Tradition and tradition


And which scripture alone advocate holds “true to the teachings of Christ?”

You’re suggesting, albeit covertly, that “sola scriptura” (I find it silly to use Latin phrases for this stuff shrug) necessitates that the truth is not absolute. Let’s look at it this way – even in the Catholic church, with the supposedly infallible magisterium, there are some who choose not to believe the truth (as the Catholic church defines it), right? Likewise, with a non-physical religious authority and interpreter (God), people can also choose not to believe. The truth is absolute – it’s only the people who change their minds. Still, I really see no way in which this applies more to non-Catholics.

What he is suggesting is that basing ones beliefs only on personal interpretation of scripture, and scripture alone as their only authority doesn’t get us to what is the truth, and if it did then we wouldn’t have thousands of Protestant denominations all
competing to what scripture actually means.

You’re missing one critical component – to be led, we must be open. The more open we are, the more leading God does. The problem is, most people aren’t all that open. For instance, can you say noone in the Catholic church lacks something from knowing “all truth”?

What do you mean by openess? If you mean by openess, juxtaposition, then that’s what we are doing on this CA forum. If you mean everyone reads the Bible and gives what they deem to be the best interpretation, then that doesn’t solve anything and only rely’s on everyones subjective best guess. However, if we objectively look to see that there was a church Jesus established and see it also as truly as it was and it, the authortative church from the begining, we can juxtapose that with Mt 16:15-19, Mt 18:18, 1 Tim 3:15 and see which “church” Jesus is speaking.

So, the local religious authorities (priests) cannot be considered to be accurate, even in the supposedly infallible church?

Infallibility doesn’t mean every word uttered by a priest, bishop or the Pope is always accurate; they are sinners as are we, Rom 3:23. What papal infallibility means is when the Pope teaches on faith and morals, speaks from the chair of Peter Mt 16:18-19 (ex cathedra) and promolgates that doctrine dogmatically upon all of the faithful then, if those three parameters are met then that doctrine is considered dei fide dogma which means it is without error.

Also, what do you think God meant when he said that the people of Israel would turn from him, and that he would estblish a new covenant…a covenant in which his words would be written on our hearts. This doesn’t seem to necessitate a Catholic teaching authority.

Jesus isn’t addressing a church authority in Heb 8:8-10. He is saying the old covanent of the Mosaic law where they sacrificed bulls and animals wasn’t sufficient. The new covanent law of grace is one that is based on love. Jesus adresses the name “church” only two times Mt 16:18, 18:18.

In Matt 16:18, when Jesus speaks of building *his *church, certainly ‘church’ cannot be interpreted to refer simply to the local Matthean community, in isolation from the other Christian communities. (A universalistic outlook in Matthew is attested in 28:18-19 where the disciples are commissioned to go forth to make disciples of all nations and baptize them.) But Matthew also knows of ekklesia applied to the local community (18:17). It is interesting that the binding/loosing power to the disciples (18:18) is mentioned in the context of the latter, while the binding/loosing power given to Peter is mentioned in the context of the former." Raymond E. Brown, Karl P. Donfried, and John Reumann, eds., Peter in the New Testament, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg; New York: Paulist: 1973), 100." [Jesus, Peter and the Keys page 69]

“As the word ekklesia] is used in Matthew it has two slightly different meanings. In 16:18 the Universal Church is in view, in 18:18 the local assembly (cf. the apparent fluctuation in Acts and the Pauline epistles).” W.D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, vol. 11, in J.A. Emerton, C.E.B. Cranfield, and G.N. Stanton, eds., The International Critical Commentary, (Edinburgh:Clark, 1991), 629." [Jesus, Peter and the Keys, Queenship publishing]

In Mt 16:18 Jesus has the universal church in view and the only ancient and modern universal church is the Catholic church.



And is the Church not made of individuals, all of whom, on earth at least, are sinners? If all are unworthy, then how can you trust any of them? You make my argument.

You seem to have decided since there are unworthy sinners within the Catholic Church, even in positions in authority who teach wrongly, that ALL the doctrine that is SUPPOSED to be taught is therefore wrong.

No. Not at all. I am not sure you can even draw that from what I posted. If you compare what is taught against Scripture, it is one thing. If you compare it against a nebulous and untestable Tradition which you do not know but your teacher claims to know, then either you believe your teacher or your don’t. As we have seen that the teachers are not necessarily telling the truth, then there must be some other standard than the teacher that we must go to.

If sola scriptura is true, where in scripture does it tell us that scripture trumps anything? Scripture would need to tell us this. Yet in fact this is not what scripture tells us but it tells us to look to the Church.

As a Protestant one certainly needs to test the scriptures carefully and see if the teaching of the Catholic Church contradict scripture. And as you know from being around here long enough, Catholics can show not only Scripture, but the writings of the ECF to show that their interpretation is correct.

