Scripture and Tradition


#1

Okay…I know there are plenty of threads about this, but this is an offshoot of the "Why do Protestants accuse Catholics of not being Bible followers?" thread.

In it Ginger2 said “name one thing that is missing from the Bible,” and “My claim is that the Catholic Church cannot tell me anything necessary to my personal salvation that is not already in the Bible.” I am hoping to expand on this a little bit.

First, from the Catechism, so we have an understanding of what the Church teaches:

One common source. . .
80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal."40 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”.41

. . . two distinct modes of transmission
81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."42
"And [Holy] *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."43
82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."44

The important thing stated here is that they are “bound closely together.” You can’t take one without the other.

The other premise I offer is from the Bible, Phil 2:12-15:

12 10 11 So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. 12

To ask “what is missing in the Bible for salvation,” to me is not a good question. It is like asking ‘what is the absolute minimum I have to do to pass this class’ in school.

I believe the best examples of this are the Sacraments. They are in the Bible, but the understanding and practice of them comes from Tradition. This is why the two are “bound closely together.” You need both, with the guidance of the Magisterium, to come to the fullness of the Truth.


#2

[quote=rlg94086]In it Ginger2 said “name one thing that is missing from the Bible,”
[/quote]

Well, for some, the deuterocannonical books are missing. For others apparently some books are about to go missing.

Mark 16.9-20 and John 7.53-8.11: These two texts—the two longest variants in the New Testament—are almost always marked out in modern translations with notes such as “Not found in the oldest manuscripts"… keeping these two pericopae in our Bibles rather than relegating them to the footnotes seems to have been a bomb just waiting to explode…

… those in ministry need to close the gap between the church and the academy. We have to educate believers. Instead of trying to isolate laypeople from critical scholarship, we need to insulate them… The intentional dumbing down of the church for the sake of filling more pews will ultimately lead to defection from Christ. link

This writer is Evangelical. He refers to an ‘academy.’ Not a magisterium but an academy. Evidently the academy interprets Scripture according to some sort of scholarly tradition.

I am not sure what is the distinction between isolating laypeople from critical scholarship and insulating them from critical scholarship.

One thing that comes to mind, however, is that isolating them means discouraging them from reading any kind of critical scholarship at all (this would be dumbing down presumably) and insulating them means mediating between them and critical scholarship as authoritative interpretors.

It’s interesting what is seen as ‘dumbing down.’ And what is not.


#3

Two passages–not books!

This writer is Evangelical. He refers to an ‘academy.’ Not a magisterium but an academy. Evidently the academy interprets Scripture according to some sort of scholarly tradition.

I am not sure what is the distinction between isolating laypeople from critical scholarship and insulating them from critical scholarship.

One thing that comes to mind, however, is that isolating them means discouraging them from reading any kind of critical scholarship at all (this would be dumbing down presumably) and insulating them means mediating between them and critical scholarship as authoritative interpretors.

It’s interesting what is seen as ‘dumbing down.’ And what is not.

To be fair, his point is that when someone like Ehrman (himself an ex-evangelical who attended Moody Bible Institute) presents the textual problems with these passages, many Christians feel as if their pastors and theologians have betrayed them and hidden the truth from them. So he’s saying that lay Christians who are not scholars should be kept more aware of these issues. So far I agree with him.

However, that does not mean that we should throw out passages historically considered part of Scripture just because of textual criticism. I think that this issue shows up the fallacy of the comfortable evangelical distinction between “lower” textual criticism (safe and good) and “higher criticism” (generally bad and certainly dangerous). In the light of this willingness to sign away bits of Tradition (i.e., things that Protestants have hitherto accepted as apostolic in origin), the fragility of the Protestant understanding of Scriptural authority is apparent.

Yes, you heard me say it!

Edwin


#4

Hi Ani,

The “what’s missing” question wasn’t really about missing books from the Bible. That is another issue entirely. The question was basically “what information, necessary for salvation, is missing from the Bible.”

The point I am trying to make is that the Bible separate from Tradition is incomplete and vice versa. For example, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is in the Bible. However, without Tradition (i.e. the teaching of the Eucharist handed down through apostolic succession) the understanding of it being the actual “body, blood, soul and divinity,” is not necessarily understood.

Pax,
Robert


#5

[quote=rlg94086]The “what’s missing” question wasn’t really about missing books from the Bible. That is another issue entirely. The question was basically “what information, necessary for salvation, is missing from the Bible.”
[/quote]

Books are information. I started a thread on how much of the Bible folks needed to read in order to be saved. If all of he Bible needs to be read in order to be saved, then obviously removing books and parts of books poses a problem. Doesn’t it?

[quote=rlg94086]The point I am trying to make is that the Bible separate from Tradition is incomplete and vice versa.
[/quote]

Of course, as a Catholic, I agree with you. The point of my post was to point out that, in practice, Evangelicals of necessity have to agree with you too – and Wallace’s writing proves that.

[quote=rlg94086] For example, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is in the Bible. However, without Tradition (i.e. the teaching of the Eucharist handed down through apostolic succession) the understanding of it being the actual “body, blood, soul and divinity,” is not necessarily understood.
[/quote]

Scripture is a collection of open ended questions. The Catechism is a collection of yes-no questions. Would that be fair to say?


