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Offline CDHealy

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Oral Tradition in the NT
« on: Mon Jan 19, 2009 - 10:13:19 »
That there is not only solid evidence of oral tradition in the New Testament, but that Christians were commanded to hold to the oral tradition (along with the written tradition) is also based on solid evidence, and I will draw the immediate implications of these facts.  Before I go further, let me state that the Orthodox reject the so-called "Two Source" theory, in which Christians have two sources of authority: the Scriptures and oral apostolic tradition.  The Orthodox do not believe this.  The Orthodox view is that there is only one Tradition, and that that Tradition is expressed in the infallible, divinely inspired Scriptures and in the oral apostolic tradition handed down from the Apostles to their successors.  With that clarification, let's begin.

First, let's examine the evidence (all emphases below added).

We note the preaching of the Gospel has always been by oral peaching, even if literary forms of the Gospel are canonized in our Scriptures.  So we are not surprised to hear St. Paul say to the Thessalonians:

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Because of this we also give thanks to God unceasingly, so that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you received not the word of men, but just as it truly is, the word of God, which also is at work in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)


Indeed, the Apostolic transmission of this Gospel was essential to God's redemptive plan for the cosmos.  The writer to the Hebrews exhorts his readers:

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[H]ow shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which in the beginning was spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him (Hebrews 2:3)


St. John echoes this:

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That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have gazed upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life--and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and we declare to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us--that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, in order that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that our joy may be fulfilled. And this is the message which we have heard from Him and we announce to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:1-5)


From the beginning of the world, God's redemption is communicated orally.  Not only that, however, it is also transmitted from generation to generation orally.  St. Paul writes:

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The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:9)


Note that St. Paul does not spell out in detail to the Church in Philippi all the things that they had "learned and received and heard and saw" in him here in his epistle to them.  He presumes a certain content to their understanding, a content embodied by his way of life among them, that he need only note in summary here in his epistle.  That is to say, there was an oral tradition in addition to his letter which he calls them to practice.

St. Paul goes on to say to St. Timothy:

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Hold to the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)


St. Paul doesn't say here, "Put into practice the Scriptures you have studied from your youth," but enjoins upon them the things they hear and saw him say and do.  Which is not to say that St. Paul would not want St. Timothy to put the Old Testament into practice; but it is to say that it was the oral tradition that St. Paul was exhorting St. Timothy was to put into practice.

Note also that this exhortation, and the following one, are from the very same text that will later claim that all Scripture (the primary reference here is to the Old Testament) is "God-out-breathed," and is profitable for the leaders of the Church in their ministry to Church members of teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness (3:16-17).  Indeed, it is ironic that those who misinterpret these verses  to teach the all-sufficiency of Scripture (over and against oral tradition), fail to reckon with the fact that St. Paul does not enjoin St. Timothy to "ask for the ancient paths of the Lord" (Jeremiah 6:16), but instead exhorts him to "hold to the pattern of sound words" which he had heard from St. Paul.  He continues to exhort St. Timothy:

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And the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be competent to teach others also.  (2 Timothy 2:2)


Again: St. Timothy was not enjoined to write about it, nor to disseminate the Old Testament or St. Paul's letter, but to disseminate what he had heard.  I don't deny the essentiality of the Scriptures, nor that Christians ought to hold to them and disseminate them.  But I am pointing out that St. Paul commanded St. Timothy to do something quite specific: hold to the oral tradition and to pass it on.

Indeed, that this keeping of the oral tradition is important to the Christian way of life is further supported by the letter to the Hebrews.  The author of Hebrews notes that the surpassing nature of the final revelation in Christ demands that we give earnest attention to that which we've heard:

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On account of this we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  (Hebrews 2:1)


Here, the emphasis on the oral tradition is clear: The author of Hebrews is writing that which will later be canonized as Scripture (and, I would argue, is Scripture from its initial composition) and could refer to the Old Testament Scriptures.  But he does not encourage his readers to give more earnest heed to the Scriptures, but to the oral tradition that they had received.  And that failure to do so would be for them to drift away.

The key to this oral tradition was its antiquity; i. e., it predates all the New Testament writings and goes back to "the beginning."

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Brothers, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. . . . Therefore let that which you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. (1 John 2:7, 24)


and:

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This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.  (2 John 6)


Once again, adherence to the oral tradition is essential for the life of faith--doing so will enable us to abide in the Son and in the Father.

