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Author Topic: The importance of tradition  (Read 2478 times) Average Rating: 0
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Labosseuse
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« on: June 12, 2007, 02:20:29 PM »

How can I explain to my VERY Reformed parents the importance of Holy Tradition?  I pointed out that nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Bible is absolutely the only source of truth about God and His church.  I don't think I did a good job.  The problem is that their view of tradition, obviously, affects their view of things like the departed saints, communion, oh everything.   Grin

I don't intend to convert them, but I do hope to help them understand.

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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2007, 02:46:44 PM »

http://www.catholic.com/library/Scripture_and_Tradition.asp

Though Roman Catholic, it mentions certain Biblical passages that might strike a chord with them.  Good luck.   Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2007, 03:00:26 PM »

This may not be terribly helpful, but just a thought... Sometimes Scripture is not entirely dogmatic and does, indeed, leave room for more than one interpretation. For example, the question of hierarchy: the Reformed always say that the New Testament texts mention terms "presbyter" and "bishop" (tos episkopos) as synonyms. Yet, if one has never *heard* it from someone who had been brought up in the Reformed faith, one might as well NOT arrive to the conclusion that these terms are synonyms. And what really puts everything in its place is something beyond Scripture; for example, in the "First Apology" by St. Justin Martyr (mid-2nd century) it is written that having a bishop *preside* over presbyters is "an ancient custom of the Church."
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2007, 05:07:57 PM »

How can I explain to my VERY Reformed parents the importance of Holy Tradition?  I pointed out that nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Bible is absolutely the only source of truth about God and His church.  I don't think I did a good job.  The problem is that their view of tradition, obviously, affects their view of things like the departed saints, communion, oh everything.   Grin

The thing is Protestants do have a regard for tradition.  They just don't realize it is.  If you would like a very basic, yet concrete example about how Protestants have even accepted Church Tradition, try this.  1)  Why to this day do Protestants still call the Books of the Bible by the same name as the ancient church?  2)  Why do Protestants still accept the OT (with some exceptions) and NT as it has been handed down?  Why are books not discarded partly or in whole?  What maintains the integrity?

See if this works.  If you can get them to accept that what we have in terms of the Bible is from the inheritance of tradition, then perhaps they may be opened to everything else.  I'm assuming your parents, though, do not just assume the Bible came out of the sky with written instructions on how to use. Forgive me if that sounded insulting.  Wink
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2007, 12:27:07 AM »

What I find strange is that some Protestants answer this challenge by insisting that God saw to it that the Bible would endure uncorrupted through all this time. But, I tell them, the Bible didn't exist through all this time! It took several generations to even get written down and then several centuries to come to agreement about the canon! And if it is true that God protected the Bible from error, why is it a stretch that God would protect the proper interpretation of it from error? It is indisputed that heretics then and now have pointed to Scripture to justify their heresies. It was the Church that decided how the Bible was to be interpreted, and it was the Church that fought to prevent the heretical interpretations from sweeping across the world. Many of the teachings Protestants take for granted were defended against great opposition by the Church at various times. Many also fail to realize that they have their own traditions of interpretation through which their reading of the Bible is refracted. Those Protestants who talk about their church being a "Bible-based church" always receive blank stares from me because it is such a meaningless statement. The Bible does not interpret itself, or there wouldn't be so many competing schools of interpretation in Protestant circles. Every church claims to be based on the Bible, and yet churches disagree on some very important theological points. They hurl Scripture verses at each other as if that would sway the debate in their favor.

The Church did not come from the Bible; the Bible came from the Church.
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2007, 01:22:32 AM »

 Great question! And as you know, Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone) is the foundation of Reformation Theology, so whenever Orthodox talk to them about Tradition, defensives go straight up fast.

 One thing I always found helpful is to point out all the different denoms/sects who all read the same Bible. Here's a couple of quotes from the book Sola Scriptura by Fr. John Whiteford:

 "...If Protestantism's foundational teaching of sola Scriptura is of God, why has it resulted in the formation of over twenty thousand differing groups that can't agree on basic aspects of what the Bible says, or even on what it means to be a Christian? If the Bible is sufficient apart from Holy Tradition, why can a Baptist, a charismatic, a Methodist, and even Jehovah's Witness all claim to believe what the Bible says, and yet no two of the agree o what it is that the Bible says"

 "Protestants frequently claim they 'just believe the Bible,' but a number of questions arise when one examines their actual use of the Bible. For instance, why do Protestans write so many books on doctrine and the Christian life in general, if indeed all that is necessary is the Bible? If the Bible by itself were sufficiet for one to understand it the why don't Protestants simply hand out Bibles and let it go at that? And if it is 'all sufficient', as they suggest, why do Protestants not all believe the same?....Though they usually will not adit it, they instinctively know the Bible cannot be understood alone. And in fact, every Protestant sect has its own body of tradtions, though again they generally will not call them by this name"

 And from the Bible itself:

 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions (paradosis which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle"
 2 Thessalonians 2:15

 Hope this helps you.  Good luck and God bless you! Wink
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 01:23:38 AM by Jibrail Almuhajir » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2007, 02:09:55 AM »

Great info, and great avatar and caption Jibrail AlmuhajirGrin
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2007, 05:15:44 AM »

Great info, and great avatar and caption Jibrail AlmuhajirGrin
I agree, but I'm intrigued as to why you think so. Are you another closet Romanophile? How are you even able to read the caption?

Not sure about the communist-era spelling of pământ and Sfânt, though. That (use of î instead of â) comes from trying to distance Romania from its Latin roots and was changed back to pre-communist norms in the mid '90s. Î is now only used when the sound falls on the initial letter of a word - because then it is the linguistic descendant of a Latin i rather than a (or occasionally e).

James
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 05:24:53 AM by jmbejdl » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2007, 11:32:43 AM »

I agree, but I'm intrigued as to why you think so. Are you another closet Romanophile? How are you even able to read the caption?

Not sure about the communist-era spelling of pământ and Sfânt, though. That (use of î instead of â) comes from trying to distance Romania from its Latin roots and was changed back to pre-communist norms in the mid '90s. Î is now only used when the sound falls on the initial letter of a word - because then it is the linguistic descendant of a Latin i rather than a (or occasionally e).

James

LoL!  One of my closest friends is Romanian, and well, us Latins had to stick together in Anglo-ville, Ontario.   Tongue
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2007, 12:58:41 PM »

Thanks for all the good input!
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2007, 07:59:33 PM »

Labosseuse, here's one very good link:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_solascriptura.aspx

(It's from a members-only Yahoo group, so you might not be able to open it, but if you sign in - and you can always sign off later, - there won't be any problem. The group is called "Orthodox Without My Spouse," their URL is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oxwoms/)
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2007, 08:34:26 PM »

Aside from the Scriptural references to Tradition (eg 2Thessalonians 2:15), which themselves show the importance of Tradition, Tradition is the Memory of the Church.
This point has been driven home to me recently on another forum I belong to which is a meterological forum. The East Coast of Australia has been in a severe drought since 1994 which has begun to break in earnest this month with a series of three heavy rain events, with more coming next week. Many of the younger posters on the forum are saying things like the heavy and extended rain events are "clear evidence" of climate change. The older posters are a lot more sober in their responses, and are posting official weather charts and reports from 1966 where the same events occured the last time there was a break in a major drought. I realised that many of these younger posters have  had no experience in their memory of a time when  heavy rain was the norm on the east coast of Australia. One might say that the memory of the older posters as well as the written records from past experiences are the meterological equivalent of Church Tradition.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2007, 09:04:12 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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