers" of the church.... Makes it hard to know what to believe now, and overcome misinformation fed to me for fourty years.

Carlus Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carlus Henry said...

Debs,

Simply put, I was taught to hate Catholics and their "apostasy" religion most of my life, with scripture to back it.... from people (parents) I trusted, and later by supposed "brothers" of the church....

Yeah...that is something that I would not consider part of Sacred Tradition ;-)

However, Love of God, Divinity of Christ, Inerrancy of Scripture, Trinity...these things that your family members and those you trust did teach you....those make up part of the Sacred Tradition that has been passed down for generations and predates Canon of Scripture.

God bless...

Pastor John S. Crable said...

It's interesting what you have said,I think this tradition is not just going to be found only in Protestant faiths but in many faiths. The term Sola Scriptura as I understand it is when a person says "I regard myself as a follower of Christ based solely upon His word." Our belief is that if we are asked where are faith is founded it is upon Christ as written in the bible. Now maybe I am wrong but this really is a belief issue not a push all on Protestants or Catholics for that matter. Much of what is done in Churches today around the world is
just the traditions of men.

Carlus Henry said...

Pastor John S. Crable,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love it when new people come along to comment.

I do have a question though...
Much of what is done in Churches today around the world is
just the traditions of men.


My mental sirens always go off whenever I hear (or read) the phrase "traditions of men". What specifically are you referring to? We both know that the traditions of men are discredited by Christ and the Apostles. At the same time, traditions are upheld by them as well...(2 Thess 2:15) I would refer to these traditions as Sacred Tradition -- Good tradition.

When you used the phrase "traditions of men" were you referring to good or bad traditions?

Thanks and God bless...