Not only does the final revelation of God in Christ begin with the oral declaration of St. John the Forerunner, it ends with the oral declaration of St. John the Revelator in the Apocalypse, as Jesus exhorts his Church in Sardis:

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Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and by no means shall you know what hour I will come upon you.  (Revelation 3:3)


The Church in Sardis was called back to the oral tradition.  Once again, whether or not we hold to the oral tradition has eternal consequences.  For not only is the oral word to be heard, it is to be lived:

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Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you, of whom considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)


Indeed, we do this so that we may increase our diligence and avoid dullness:

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But we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, lest you become dull, but become imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12)


In fact, imitation is a frequent exhortation from St. Paul to his readers:

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Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. . . . Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. . . . Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. . . . Be fellow imitators of me, brothers, and look out for those walking this way, just as you have us for a pattern. . . . And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, in that you received the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Spirit . . . . For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus, because you suffered the same things from your fellow countrymen, just as also they did by the Jews . . . (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Ephesians 5:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14)


And what is it that the readers are to imitate?  The oral tradition as lived by the Apostles and those leaders who themselves are passing on the oral tradition.

The implications are clear:  Christians ought not merely hold to Scripture alone, but are also to hold to that which has been believed "always, everywhere, and by all" (St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory, 2).  It is essential to our life in Christ to do so, and if we are not doing so, we must repent and return again to that which the Church heard and received from the beginning.

The challenge, however, is not necessarily that there was an oral tradition--it seems even sola scriptura adherents would agree to that--but rather that there was an oral tradition in addition to the written tradition, and, further, what the content is of that oral tradition.

Here, due to the presuppositions surrounding sola scriptura, I am forced to articulate my case--if I am to have any chance as to plausibility and persuasiveness--within presuppositional constraints I do not accept.  If I argue for oral traditional content that is also clearly expressed in the Scripture, my interlocutors will reply, "Ah, but this is just what we are claiming: all oral tradition is confined within the written tradition (i.e., the Scriptures)."  If I argue for oral traditional content that is not clearly expressed in Scripture, then my interlocutors will reply, "Ah, but since this is not in Scripture, it is merely the tradition of men."  So, I'm sort of darned if I do, and darned if I don't.

However, despite this seemingly impossible scenario, I will, in fact, demonstrate that there is an oral tradition that is different from but in concert with the written tradition.  To do so I will have to confine myself to the earliest witnesses, the ones closest in time to the Apostles.  For the closer historically I can be to the Apostles, the more plausible will be my case that the oral tradition for which I am providing citations is connected to the Apostles.  Furthermore, I will also have to demonstrate that the oral traditional content I am claiming as apostolic is believed "always, everywhere and by all."  Since the earliest witnesses we have are few, demonstrating that at least two of these witnesses agree will have to at least plausibly suggest--if it cannot be conclusively proven due to the nature of the evidenciary limitations--that such beliefs were, indeed, held always, everywhere, and by all.

That being said, then, the following are some aspects of oral tradition which are not expressly stated or are obscure in the New Testament:

1. The extent of the canon of Scripture (Muratorian canon, citations by the Apostolic Fathers, St. Athansios' festal letter).
2.  Triune baptism accompanied with fasting, both by the baptisand and by the sponsors (Didache 7, St Justin's First Apology 61).
3. Only one (Sunday) Eucharist celebrated by one president of the presbytery or bishop (1 Clement 41; St Ignatios to the Philadelphians 4).
4. Orderly succession of leadership from the apostles (1 Clement 44; St Irenaeus Against Heresies III.3).
5. A specific order of worship with specific prayers recited (Didache 9-10; St Justin's First Apology 65-67).
6. Eucharistic elements are sacramentally the body and blood of Jesus (St Ignatios to the Ephesians 20; St Ignatios to the Smyrnaens 7; St Justin's First Apology 66; St Irenaeus' Against Heresies V.2,2-3).
7. Closed communion (no unbaptized communicants) (Didache 9; St Justin's First Apology 66).
8. The Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) is the Christian Old Testament (as opposed to the Hebrew, or as it is later known, the Masoretic, text) (St Justin's Dialogue with Trypho 71-73; St Justin's Address to the Greeks 13; St Irenaeus' Against Heresies III.21).

Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, and some items (Triune baptism; Sacramental Eucharist) are expressly stated in the New Testament but about them there is present dispute.  But it is, nonetheless, a list of substantive items.

And it shows, I think, even to adherents of sola scriptura, that the tradition of the Church is both more than merely the content of the Scriptures and is apostolic in origin.

Addendum

I have made reference above to St. Irenaeus' Against Heresies as a source for several of the items of the apostolic oral tradition.  Some might wonder how it is that I can claim that St. Irenaeus, who wrote his work c. A.D. 185, can lay a claim to faithful transmission of the oral apostolic tradition.  Let me cite one passage from Against Heresies to make this claim clear:

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4. But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time,-a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles,-that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Dost thou know me? ""I do know thee, the first-born of Satan." Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, "A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth. Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles. (Against Heresies, Bk III.3,4, emphases added)


In other words, we have this chain of transferral of the apostolic tradition: the Apostle John to St. Polycarp to St. Irenaeus.  If 2 Timothy 2:2 above can be delineated thus: St. Paul to St. Timothy to faithful men to others--then we may note that the transmission from the Apostle John to St. Irenaeus is three connections where 2 Timothy 2:2 notes four, thus being well within the literal apostolic exhortation (and of course within its intended meaning).

Offline s1n4m1n

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #1 on: Tue Jan 27, 2009 - 15:59:25 »
Clifton,

Excellent post.

Ken

Offline s1n4m1n

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #2 on: Tue Jan 27, 2009 - 16:48:49 »
Btw, look at my post on Deacons and the CoC

Its interesting that the only description of the work of deacons in the NT is of "waiting tables" with the Seven. However, Scripture never calls the Seven deacons, its merely an assumption "Bible only" people make.

katholikos

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #3 on: Fri Jan 30, 2009 - 18:35:25 »
I would add:
Common sense dictates that the entire first 5 books of the OT is oral tradition. After all, they weren't written until long after the time of Adam, Noah, and Abraham, so those stories must have been handed down orally for centuries before they we committed to paper.

Same goes for the Gospel of Luke. Luke wasn't around to see the events he wrote about. He heard those stories orally before writing them.


Offline Snargles

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #4 on: Fri Jan 30, 2009 - 18:42:20 »
Don't you think the writer of the Pentateuch was divinely inspired? It wasn't so much oral tradition that allowed Moses to tell the story of Adam, Noah and Abraham as it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #4 on: Fri Jan 30, 2009 - 18:42:20 »



katholikos

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #5 on: Fri Jan 30, 2009 - 18:46:22 »
Don't you think the writer of the Pentateuch was divinely inspired? It wasn't so much oral tradition that allowed Moses to tell the story of Adam, Noah and Abraham as it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Inspiration is not the same as dictation. The Holy Spirit is not some heavenly boss who called Moses into his office to take dictation. Inspiratrion doesn't quite work like that.

Yes, those scriptures were inspired of course, but the stories had been handed down for centuries

Offline Snargles

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #6 on: Fri Jan 30, 2009 - 19:04:37 »
While I have never believed that Moses or the authors of the Gospels took dictation (I have known people who thought that) I think that God had a hand in everything they wrote and that he filled in the blank spots and served as a heavenly fact checker.

When I read what I wrote it makes me look like a West Virginian Pentacostal but if we think God takes care of us and tells us how to live our lives then why wouldn't he have a direct hand in the recording of his word?

Offline extranos

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #7 on: Sun Feb 01, 2009 - 14:05:45 »
Clifton,
What are some of the Orthodox teachings that might be considered to only come from oral tradition instead of being from both oral tradition AND Scripture or only from Scripture?

Offline Joel, the Son of Pethuel

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #8 on: Wed Nov 18, 2009 - 13:48:01 »
Clifton,
What are some of the Orthodox teachings that might be considered to only come from oral tradition instead of being from both oral tradition AND Scripture or only from Scripture?

If by that you mean having come to us ONLY orally with not even a hint in Scripture, then that's a tough one (at least for me). I can't think of any teaching that is not found in Scripture in one way or another (although some are more spelled out in Scripture than others).

Offline trifecta

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #9 on: Sun Nov 22, 2009 - 18:17:54 »
Joel and extranos and other readers,

CD appears to be on hiatus, but he does list 7 traditions that are not explicitly mentioned in scripture, but you make an interesting point in that are no traditions that have absolutely no basis in scripture.

