Grace and peace to all.

I’m a friend seeking some answers about the Church. I’ve long considered myself a Catholic, but not Roman. I’ve had difficulty with certain Roman doctrines for a long time now, but I’m learning to see many of them differently these days.

I read Karl Keating’s book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, about 10 years ago. I was introduced to Scott Hahn and others in the book Surprised by Truth. Most recently I have been reading David Currie’s book, Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. Though all of these books deal with my questions to some degree, I’d like to ask a few questions from Currie’s book.

I’m hoping some Roman apologist will clear things up for me.

In his chapter on scriptural authority Currie puts great emphasis on the supposed need for oral tradition under the Mosaic Law. He says things like, “…no one could have established or maintained Judaism in the way God desired from the data found only in the Bible.” And later he says, “The God-ordained religion that Moses helped to set up required the faithful transmission of oral tradition from generation to generation.”

What I’m wondering is how we can know what is “required”, or “the way God desires” something to be done, if not from scripture?

What is it, exactly, that Currie and others think was “required” that wasn’t recorded in the Mosaic Law?

This seems to be a major point that my Roman Catholic friends return to repeatedly, but I remain unconvinced that the argument is anything more than wishful thinking.

I would appreciate some more detail on this point if anyone can help. Thank you.


you are, no doubt, aware of Tradition. and that this Tradition is based on, among other things, the teachings of Christ to His disciples, which were passed down to us today by way of apostolic succession. you’re familiar with this?

so that is part of the answer to your question. that is, among other things, the way that we can know what God desires apart from scripture.

other ways include - revelation, in various forms. either through a messenger coming to us and telling us something (like mary telling us she is the immaculate conception), or through inspiration to the various members of the church (the pope, the doctors of the church, etc) who have prayed and sought God’s guidance on matters of faith and dogma. these revelations are written down, over time, and become what we call Tradition.

but i feel like i’m covering stuff you already know, which leads me to believe that i don’t understand your question. if i didn’t answer it, could you please rephrase?

thanks, and God bless you.


Caedmom, You say you are Catholic but not Roman. I have no answers about Currie’s statements. But I think either I missed something in your post or maybe you didn’t actually say where you are.

It seems to me that if you are contemplating becoming Catholic you place a lot of emphasis on one book. I was a convert 49 years ago and it was the simple things that made me have to be Catholic. I hope you have the patience to ‘look at the simple things’. Simple things such as: Jesus started the Catholic Church on Peter’s shoulders, the oldest Christian Church is the Catholic Church and Jesus is present in the Eucharist at Mass! These are simple things that are compelling. Bless You!


I think the point that David Currie and others are trying to make, is that if you only had the Bible, you could not reconstitute Jewish worship. There is no setting out of what exactly a Passover ritual entails, even. There’s a general guide, but no details. Those must have been passed down by oral tradition. So Jesus and his parents would go up to Jerusalem every year for the Passover, and presumably celebrate it the “correct” way, but they wouldn’t have gotten that information from the Bible as they knew it. It would be up to the authentic Jewish authorities (those “who sit on Moses’ seat” as Jesus described them) to determine the correct way to worship God, the authentic rituals to be used.



I am not a Roman apologist but I would like to make a statement about what Currie says.

He’s right, I think.

Expanding upon what Rettababy has said, if you or I had the opportunity to rebuild the Temple today and be the chief Priests, how would we go about it?

I don’t have the slightest idea personally. That’s why all those books were written by Alfred Edersheim, there just wasn’t enough in the Bible to tell you and I how it really was.

If we wanted to impersonate or pretend we were Jews, set up a kosher household and live just like modern Jews live, I couldn’t do it. I’ve seen videos, read books and had Jewish friends but if I tried to pretend I was a Jew I wouldn’t fool any real Jew. They would know right away that I couldn’t live the life, say the blessings, prepare the meals, talk the talk and walk the walk.

Same for science, I could have a college level textbook on physics of chemistry but without some hands on training I would be a fool in a chemistry lab. I wouldn’t be able to function without tutoring and mentoring. The books are not enough.

My trade is as a lithographic pressman, I have a lot of books on the subject, but if you read my books (all of them) and stepped over to a press without someone like me their to show you, you could hurt yourself.

Scripture, as important as it is, in and of itself is not sufficient to teach us everything we need to know to be good Jews (or Catholics). Scripture is an important part of our personal study and training, but not the only part. The rest comes from a teacher with the authority to teach: a qualified former student of another qualified teacher.

That’s how I see it.


Authority. This will always be the million dollar question. Who has it? who doesnt? I believe people claim authority by two different ways: They either steal it! Or they receive it!

Nobody has it on their own. (but GOD)

That is why I believe in the recieving it part. apostolic succession, or apostolic reception.


Thanks to all.

As far as I can tell at this point, what was truly necessary about Judaism, was written in scripture. I have seen no reason to suggest than anything else was necessary. I realize this is an apriori assumption, but so is Currie’s view as far as I can tell.

The points out scriptural interpretation are important, but I see the church as more profound than any doctrine of apostolic succession can account for.

I am, as I said, a person who supports a “high” view of the church. I’m still wrestling with the details.

Thanks again everyone.


[quote=Caedmon] And later he says, “The God-ordained religion that Moses helped to set up required the faithful transmission of oral tradition from generation to generation.”


I’m certainly not an appologist, and have no idea what the author was thinking, but, perhaps, this simply refers to the oral tradition that was maintained before everything was written down?

With the exception of the tablets God filled out himself, how long was it before the Law of Moses was written down?

In the same fashion that the New Testament was not recorded for some time after Christ had died and risen.

An oral traditions was “required” to promulgate the gospel until then.

On the other point. Wan’t there a story about a couple of Levites whom God killed for violating a liturgical rule that wasn’t recorded in scripture?



[quote=Caedmon]Grace and peace to all.
I’m hoping some Roman apologist will clear things up for me.


Peace to you also.
Let’s start of on the right foot. We are not Romans. Anglicans sometimes erroneously refer to us as such, but it is an error. There are several rites, both Eastern and Western in the Catholic Church in communion with the seat of Peter.

God bless and keep you.


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