Tradition

With the death of Pope John Paul II, the enlivened dialog between Catholics and Protestants that his passing has facilitated frequently crashes on the rocks of tradition. With that in mind, I thought I would repost a section of my earlier post on Starting Point: Sola Scriptura, that includes my views on tradition. For your edification and comment.

While tradition, which includes all creeds, catechisms, articles, and confessions, is important as the accumulated wisdom of the church, it all came into being based on Scripture and contrary to Scripture is not infallible, only reliable and that reliability must be reaffirmed by every generation of Christians. I should say that I see tradition as very Anglican in essence because it is arrived at through reasonable discourse, by applying rational argument to the witness of Scripture. Tradition’s fundamental weakness, at least for me, fits nicely into Paul’s statements about “knowing in part” and “seeing through a mirror darkly”. It is the moon to Scripture’s sun. It is only a reflection. In the end it is to Scripture we return, and it is there we all should start. This is not to say tradition and the reason used to arrive at it are not important, they are. After all, we are all called to be Bereans are we not or we risk becoming ignoble, to turn Paul’s famous assessment to its flipside. But the salient point is this, while Paul elevated the production of tradition to a noble endeavor, it is only the handmaiden of truth seeking belief, while Scripture remains the Rosetta Stone of all opinion.

There you have it. Agree? Disagree? Don’t care…

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