Is church tradition authoritative?


There is authority in the church, but not the kind you envision.

(George Brooks) #22

You folks don’t expect to actually answer the ultimate question: which of the two is more authoritative?!

Nobody ever lost a bet by saying that either Church Authority or Biblical Authority is less than clear or cohesive.

The Catholic Church imposed it’s position on the hapless… and called it Tradition. The Protestant Churches, which are now notoriously legion, imposed its hundreds of position on the hapless… and called it Biblical Authority - - no matter which scripture was being contradicted in some other denomination’s Biblical Authority.

The only thing that seems certain is that the Roman Catholic Church executed many helpful reforms in the face of the Protestant Reformation!

And, the Roman Catholic Church seems to win points on “style” by having its prediction that multiple denominations will lead society into chaotic theological mayhem that inspires the thoughtful among us to wonder exactly what is Christian Truth if so many sects can exist - - all with equal fervor and zeal.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #23

Hence why I lean towards EO

(RiderOnTheClouds) #24

What do you mean?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #25

I actually don’t disagree, I interpret this verse not as referring to a type of ‘papal infallibilty’, but rather the authority of the early church fathers.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #26

Apologies if this has been mentioned already but I tend to see the early church as participating in the process somewhat like the scientific process. I explained it to one of my classes this way:

  1. Dogma- these ideas are the ones that have achieved the general consensus and withstood the scrutiny of the community at large. These ideas can be challenged but would be analogous to a scientific theory that had withstood extreme testing and accounts for a large number of data. New ideas can point out anomalies or things unknown, but must account for a large amount of evidence and history.

  2. Doctrine- this level is Analogous to the idea of a scientific law. Scientific laws help explain repeatable patterns and phenomena – but they don’t attempt to explain why they work the way they do.

  3. Personal Ideas/ Hypothesis- these are ideas that could be true but haven’t yet been fully tested or integrated into the existing body of knowledge. Overtime these ideas can graduate into doctrine or even dogma level ideas, but will be subject to intense critique.

So, I would want to personally separate tradition from dogma and that tradition can represent ideas that have not actually been scrutinized but just simply excepted as true buy enough people that it can easily be confused for the more rigorously tested Christian ideas at the dogma level. I’d highly recommend reading Allert’s book:

(David Heddle) #27

I sometimes remind my sola scriptural Protestant compatriots that most of us have at least one sacred tradition: the Table of Contents of the bible. Not all do-- R C Sproul used to say that the bible is a fallible collection of infallible books, allowing for the possibility of mistake in assembling the canon. But most of the Reformed, in my experience, believe the 66 books they deem the canon to be the exact set of inspired writings that was intended, no more no less. When you ask them how they (we) can be sure, I believe you get answers that are remarkably similar to Roman Catholic defense of RCC Sacred Tradition.

(system) #28

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