Holy (T)radition, is it considered "the word of God"


#1

A little help in understanding the position of Tradition within your church please. Thanks,
Simon


#2

By Tradition is meant that body of revealed truths, received by the Apostles from the lips of Christ Himself or told them by the Holy Spirit, that has come down to us, delivered to us as it were by hand, and preserved in the Catholic Church by unbroken succession.

Matthew 28:19-20
John 14:26
John 16:13
John 20:30
John 21:25
Acts 1:3
2 Thessalonians 2:15

Council of Trent - Session 4, Decree on the Canon of Scripture
Vatican I - Constitution, Dei Filius


#3

So that is a “yes” then?


#4

“Furthermore, all those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic Faith which are contained in the word of God, whether in writing or in tradition, and which are set forth by the Church either in her solemn decisions or in the exercise of her ordinary and universal teaching office, to be believed as being divinely revealed.” - Vatican I, Constitution “Dei Filius”


#5

Are there any examples of this within Evangelical/Fundamentalism?


#6

Does scripture ever give us any indication whether or not Tradition is in fact the “word of God”?
…I know it does call Scripture itself the “word of God” John 10:35, but i’ve never seen in scripture where Christ His apostles or prohets EVER indicated that Tradition was considered the “word of God”

Am I missing something? How did this divine authority get attached to Tradition?


#7

Sure there are traditions in all churches.


#8

Yes, you’re missing something enormous. All Scripture originated from Tradition. Christ never handed the apostles any Scripture. What he did (along with the Holy Spirit) was to teach them, to give them what we now call Tradition. And some of the apostles later wrote down some of that Tradition in the Scriptures. But it was all Tradition before it was Scripture.

Or do you believe that the apostles did not know what they wrote down in Scripture before they wrote it? :eek:


#9

As I understand the Catholic position, “Sacred Tradition” refers to the content of divine revelation as passed down through/by the Church. There should be no debate about the fact that the preaching of the Apostles which was later recorded in Scripture was the Word of God. 2 Thess. 2:15 makes it clear that in the first century there was a “tradition” given by the Apostles both orally and in writing that was authoritative.

So the question really is twofold:

  1. Is there any of the content of apostolic tradition (the Word of God) that is not recorded in Scripture? (Protestants say “no,” Catholics disagree among themselves.)

  2. Can we identify the body of belief and practice handed down within the Church (as distinct from the once-for-all record of Scripture) with this authoritative apostolic tradition (which we agree is the Word of God)? (Catholics say “yes” if you define your terms very carefully–Protestants disagree on whether this is true in some sense, but agree that it is not true in the sense Catholics claim.)

Edwin


#10

While one can accept the divine revelation given to the apostles to be later penned as authorative I don’t see anywhere in scripture that any form of Tradition should be considered the “word of God” Paul says hold fast what you have been given from him and the other apostles, I don’t see where this leaves an open book of new revelations…So while what they were currently sharing may have been speaking the “word of God” based on 2 thess 2, it gives no indication Tradition beyond those instances are to be considered even remotely authoritive. In fact it is shown as a model of legalism by Christ himself.


#11

I’m not sure about Catholics disagreeing here. Does any Catholic hold that e.g. the Assumption of Mary is recorded in Scripture?

  1. Can we identify the body of belief and practice handed down within the Church (as distinct from the once-for-all record of Scripture) with this authoritative apostolic tradition (which we agree is the Word of God)? (Catholics say “yes” if you define your terms very carefully–Protestants disagree on whether this is true in some sense, but agree that it is not true in the sense Catholics claim.)

I wonder if this is the right question to ask. The entire Catholic faith derives from Tradition. None of it derives from Scripture. However, most of it is certainly confirmed by Scripture. Where the confusion usually occurs is in questions of what Catholic teachings are found in Scripture, and the confusion comes about because a particular teaching might be found in Scripture at any level from very explicitly down to not at all. This does not bother Catholics (or Orthodox), but it bothers the heck out of most Protestants.


#12

Just as John 10:35 does not say that the Word of god is confined to Scripture. The argument from silence works both ways, you know. :slight_smile:

In fact, in citing John 10:35, you prove too much since in context and in fidelity to the literal menaing of the text, Jesus was speaking of the Old Testament since the New Testament had not been put down in writing at that time (and none of the feeble protestation of “Well, Jesus just knew that the NT would come along so he meant that too.” Puh-leeze. :rolleyes: )

In fact it is shown as a model of legalism by Christ himself.

:yawn: If you’re referring to the well worn and long discredited reference to Mark 7, please spare us the monotony. We’re not neophytes at this, you know.


#13

John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

This is clearly stating scripture is the "word of God"
Show the same for Tradition…


#14

First show us that John is even Scripture, without resorting to Tradition.