To be honest, I can only think of four: weekly worship on Sunday, the sign of the cross, and praying looking towards the east.  St. Basil mentions more, but you might not practice these.  The east considers the ways of worship more important than the (modern) west does.

  That said, there are lots of traditions that are just hinted at in the NT.  The best being the Trinity.   I would also add the NT as scripture.  Early Christian writings don't appear to put the NT scriptures on the same level as Scripture.

As for theology, modern westerners think their theology comes from the Bible.  It does, but only indirectly.  Things that are just hinted at in Scripture takes great prominence in Protestant theology--such as sola scriptura, justification by faith, while other more direct references are reduced -- the authority given to man to forgive sins, the importance of spiritual leaders. 

The historical evidence shows theology really takes off as a study in the third and fourth centuries--and we can see the east/west divide beginning here.   Before that time, theology was considered an outgrowth of worship, not study.

For we eastern Christians, tradition and scripture are not set against each other.  They are both parts of God's plan. 

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #10 on: Sun Nov 22, 2009 - 19:25:24 »
Yes, I have greatly reduced my online life to only a couple of venues.  Dan, I apologize for not replying to your earlier comment (and I sorrow with you over the Steelers' season this year. Sigh.).

I would offer a clarification to what trifecta has said.

The Orthodox do not, as does most Western Christians, see the Tradition as made up of two sources, written and oral, or, more polemically, Scripture and extra-scriptural tradition.

The Orthodox understand Tradition to be one seamless whole, Scripture being one aspect of it, as well as the liturgy, writings of the fathers, conciliar decisions and canons, etc.  It is the extra-Scriptural tradition which gives us the Scripture itself, and Scripture is to be understood within that tradition.

While one could point out some of the same things trifect does above relative to extra-biblical traditions, this again is to ask the question outside of the Orthodox framework, and to a certain extent to take on a mindset that is not Orthodox.  We do not play extrabiblical tradition over against Scripture.

That said, let me also be clear to say that it is the tradition of the Church that Scripture has a unique place in the life of the Church that is distinct (though not essentially different) from other aspects of tradition (such as liturgy, canons, etc.).  The Scripture is, indeed, authoritative in all its content in ways that St John Chyrsostom's writings are not so authoritative in themselves.  But insofar as St John Chrysostom bears witness to the mind of the Church on the meaning of Scripture, his writings share the authority of Scripture.

This is the key: the Scripture can only be understood within the life and witness of the Church.  It is not a textbook which we can pick up, apply the historico-grammatical method and get it.  It takes a life shaped by the Holy Spirit in the Church to "get it."  This is why, for example, so many Protestants miss the witness of Christ that is all over the Old Testament, but especially the Psalms.  They are attempting to read the Old Testament with pre-Christian (Jewish) eyes.  (Which is also why they miss the Marian reference in Ezekiel 44.)  That's all the historico-grammatical method will give you.  It will not give you the Christian understanding.

Offline extranos

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #11 on: Sun Nov 22, 2009 - 20:20:15 »
Hi CD, it is very good to hear from you again.  The loss today is especially painful, given the loss by the Bengals today, also.

Here is a question perhaps you or your brethren can answer.....how does Tradition differ between the Orthodox and between the Roman Catholics?  I think Tradition gets a black eye in the Western Church because of the way that Rome puts forth Tradition.  Would you care to clear this up for me?

Offline trifecta

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #12 on: Sun Nov 22, 2009 - 21:25:40 »
Hi Dan!

It's not an easy question to answer, because the differences seem to be semantic to me.  ::headscratch::

In general, we and the RCC view tradition similarly.  Rome tends to divide tradition from Scripture as the two sources of inspiration.   As CD says, we view them as "a seamless whole." 

We also separate tradition from, get this, Tradition.  The capital T stuff never changes; it is the faith given once for all.  Small t traditions are local traditions, such as vestment colors, song choices. etc.   I don't think the Catholic Church uses this terminology, but there are things that can change over time and in certain areas (example: celibate priesthood.)

We say that Scripture is part of Tradition (or more officially Holy Tradition).  This sounds offensive to some Protestants but in fact you do the same thing.  You read Scripture within the framework of Luther and Melanchthon etc (a tradition).   

Hope this is clearer than mud.