So really what you are doing if you choose to reject the Catholic interpretation is not testing the teachings against scripture and finding the Catholic interpretation contradicts scripture, but choosing to believe your interpretation over the Catholic interpretation of scripture.

Why do you feel compelled to defend Tradition by attacking Sola Scriptura? This really puzzles me. It is as if to say you have ‘A’ or ‘B’. ‘A’ stinks. Therefore ‘B’ is true. What if neither is true? You make no case for Tradition by attacking SS. I am pointing out a flaw in Tradition/tradition and what I get back is an attack on Sola Scriptura.

My argument is that we have Scripture and we have Tradition/tradition. The latter is problematic, so we are stuck with the former, warts and all. This should not be an argument about whose warts are bigger. There should be a discussion of why they are gems, not warts.


This, my friend, is a double-edged blade - and makes my argument. 99 statements of Tradition and one lie from hell in tradition, all presented as authoritative teaching.


Hi Truthstalker,

I should have used the words of the council : word of God

Thee is one word of God, either in inspired written form or not.



The Catholic Church is Guarded by the Holy Spirit 100%.


That whole cloudy thing is problematic. I used the word nebulous earlier. By its nature Tradition is nebulous. Catholic culture in some ways simply cannot be written down. Tradition is not a set of propositions as much as it is, I think, a way of looking at the world. But propositions seem to continually be evoked from it, and that is worrisome.

Tradition (big T) has several components. There is the actual apostolic teaching, faithfully (we hope) passed down. There is a consensus on what theology is as the result of centuries of debate, much of which rises out of the study of the Bible and the ECFs, who often used the Bible as their source, so one could say that this portion of Tradition arises not independently of the Scripture but rather is based on it, And there is the “culture” - a way of doing things passed on over the centuries, ineffable and is the Catholicism that you absorb through your skin.

And then there is tradition, which can sneak in unnoticed and is very hard to tell from Tradition for the lay Catholic. Liberal teachers will tell you that the Gospel is contradictory. The church has always fought superstition and ignorance and denial of faith, those who would put Christians back under the law. wolves out to tear the sheep. Where I see wolves allowed in by the shepherd, and paid by the priest to poison the flock, something is not right. So the lay Catholic who doesn’t know his epistle from his gospel (I actually heard an adult ask what the difference was) cannot tell the difference between meat and poison, between Tradition and tradition, because he has been taught to believe that the Church is trustworthy over against his personal interpretation of the Scripture. So the DRE is feeding the flock poison and they trust him. Unquestioningly.

No one can tell the difference between Tradition and tradition. Catholics will say that is what the Magisterium does. But, again, the Magisterium rules so infrequently on issues that only a very few of the thousands of issues in play are ever settled. The individual Catholic is not allowed to reject something that may be Tradition, believing what the Church teaches, and so he believes what the local church teaches, poison and all. He is taught to know no better.

In contrast concervative Protestants are taught to believe their Bible. Men are fallible, as are human traditions. I look at the fruit of both efforts, the Catholic and the Protestant, and I see who is learning the Bible. It is not the Catholic, who is learning whatever the liberals who are taking over the teaching apparatus of the church teaches them. It is the Protestants. The Catholics thus lose both the Bible, because they are taught it is wrong, and Tradition, because they are taught something else. So the liberals are breaking the continuity of Tradition from one generation to the next, and you cannot say they are passing Tradition on. In that sense it is being lost. Before my very eyes.


Ya lost me. Where?


How do you know this is not a tradition that crept in?


I’m going to let someone take it
from here…:slight_smile:


Ah, but we don’t follow scripture primarily. Jesus Christ is the Word and Document we follow; the scriptures and the traditions merely allow us to read Him.

This whole thing reminds me of St. Ignatius of Antioch, when he was talking to some sola OT Christians in Philadelphia who distrusted the Gospels as untrustworthy manmade tradition:

“When I heard some saying, ‘If I do not find it in the ancient Scriptures, I will not believe the Gospel’; on my saying to them, ‘It is written’, they answered me, ‘That remains to be proved.’ But to me Jesus Christ is in the place of all that is ancient: His cross, and death, and resurrection, and the faith which is by Him, are undefiled monuments of antiquity; by which I desire, through your prayers, to be justified.”


I was just going to blow this off with a “tradition or Tradition?” but it deserves a better answer than that. And that is that the Scriptures and Tradition do more than allow us to read Him: they reveal Him with a content that is more than intellectual. The Word of God is living and active, etc., and in the beginning was the Word, etc.