#6

On that thread that you mention, did anyone say to you that “all the Bible needs to be read in order to be saved…”?

Did anyone even say that some of the Bible must be read?


#7

Yes, but the point of this thread has nothing to do with the approved Canon of Scripture. :slight_smile:

Scripture is a collection of open ended questions. The Catechism is a collection of yes-no questions. Would that be fair to say?

Sort of. Scripture (esp. New Testament) is a collection of the teaching of Christ and the Apostles in written form. The Catechism (and the Tradition on which the Catechism is based) is a collection of the undersanding of the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.

I think it is similar to looking at raw data (the Bible) and a scholarly thesis (Tradition). You can’t have the thesis without the raw data, but without the thesis handed down by apostolic succession the raw data may be misinterpreted.

Pax,
Robert


#8

Please go argue that question on that thread.


#9

[quote=rlg94086]Yes, but the point of this thread has nothing to do with the approved Canon of Scripture. :slight_smile:

[/quote]

I believe the comments that I raised added to the thread in a relevant way. Obviously you disagree. Please ask the moderator to remove my posts. Thank you.


#10

Please mind your own business.


#11

Nice. :rolleyes: I started this thread, so I consider it my business to politely ask someone to take an off-topic remark from another thread back to the thread it belongs in. If you don’t want to discuss the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, then don’t post here.

Thanks,
Robert


#12

So, I guess I wasn’t clear about my thread.

What I am looking to discuss is the interdependence of Scripture and Tradition. Both require the other. The Church teaches that both transmit the Word of God.

I mentioned the Sacraments as an example. The Eucharist is in the Bible, but many people who don’t have Tradition don’t fully understand the Eucharist. They are missing part of the puzzle.


#13

Makes sense to me. I think you are getting little comment because your remarks are right on target and there’s no much to add.

Edwin


#14

I agree. What is one to say to somebody like Ginger who approaches the question with that attitude? “I’ve got my basic set of gifts, graces, beauty and insight from God. Why should I want any more? Why should I want to go beyond the bare necessities and gain even more of God’s gifts, graces, beauty and insight?!”

Why indeed. :rolleyes:


#15

The practice of monasticism is a good example.

It developed over time, and evolved continuously. The cloistered religious are recognized to be closer to God through lives of continuous prayer and adoration of Him. While based in Scripture, one won’t find say the Benedictine rule in Scripture alone.

And yet I don’t think many would argue that monks and nuns don’t tend to be deeply religious and able to teach us more about how to live godly lives.

Absent this living tradition, and the contributions of those who have lived this life, we’d be much more in the dark I think.


#16

I would agree that the bible is “materially” sufficient as to the truths needed for salvation. But it is not a textbook of faith or morals. It doesn’t explain every doctrine when questions arise from age to age, so it is not “formally” sufficient.

For example, it seems to me that the bible is quite clear on the importance and need for the Eucharist. It is also clear that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of truth.”

It’s all in there, but without the guidance of the Holy Spirit provided to the Church, many will miss those things.

Now, one might say that the Holy Spirit guides each person individually. If that is true of non-Catholic religions, then it would seem that doctrinally, He is leading in many directions rather than one.


#17

Well said, JimG. That is basically my understanding. I had incorrectly stated, or at least inferred, in the past that Tradition may trump Scripture, but this is not what the Church teaches. She says that Scripture and Tradition must be accepted equally. They both come from God through the Church whom He has entrusted with Revelation.


#18

you said it rlg

Once we all realize that both Scripture and Tradition come from the same source of God’s Revelation through His Word, then it becomes impossible to separate Scripture from Tradition.

As far as I can tell, non-catholics see the word “scripture” and think “the divinely inspired book that God authored”.

However, when it comes to “tradition”, they usually think quite the opposite. They feel (as far as I’ve seen so far) that any other tradition outside the Bible must be man-made and erroneous. On the contrary, because Holy Tradition comes from the same Revelation as Sacred Scripture, both equally inerrant, complimenting and supporting each other in bringing all of the Church’s members towards the Truth.

But it seems like right now that I’m preaching towards to quire. Is Ginger gonna talk soon in here? I really think this talk can help her in her journey towards the Truth. (in my prayers)

In Christ,

Murph


#19

In a way it’s comparable to family tradition. I know a lot about my ancestors and family traditions that are not documented anywhere. Stories that have been handed down, facts about the family, things that have been passed down for generations, and will continue to be handed down.

Sure, I have some letters that people have saved, but if I limited myself to those, and insisted that only that which was written is valid, I would know a lot less about the family. I would be almost like an outsider, limiting myself to “documentation.”


#20

Yes, Tradition (paradosis) is the handing down of the faith in practice, example and the liturgy. A good book to read on Tradition is Cardinal Yves Congar’s book “Tradition and Traditions” I found it very helpful, however it has a great deal of Latin and if you don’t know much Latin like me you don’t get all of what was said but I did get the rest of it. Anyway, this is a piece of what Cardinal Congar wrote in his book about what is Tradition…

“By the word Tradition is meant the teaching of the faith, the law of God, the sacraments and the liturgical rites, as handed on by word and example from one man to another and from generation to generation.” (Tradition and Traditions, Yves Congar pg 296) Quoted from J.A. Douglas’ book "The Relation of the Anglican Churches with the Eastern Orthodox, London, 1921, p 132)


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