If the bible is the one authority (for non-Catholics), what was going on in the first 300/400 years of the Church?


#1

[size=]DISCUSSION
on
SCRIPTURE
and
TRADITION[/size]

*So, the Word of God: Only Scripture or Scripture and Tradition? *

If the bible is the one and final authority for non-Catholic Christians, especially “Bible Christians”, then what was going on the first 300/400 years while the canon was being formed?

Without the Catholic Church’s teaching authority, we would not know with certainty which purported books of Scripture are authentic. If the Church revealed to us the canon of Scripture, it can also reveal to us the “canon of Tradition” by establishing which traditions have been passed down from the apostles. After all, Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18) and 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul declares the Church to be “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

Protestants claim the Bible is the only rule of faith. In the Protestant view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages.

Jesus’ method was to establish a Church authorized by him to teach mankind in his name.

Us Catholics recognize that the Bible does not endorse this view and that, in fact, it is repudiated in Scripture. The true “rule of faith”—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition, as manifested in the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church, to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.

So, shall we discuss Scripture and Tradition [The Word of God] ??? :bible1: :highprayer:


#2

[quote=catholic1seeks]If the bible is the one and final authority for non-Catholic Christians, especially “Bible Christians”, then what was going on the first 300/400 years while the canon was being formed?
[/quote]

A whole lot of controversy, heresies and persecutions, primarily.

Without the Catholic Church’s teaching authority, we would not know with certainty which purported books of Scripture are authentic. If the Church revealed to us the canon of Scripture, it can also reveal to us the “canon of Tradition” by establishing which traditions have been passed down from the apostles. After all, Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18) and 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul declares the Church to be “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

Where is the list of the Traditions? We have an objective Scriptural witness. I agree with you that the church (collectively, not within a single body of men), being indwelt by the Spirit, received the canon through the providence of God. I do not have the same confidence when it comes to oral traditions, especially those that can only be traced back to the year 600.

Protestants claim the Bible is the only rule of faith. In the Protestant view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages.

The only infallible rule of faith. The whole of what is necessary unto salvation can be found within the pages of Scripture and is explicit to anyone who reads that particular truth. Not all “Christian truth” is contained within Scripture (explicitly, if not implicitly). The Scriptures require interpretation at every part which must be done by the church, within the confines of the regula fide (the 3 ecumenical creeds, and other orthodox definitions, such as Chalcedon).


#3

[quote=catholic1seeks]Protestants claim the Bible is the only rule of faith. In the Protestant view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages.
[/quote]

Bleah, messed this up in my last post…my apologies.


#4

#5

The confidence that Jesus affirmed them.

Can you explain this better…“The only infallible rule of faith” is…what?

Sorry. The only infallible rule of faith is Scripture.

BTW, what flavor Lutheran are you? I’d guess ELCA. (I used to be LCMS, myself).

Good heavens, no! LCMS.


#6

Yes. There were definatley heresies. What are heretics but those who deny the truth? The bible was not around, yet there was truth: Apostolic (Sacred) Tradition. Sacred Scripture is not apart from Tradition, but, rather, it is connected.

Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age”. Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.

So the Apostolic Tradition is what the Apostles have received from Christ, and they were not commanded to write anything down. They taught orally - they (all) remembered things and transmitted things orally. They taught the truth - orally. They started writing things down when they realized the Christ’s second coming wasn’t as near as expected.

Irenaeus

“As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the **authority of the tradition **is one and the same” (Against Heresies 1:10:2 [A.D. 189]).

“That is why it is surely necessary to avoid them [heretics], while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth. . . . What if the apostles had not in fact **left writings **to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the churches?” (ibid., 3:4:1).

It was the Catholic Church who formed the Bible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, yes. Look at the history of the canons. It did take time with different men.

Let’s look at the bible. What does it say about Tradition?

Paul tells the Corinthians, “I **commend **you because you remember me in everything and **maintain the traditions **even as I have **delivered them **to you” (1 Cor. 11:2), and he commands the Thessalonians, “So then, brethren, stand firm and **hold to the traditions **which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15). He even goes so far as to order, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us” (2 Thess. 3:6).

To make sure that the apostolic tradition would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, “[W]hat you have **heard from me **before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first four generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, the generation Timothy will teach, and the generation they in turn will teach.

The whole of what is necessary unto salvation can be found within the pages of Scripture and is explicit to anyone who reads that particular truth.

Yes. Catholic’s don’t argue with this.

Right out of the CCC:

107 The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.”

Not all “Christian truth” is contained within Scripture (explicitly, if not implicitly).

I also agree.

The CCC goes on to say:

108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living.” 73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”

So not everything that is true has to be in the Bible.

The Scriptures require interpretation at every part which must be done by the church, within the confines of the regula fide (the 3 ecumenical creeds, and other orthodox definitions, such as Chalcedon).