#15

Bracket out the word “Tradition” for the minute. We are talking about oral vs. written revelation. Over and over again in the NT the phrase “the Word of God” is used in the context of preaching and proclamation: Luke 3:2, Luke 5:1, probably Luke 8:11 (you could argue that this is Scripture, but I think that’s improbable in context), Luke 8:11 and Luke 11:28 (again, these last two references could mean the hearing of Scripture read, but more likely refer to Jesus’ teaching), John 3:34 (OK, that’s plural), Acts 4:31, probably Acts 6:2, Acts 6:7, 11:1, 12:24, 19:20 (or do you think Scripture “increased” and “multiplied”?), Acts 8:14 (the Samaritans already had Scripture, or at least part of it), Acts 13:5, 13:7, probably 13:44 (again, this could mean the liturgical reading of Scripture in the synagogue, but it sounds as if they were turning out to hear Paul and Barnabas preach), 13:46, 17:13 (I’ll give you 18:11 as ambiguous), probably Romans 10:17 (given the link with “hearing”), probably 1 Corinthians 14:36 and 1 Thess. 1:8, and 1 Thess. 2:13 (since Paul is largely addressing Gentiles, it could mean Scripture, but it seems more likely that he’s talking about proclamation), probably 2 Corinthians 2:17 (isn’t it more likely that Paul is speaking about people corrupting a proclamation than about their corrupting Scripture itself?), probably Colossians 1:25, probably 1 Tim. 4:5 (is he really speaking of reading Scripture over food?), probably 2 Tim. 2:9, explicitly Titus 1:3, almost certainly Titus 2:5, probably Heb. 6:5, Heb. 13:7, very likely 1 Peter 1:23 (I’ll grant you that this is fairly ambiguous), 2 Peter 3:5 (appears to be a reference to God’s speech in Gen. 1, though it could also refer to Christ–it certainly does not refer to Scripture), probably 1 John 2:5 (this could be Scripture but it seems more natural to speak of “keeping” a teaching), and very likely Rev. 1:2, 1:9, 6:9, and 20:4.

Against all this you have two passages that very likely are talking about Scripture: Mark 7:13 and John 10:35. However, both of these could be referring to God’s oral revelation in the OT, and they certainly do not emphasize the written vs. oral nature of the Word. Certainly if we read Mark 7:13 in the context of the Jewish distinction between the written and oral Torah, your position becomes somewhat stronger. But it’s still significant that Mark does not make this explicit–the key point is not whether the teaching is written or oral, but whether it truly comes from God through Moses or simply from the Jewish “elders.” There are several other passages that I think are completely ambiguous, and of course several references to Christ as the Word of God.

It’s significant that the passages probably speaking of Scripture as the Word of God are describing the OT. The Word of God in the New Testament is, if we rely solely on the explicit teaching of the NT itself, a purely oral affair. So actually your argument turns back on itself. Given the numerous references to the “Word of God” in the context of preaching, and not one explicit reference to any part of NT Scripture as the Word of God, your interpretation of 1 Thess. 2:15 would leave you without any reason to think that the New Testament is the word of God except that it is equated with the oral teaching which we know is the Word of God.

This is recognized by historic Protestant theology. Martin Chemnitz, the great Lutheran apologist,said that the OT was essentially written revelation and the NT was essentially oral, even though all of it was eventually written down. I assumed that I could take this originally oral character of the NT for granted. I don’t see how one can maintain otherwise given the overwhelming evidence from the NT itself.

Paul says hold fast what you have been given from him and the other apostles, I don’t see where this leaves an open book of new revelations

Who maintains this? Catholics certainly don’t. You are making up a straw man here.

So while what they were currently sharing may have been speaking the “word of God” based on 2 thess 2, it gives no indication Tradition beyond those instances are to be considered even remotely authoritative.

Catholics do not claim that any later teachings are themselves the Word of God.

In fact it is shown as a model of legalism by Christ himself.

As I said above, the question in Mark 7 does not seem to be written vs. oral but human vs. divine. The identification of these two dichotomies with each other needs to be defended and cannot simply be assumed, particularly in the face of the abundant references to the “preaching of the Word of God” in the NT. Even the classic Protestant manifesto the Second Helvetic Confession says that “the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.” That’s one thing that is pretty clear in Scripture, surely.

Edwin


#16

You have not addressed my point. Ignoring a point by not addressing it and simply repeating your original statement is rude and not an answer. Maybe it works with hapless uninformed Catholics you meet, but you know that here we will keep you honest.

You are demanding answers, so we can too.:slight_smile:


#17

Sorry for ignoring this. You are not reading carefully. It doesn’t say that the word of God is Scripture just because both phrases are found in the same verse. That certainly makes the identification a plausible one, which is why I granted you that this was a “probable” or “most likely” interpretation. But in my previous post I gave you tons of passages that either clearly or probably identify the word of God with oral preaching.

Edwin


#18

Remember…the “Word of God” does not always mean Scripture. Here are some versus from Scripture that show that oral statement (oral Tradition) is the Word of God…

Acts 4:31 As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

1 Thess 2:13 And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that,in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now atwork in you who believe.


#19

Paul says hold fast what you have been given from him and the other apostles, I don’t see where this leaves an open book of new revelations

If they don’t maintain this, what of the maxim promoted that doctrine need not have a basis in scripture? which was pushed ardently by the Jesuits in forwarding such things as the IC?


#20

myfavoritmartin,

Paul said “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thess 2:15)

Oral statement (sacred Tradition) and by letter (sacred Scripture). Catholic doctrine never goes against Scripture. Remember that the Bible is a Catholic book. Martin Luther even acknowledges this “We are obliged to yield many things to the Papists (Catholics) - that they possess the Word of God which we received from them, otherwise we should have known nothing at all about it.” reference *Commentary on St. John,*chapter 16.

You also seem to have dodged my comments above about the Word of God also meaning oral Tradition.**


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