So Sola Scriptura is new? Here in Ignatius is an example of it? Please show this to the previous poster who claimed SS a thing of the Reformation. Here is evidence of the concept and practice in Ignatius. But I think you are quoting Ignatius in Philadelphians 8:2. This does not at all prove Tradition/tradition is inerrant and to be trusted over, or equally with, Scripture.

What translation are you using. if any? The word you have as “ancient” is archeia in the Greek, which can be translated as ancient things, yes, but also first things, or, as in Lake’s translation, “charter”. Odd for Ignatius to refer to the cross as ancient, given he was probably martyred around 100 AD - only 60 years after Calvary. “First things” might be a more accurate translation.


Sola Scriptura points to the Scriptures, which points to Christ.

Tradition/tradition seems to point to itself at times. In its better moments it points to Christ. But then I think its better moments seem to be when it resembles SS…




What is your definition of Tradition?

What is your definition of tradition?


The sad thing is, you might really believe this.

You wrote:

What you are telling me is that no one should trust the priests and DREs to teach them anything. They should, just as Protestants do, check it out for themselves.

So you agree that the Church is untrustworthy.

Did I write that?

But suppose for a moment that I did. What would be the result? The Catholic would not trust his priest or DRE, and he would research everything to make sure that it conformed to…to…to what?

The infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, that’s what. And if he finds that his local priest or DRE is off base, he can draw their attention to the official teaching of the Church or take up the matter with the Bishop. There are Church documents and 2.000 years of history to use as a benchmark to determine what is right and what is wrong. Infallibility protects truth because it limits the Pope and the Church in that teachings that are issued must conform to that which has already been stated. Nobody wakes up and says, “Hey, let’s issue a completely new doctrine today.”

The Protestant, on the other hand, has no way of knowing if his pastor’s interpretation of scripture is correct. If he disagrees, he can go down the street and find another church, I suppose, but how long before he disagrees with that pastor? And since the pastor and the congregant both acknowledge that neither of them is infallible, how do they settle a difference of interpretation? Who has the authority to settle the dispute?

Moreover, these pastors have no charism of infallibility…it was not promised to them. It becomes a subjective matter of finding a church where you can be “fed” the food that you most enjoy.

The Protestant can “check it out for himself” against the Word of God, but obviously, the past 500 years illustrate that personal interpretation of the Bible does NOT guarantee that everyone will arrive at the same conclusion about what it really means.

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


And this is where your argument is flawed.

What we actually have is Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium or teach authority of the Catholic Church.

Fallible interpretation is what’s problematic. The Magisterium is able to correct and guide as needed.


Sorry, I thought I made that clear. I am using “Tradition” as the authentic teaching of the Church as revealed by God and “tradition” as anything else that simply has been around awhile in the Church. The divine Tradition versus the traditions of men.


No, Randy, the wink smilie was to indicate that I know you don’t agree with this.

The problem is that the Catholic typically will not do the research. And if you find the “infallible” teaching of the church, what is there to make sure that you interpret it infallibly? You have only removed the infallibility one step and have solved nothing.

My pastor tells me to check things out for myself. I doubt there is another human being who has ever lived who believes exactly as I do, because I am continuing to study and learn, and my beliefs are full of incomplete thoughts, doubts, contradictions, and absurdities. But I trust Christ with it.

The Holy Spirit has plenty of authority to settle disputes. I wonder sometimes if this criticism concerning differences among Protestants, so prevelant among Catholics, might not be construable as some sort of slam against Him. You seem to say He is incapable of guiding the Church, so we must step in and do it for Him. He cannot speak, so send the Pope instead.

I wonder, is the claim of a charism of infallibility a tradition or a Tradition, and how can you tell the difference?

The Magisterium settles things very seldom, and settles very few things, while telling Catholics they cannot settle things themselves but must trust the Magisterium. You are not allowed to determine what is Tradition and what is tradition. It may be tradition that the Magisterium is infallible, but you have no way of challenging that. They say they are infallible because they are infallible?

Do you know that everything your priest says is right? Do you check out the homily every week? Is everyone at Mass encouraged to check out what the priest says against the Catechism? I doubt it. On the other hand Protestants can check out the sermon against the Bible.

Not everyone arrives at the same conclusion. Not everything is clear in Scripture. But there is plenty that is clear.


Isa 59: 20 And there shall come a, redeemer to Sion, and to them that return from iniquity in Jacob, saith the Lord. 21 This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord: My spirit that is in thee, and my words that I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.

Here we see God promising to Preserve His Word by word of mouth, Forever. Lets be clear here. God promised that the Messiah would send His Spirit and as a result His Word would be passed on from one generation to the next, forever, via Oral Tradition.

Unless GOD has failed then the Oral and Written Apostolic Traditions are BOTH Gods Word and therefore fully reliable.

From this point the rest of your argument falls flat.

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