Offline desertknight

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #13 on: Sun Nov 22, 2009 - 21:42:51 »
As a Catholic, I tend to agree, Trifecta.  It is a difference of semantics, primarily.  We have to catalogue and compartmentalise everything in the West.  Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith with us Catholics, but Holy Tradition is just the means by which we interpret Holy Scripture and the two cannot be separated. 

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #14 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 09:42:39 »
Dan:

Noted Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin has a brief, perhaps helpful, overview of the two permitted views that Catholics may take with regard to the relationship between Scripture and Tradition (the two source view and the two modes view):

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=6804

The Orthodox view is probably closer to the "two-modes" view that Mr Akin describes, but again has some important distinctions.

I don't know if this is helpful or not.

Offline farouk

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #15 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 09:45:38 »
To me, claiming the supposed authority of oral tradition can be a cop-out to justify what is not in the Scriptures, which are supposed to be the believer's final authority.

To replace 'Thus saith the Lord' with 'Joe Bloke says', or even the Very Revered Joe Bloke said centuries ago, is not helpful.

The Lord Jesus said: 'Thy word is truth'.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #16 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 10:10:24 »
I'm glad for your words, farouk, because that means you are willing to give up the notion that "the Scriptures . . . are supposed to be the believers' final authority."  After all, you will not find that teaching anywhere in Scripture.  It's a manmade tradition from "Joe Bloke," if you will.

Offline farouk

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #17 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 10:14:29 »
CDH:

You may lie to your heart's content.

But the Lord Jesus quoted the Old Testament on numerous occasions as authoritative. He came to fulfill the Old Testament Scriptures, not set them aside.

'Thy word is truth'. (John 17.17)

The Psalmist said: 'For ever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven' (Psalm 119.89)

I'm glad for your words, farouk, because that means you are willing to give up the notion that "the Scriptures . . . are supposed to be the believers' final authority."  After all, you will not find that teaching anywhere in Scripture.  It's a manmade tradition from "Joe Bloke," if you will.

Tantor

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #18 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 10:16:48 »
This is what the oral tradition amounts to... unfortunately.

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Offline CDHealy

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #19 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 12:33:45 »
You may lie to your heart's content.

Tell you what.  Prove it's a lie.  Prove from Scripture alone (without any hermeneutical mumbo jumbo) that Scripture refers to itself as the believer's final authority.

I know you can't do it, because it's not there.  But go ahead.  Try to prove it.

And by the way, none of your Scriptures you cite prove the Bible is the final authority.

Keep trying.

Offline farouk

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #20 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 12:36:23 »
CD:

Read all the quotations made by the Lord Jesus, and by the Apostles, of the Old Testament Scriptures. If that does not inculcate in your mind a respect for the unity and authority of the Word of God, then I can't help you.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #21 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 12:46:22 »
You are making up stuff.  I never said what you are implying.  I said that Scripture nowhere calls itself the believer's final authority.  That doesn't mean one then doesn't have respect for the unity and authority of the written word of God.

But that unity and authority is just not the believer's final authority.

Offline desertknight

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #22 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 14:26:15 »
I said that Scripture nowhere calls itself the believer's final authority.  That doesn't mean one then doesn't have respect for the unity and authority of the written word of God.   But that unity and authority is just not the believer's final authority.

Nor was it to the Christians of the New Testment...

"Because of this we also give thanks to God unceasingly, so that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you received not the word of men, but just as it truly is, the word of God, which also is at work in you who believe." (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have gazed upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life--and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and we declare to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us--that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, in order that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. " (1 John 1:1-3)

"The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you." (Philippians 4:9)

"Hold to the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 1:13)

"And the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be competent to teach others also."  (2 Timothy 2:2)

"On account of this we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away."  (Hebrews 2:1)

"Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and by no means shall you know what hour I will come upon you."  (Revelation 3:3)


Apparently, passing on the faith through Traditio, was an integral part of the Christianity as stated in Holy Scripture.  Why do not believers in Sola Scriptura believe that!  ::smile:: "The teachings of Scripture are written down in the Bible, and are handed on, not only in writing, but also in the lives of those who live according to its teachings. The teachings of Tradition are not written down, but are lived and are handed on by the lives of those who lived according to its teachings, according to the example of Christ and the Apostles (1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15)."
« Last Edit: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 15:07:29 by desertknight »

Offline extranos

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #23 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 19:57:00 »
Quote
Apparently, passing on the faith through Traditio, was an integral part of the Christianity as stated in Holy Scripture.  Why do not believers in Sola Scriptura believe that! 

