quod pro nobis traditum est

Thursday, May 17, 2007

the scriptural tradition

As one who is neither Catholic nor Evangelical, or maybe one who is Both/And, these comments on sola scriptura are worth the read. (You'll need to scroll down the link a bit.)

Apart from the intriguing account of the conversion of a prominent Evangelical, Fr. Neuhaus points out that it was St. Athanasius in 367 A.D. who "was the first to name the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical."

In other words, the Scriptures are never alone. They are preached, heard and prayed in the midst of God's people in the Church. They are recognized as inspired and authoritative by the Church for her guidance in a common tradition by the Holy Spirit since they are revelation of God Himself in Jesus Christ.


William Weedon said...

But let's do justice to our Symbols. The force of the SA's insistence that Scripture alone determines articles of faith is that the Church (or what goes by that name) is not free to create new articles of faith, but is obligated to pass on the faith "once delivered to the saints." This faith the Spirit has provided us in the inspired writings of the Apostle that lead us into the inspired writings of the Prophets with the joy of a Christological lens.

Rome is not being true to HERSELF when she introduces into the tradition that which is not and cannot be grounded in the Apostles' witness.

Years and years ago, Marquart had a brilliant little piece titled something like: "Let's Ask Scripture and Tradition About Scripture and Tradition." It was stunning and showed that BOTH the Sacred Scriptures and the Tradition of the Holy Church teach that Word of God, written for us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is the touchstone for all that the Church is to teach and in joy to proclaim for the salvation of the world. FWIW.

Fr. Timothy D. May, S.S.P. said...

These comments are well received. I did think of adding one last paragraph in reference to the Symbols, which reflect our understanding but decided to leave it end with the focus of God's revelation in Christ, or, as you state here, "... into the inspired writings of the Prophets with the joy of a Christological lens."

So the Symbols are fresh in my mind even though I made no mention of them here.

I would expand your comment on Rome to include Constantinople, Wittenberg, Geneva and beyond. Certainly, there are examples, some obvious and other not so obvious of departure from the doctrine of the apostles "once delivered to the saints." Blog commenting will free me from expanding here.

Your final comment from Marquart's contribution seems to be the very note I heard in the piece I cited. For example, after commenting on the Church living in fidelity to God's revelation in Christ he writes, "That is the community that, guided by the Holy Spirit, both produced and holds itself accountable to the inspired Scriptures of Old and New Testaments. To put it differently, the question is not Scripture and tradition. The Scriptures are part of the tradition that the Church recognizes as uniquely authoritative."

Therefore, when I posted that the Scripture is not alone it is with this understanding, that both the Church and the Tradition agree that they are guided by the Spirit in the inspired, authoritative Scriptures in teaching and proclaiming God's salvation in Christ. (This appears to be what both Marquart and Neuhaus are saying here.)

Regardless, your primary point is well made regarding the Symbols. In fact, it is the Symbols themselves that will protect the Church from dissecting a scriptural tradition from inside her midst and falling into a sectarian abyss. In fact, there is the concern among us that scripture alone may be mistakenly used against the Symbols. I hope this is not the case (and I know it is not here). In other words, Scripture does not live in a vacuum by itself.

Thanks again for connecting scripture alone with the faith "once delivered to the saints."

Blessed Ascension!