Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tradition vs. Text

Check out this previous post for some context.

It seemed to be the consensus of the majority of the commenters on my previous post that when faced with biblical texts that lack good historical evidence we use tradition to determine whether or not it should be used in the work of the church.

Guess what, you're all Catholics! Ok, maybe not totally, Catholic, but a little bit.

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century was, in part, a "protest" against the Catholic church using tradition to interpret Scripture. They wanted to set Scripture over and above the authority of the church. Now you just said that we should interpret Scripture according to the tradition of the church . . .



Ryan Woods said...

But isn't it somewhat ignorant to believe that we can interpret much without tradition? I don't think anyone in your previous post was arguing that we should place tradition higher than scriptural authority but without tradition we don't have the trinity, we don't have the cannon, we don't have the roots to the tree of salvation (to borrow a metaphor from Paul in Romans 11).
Granted I'm not much of a scholar (especially compared to some of the other people who commented on your blog) but I've always thought that was a problem in the churches of Christ base. We had an assumption that we could enter into the text without any of our baggage (with no filter or paradigm whatsoever) and we fast forwarded from the New Testament church to Stone and Campbell as if there was nothing of value in between. I always thought there was a lot of ignorance in that...then again I'm completely ignorant myself...oh well.

rich jandt said...

Ryan has a very good point, Our traditions and our cultural situations are the basis in which we read the Bible.

I say that we are not able to interpret without our traditions. When I would write long boring papers about varieous topics or teachings I would spend a lot of time reading history or ancient cultural influences.

Remember the first century Church put tradition before scripture, because they didn't have the scriptures. All they had to work on were the prophecies of others and preaching of those who had been with Jesus.

Tim said...

I think we're seeing right now, as with Stone & Campbell, who disagreed with each other on many things, a time of great disagreement and reevaluation of our traditions on what is important and what is not, especially as they pertain to how we interpret the Gospel, and also what our actions are based on that interpretation. We've got a huge responsibility to stay true to Scripture while either keeping our traditions, or by throwing out the ones that hinder us from following God's commands.

I think we're in a time right now that is ready to swing the other way on the pendulum away from traditions. I fear we'll swing too far and forget the things that remind us of who we are and who we belong to.