In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.

This one reason we need Christ’s Church: To preserve the truth.


#7

The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) long before there was a New Testament. From the very beginning, the fullness of Christian teaching was found in the Church as the living embodiment of Christ, not in a book. The teaching Church, with its oral tradition - with its apostolic tradition, was authoritative. Paul himself gives a quotation from Jesus that was handed down orally to him: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

This saying is not recorded in the Gospels and must have been passed on to Paul. Indeed, even the Gospels themselves are oral tradition which has been written down (Luke 1:1–4). Even more, Paul does not quote Jesus only. He also quotes from early Christian hymns, as in Ephesians 5:14. These and other things have been given to Christians “through the Lord Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:2).

source: here


#8

All of what you cite above is cited from Scripture; is there a reason that you cite only from scripture rather than citing from oral tradition?

ISTM that doing that bolsters the position that you are trying to disprove.


#9

Wouldn’t non-Catholic Christians want to know where Tradition is mentioned in the Bible? That’s where this is efficient.:thumbsup:


#10

Forgive me; however, I’m not understanding your point. In going back over the verses you cite, I see no mention of tradition, but rather words referenced to the written record, scripture.

Again, ISTM that in citing scripture, you bolster the position you seek to disprove.


#11

Oh sorry! I thought you meant when I said:

*"Paul tells the Corinthians, “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2), and he commands the Thessalonians, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15). He even goes so far as to order, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us” (2 Thess. 3:6).

To make sure that the apostolic tradition would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, “[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first four generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, the generation Timothy will teach, and the generation they in turn will teach."*

that DOES mention tradition.

The verses you mentioned does not include the word “tradition” in them, but it does deeply imply that the Apostles would have taught what Jesus had taught them - orally -


#12

I agree; however, the apostolic traditions that were carried on by the early church up to the formation of a recognized list of books are what is in scripture. That is to say, I believe the traditions of the apostles are no different than what we have substantively in Scripture. Therefore, an oral communication of those traditions is no longer necessary.

So the Apostolic Tradition is what the Apostles have received from Christ, and they were not commanded to write anything down. They taught orally - they (all) remembered things and transmitted things orally. They taught the truth - orally. They started writing things down when they realized the Christ’s second coming wasn’t as near as expected.

There was no direct command by Christ to write these traditions down, however, they did. And we have to deal with the fact that they did, and were inspired directly by the Spirit to do so. Since they were, it was the will of God that their teachings be preserved in writing for the use of the Church. Thus, an oral communication is not necessary. Being they are directly inspired, as with the words of the apostles themselves, we know they are infallible. Oral traditions, however much they may be claimed to be authentic, can clearly be fallible if it can be demonstrated to be a late invention.

It was the Catholic Church who formed the Bible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, yes. Look at the history of the canons. It did take time with different men.

No serious disagreements here. Either that or I don’t have the time to explore that aspect of it right now, but maybe later. :wink:

Let’s look at the bible. What does it say about Tradition?

It says about tradition that which it contains; the teaching of the apostles.


#13

Perhaps the definition of Tradition will clear things up. First, it isn’t “invented” but the understanding of it is developed. Like the understanding of Scripture, there is a better understanding of Tradition.

Sacred or apostolic tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.

They have been handed down and entrusted to the Churchs. It is necessary that Christians believe in and follow this tradition as well as the Bible (Luke 10:16). The truth of the faith has been given primarily to the leaders of the Church (Eph. 3:5), who, with Christ, form the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13). [source: [URL=“http://www.catholic.com/library/Scripture_and_Tradition.asp”]here]

“Side by side with Scripture there is tradition, side by side with the written revelation there is the oral revelation. This granted, it is impossible to be satisfied with the Bible alone for the solution of all dogmatic questions. Such was the first field of controversy between Catholic theologians and the Reformers. The designation of unwritten Divine traditions was not always given all the clearness desirable especially in early times; however Catholic controversialists soon proved to the Protestants that to be logical and consistent they must admit unwritten traditions as revealed. Otherwise by what right did they rest on Sunday and not on Saturday? How could they regard infant baptism as valid, or baptism by infusion? How could they permit the taking of an oath, since Christ had commanded that we swear not at all? The Quakers were more logical in refusing all oaths, the Anabaptists in re-baptizing adults, the Sabbatarians in resting on Saturday. But none were so consistent as not to be open to criticism on some point. Where is it indicated in the Bible that the Bible is the sole source of faith? Going further, the Catholic controversialists showed their opponents that of this very Bible, to which alone they wished to refer, they could not have the authentic canon nor even a sufficient guarantee without an authority other than that of the Bible…”

You need to go to here, NewAdvent, to get a thorough explanation. I’m no professional.