I would say that most Lutherans would agree with that.  However, it is also safe to say that the Church Fathers recognized that it was safe to declare the canon to be the highest authority.  I can provide quotes from the Fathers if there is doubt.

Offline desertknight

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #24 on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 - 20:23:54 »
I would say that most Lutherans would agree with that.  However, it is also safe to say that the Church Fathers recognized that it was safe to declare the canon to be the highest authority.  I can provide quotes from the Fathers if there is doubt.

As I'm a Catholic in the E.O. forum, I will defer to my eastern brothers and put it the way I think they would approve of.  The authority of the canon of Holy Scripture is not higher than that of Holy Tradition, it is inseparable from it.   It is the Church that created the canon, not the other way around.

 ::priest::

Offline trifecta

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #25 on: Tue Nov 24, 2009 - 19:59:27 »
Yes, desertknight, as an EO, I would agree! 

However, it is also safe to say that the Church Fathers recognized that it was safe to declare the canon to be the highest authority.  I can provide quotes from the Fathers if there is doubt.

Returning to the original point of the thread, I can't see the fathers' saying the canon has highest authority.  Firstly, written word was kind of high-tech for those days.  The oral tradition had a more of a widespread following.  Secondly, the church has the authority, not the written word.    The Bible says this in 1 Tim 3:15, Matt 16:18, Ephesians (the whole letter) and, as desertknight said, the church made the NT, not the other way around.





Offline CDHealy

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #26 on: Tue Nov 24, 2009 - 20:08:32 »
I would say that most Lutherans would agree with that.  However, it is also safe to say that the Church Fathers recognized that it was safe to declare the canon to be the highest authority.  I can provide quotes from the Fathers if there is doubt.

Since the Church, not the canon, gave us the canon, it seems circular to claim the canon has the highest authority.

Offline extranos

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #27 on: Tue Nov 24, 2009 - 20:52:12 »
Just a few quick suggestions.....Please keep in mind that I am coming from a background where Church Fathers are honored and respected....

Cyril:  For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures;nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices ofspeech. Even to me [a bishop], who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures. (Catechetical Lectures, IV:17)
But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is now delivered to you by the Church and which has been built up strongly out of all the Scriptures. (CatecheticalLectures, 5:12). Only accept and hold that faith (-) which isdelivered to you by the Church and is established from all Scripture.

Gregory of Nyssa • We are not entitled to such license, namely, of affirming whatever we please. For we make Sacred Scripture therule and the norm of every doctrine. Upon that we areobliged to fix our eyes and we approve only whatevercan be brought into harmony with the intent of thesewritings. (On the Soul and the Resurrection ) • Let the inspired Scriptures then be our judge and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas arefound to agree with the Divine words. (On the Holy Trinity)

Offline farouk

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #28 on: Tue Nov 24, 2009 - 20:54:52 »

Wrong supposition.

I would say that most Lutherans would agree with that.  However, it is also safe to say that the Church Fathers recognized that it was safe to declare the canon to be the highest authority.  I can provide quotes from the Fathers if there is doubt.

Since the Church, not the canon, gave us the canon, it seems circular to claim the canon has the highest authority.

Offline desertknight

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #29 on: Tue Nov 24, 2009 - 21:00:39 »
I'll bow out and let my Eastern brothers handle it as it is their forum, but to reiterate again,  1.  Holy Tradition is not separate from Holy Scripture, Tradition illuminates the faith that is grounded in the Scriptures.   2.  It is the Church that created the 'canon' of the Bible.  That does not mean that the Church can act without the buttress of Holy Scripture, but it does mean that the Church, from our Lord's founding of it, created something that on earth would be real and visible and would have binding authority on matters of faith.
« Last Edit: Tue Nov 24, 2009 - 21:34:20 by desertknight »

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Oral Tradition in the NT
« Reply #30 on: Wed Nov 25, 2009 - 12:49:31 »

Wrong supposition.

I would say that most Lutherans would agree with that.  However, it is also safe to say that the Church Fathers recognized that it was safe to declare the canon to be the highest authority.  I can provide quotes from the Fathers if there is doubt.

Since the Church, not the canon, gave us the canon, it seems circular to claim the canon has the highest authority.

Historical fact.

 

     
anything