My friend writes:
Tradition and papal teaching have their place; but they cannot claim to be God-breathed. And, inasmuch as they can instruct and guide, you must take into account that they cannot claim to have proceeded from the very breath of God. “For who has known the mind of God?”
If I believe the Bible is the infallible, God-breathed Word, doesn’t it make sense that the Bible should be the absolute standard by which I judge everything else?
I don’t know how to answer my friend, she twists everything I say around…
*Can someone help? Robin *
I would suggest getting some good basic books which contain the writings of the Patristic Fathers. The Patrictic Fathers were the very earliest Christians who were taught by the Apostles—guys like Polycarp, and Ignatius, and Clement, and so on, and see what they say about Tradition being equal with Scripture. (I can already tell you that they believed that Scripture and Tradition are both inspired by God, and they are both equal to one another.)
Then you ask your friend how come her beliefs don’t square with what the earliest Christians believed.
You need to be careful, though, because depending on the brand of Protestant Fundamentalist you’re dealing with, they sometimes believe in a popular fairy tale about how the evil ole Catholic Church was “corrupted by paganism” about 100 A.D., and the real Christians went underground and were persecuted by the Catholics (who killed approximately 700 billion of them) for hundreds of years, until Martin Luther rode in a white horse and saved them in 1517.
The set of books I would recommend is William Jurgens’ Faith of the Early Fathers, published by the Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota. They are absolutely indispensable, especially for the doctrinal indexes in the back.