"…In a similar way they show that they cannot dispense with a teaching authority, a Divinely authorized living magistracy for the solution of controversies arising among themselves and of which the Bible itself was often the occasion. Indeed experience proved that each man found in the Bible his own ideas, as was said by one of the earliest reforming sectarians. One man found the Real Presence, another a purely symbolic presence, another some sort of efficacious presence…Hence the necessity of a competent authority to solve controversies and interpret the Bible. "


#14

I understand that the Church holds its specific teachings to be that of the apostles. However, that which the Catholic Church proclaims as such must be confirmed both by the clear testimony of Scripture, and also that of history itself. Those teachings of the Church which I dispute, would be those that cannot be confirmed by the writings of the apostles, nor confirmed by the witness of history.

There is no dispute here that those things which are confirmed by Scripture and church history is clear apostolic tradition.

Sacred or apostolic tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.

Again, no disagreement. The disagreement would be that an additional oral component is not necessary, since the oral component was written down.

You need to go to here, NewAdvent, to get a thorough explanation. I’m no professional.

ha! No problem there, I am way below the level of professional anything!


#15

**"writings of the apostles…"
It’s TRADITION:whacky: not Scripture.
It’s what they taught and passed on “…either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15).

[FONT=“Trebuchet MS”]Remember: Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

Now you tell me what you cannot
confirm to be what the Apostles taught,
and I’ll help in the ways I can![/FONT]**:thumbsup:


#16

Everything they substantively taught is what has been written down. Therefore, I have no need to look for an oral component. Since Scripture was inspired, and the apostles wrote down that which they were directed to by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit insured that they wrote down everything I need to know for salvation.


#17

Let’s see: throughout all of Church history the mass has been celebrated with the Eucharist as the true presence of Christ’s Body and Blood. This teaching is due to Tradition. It’s found within Scripture, yes, but not every Christian believes this, correct? So, Tradition in “its entirety” does contain the truth - including that of Scripture.

What about purgatory? Concept in the bible? yes. Tradition makes it efficient.

There are Divine traditions not contained in Holy Scripture, revelations made to the Apostles either orally by Jesus Christ or by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and transmitted by the Apostles to the Church. Holy Scripture is therefore not the only theological source of the Revelation made by God to His Church.


#18

Other Catholics, you’re welcome to join…the discussion!! :wink:


#19

I agree. It is found in both Scripture and the witness of the early church. The witness of the early church confirms it as an apostolic teaching. We cannot, however, simply take the early church witness at face value; in the case of the Lord’s Supper, we can affirm the teaching of the real presence from Scripture as the infallible source, and the church as the formal source, from the apostles.

What about purgatory? Concept in the bible? yes. Tradition makes it efficient.

I wouldn’t say the concept itself is in the Bible unless one does serious exegetical gymnastics. Nor can one point to a universal witness in the church to confirm it. No doubt it was a development, but I don’t believe it can be shown to be apostolic (I dont want to get into a purgatory debate, I promise! LoL. Just pointing this out as an example)

There are Divine traditions not contained in Holy Scripture, revelations made to the Apostles either orally by Jesus Christ or by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and transmitted by the Apostles to the Church. Holy Scripture is therefore not the only theological source of the Revelation made by God to His Church.

I would completely disagree with a two source theory. We have no way to confirm an oral tradition as coming from an apostle unless we can confirm it by the Divine Scriptures. Nor do I believe the early church taught a two source theory.

I would be happy to go over this with you further, so be patient, because I do want to address it seriously with you (I appreciate the patience and kindness you’ve shown so far in our dialogue!). I don’t have access to sources at the moment because I’m tooling around here at work, but I do want to continue this with you!


#20

There are two ways of seeking an answer to any Christian religious question, the Protestant way and the Catholic way. Both will agree we should study the sources of revelation - Scripture alone for Protestants, or Scripture plus the ongoing teaching of the Church (Tradition) for Catholics. But that is only step one. The essential step reveals the complete gulf between the two. One can hardly claim that the meaning of Scripture, or even the Gospels, is clear on all points. There are many points, the divinity of Christ, His presence in the Eucharist, the nature of the Mass, the means by which we try for salvation, and many more which are not obvious. The number of churches listed in the yellow pages of the telephone book makes clear that things are not so obvious. The number of denominations claiming to know what Scripture means are legion.

So, since Scripture often needs interpretation, how do we get the correct interpretation? For the Protestant, the only rule is: What do I think it means? Yes, many Protestant bodies have creeds, which they often call “Confessions,” such as the Augsburg Confession. But if a man were to tell his Lutheran pastor, “I cannot believe the Augsburg Confession,” the pastor would not tell him, “You have an obligation, divinely imposed, by the authority of Christ, to accept it.” He would merely say, “I guess you belong in some other denomination.”


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