Spiritual Warfare Forum: Oral Tradition vs. Sola Scriptura
Oral Tradition vs. Sola Scriptura QUESTION from Wendy September 9, 2001 In a post from last year, you stated:
The Bible itself tells us that the Bible DOES NOT contain all the teachings of Jesus, and St. Paul tells us to obey all that we learn from Scripture and Oral Tradition. I truly believe this but, I have a friend who believes it to be untrue. Can you tell me exactly where this is stated? I need all the ammunition I can get (he is a fallen away Catholic).
God bless you!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on September 20, 2001 Dear Mrs. Wendy:
Sure. No Problem:
John 21:25 affirms that written scriptures are incomplete:
But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Scriptures that affirm that we are to obey Oral Tradition as well as Written Tradition: 1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 2:15
2 Thess 3:16 tells us to SHUN people who do not act in accordance with Tradition.
We must remember that there was no settled and determined New Testament in the first three centuries of the Church. Various letters circulated and were read at Mass. Some of these letters were later determined NOT to be Sacred Scripture, others (the ones we have now in the NT) were determined to be Sacred Scripture.
The Church determined the Scripture, not the Scripture determining the Church. And one of the ways that the Catholic Bishops in the 4th century determined which letters were genuine scripture and which were not was whether the letter conformed in its teaching the Oral Tradition that had been handed down from the Apostles. It is the CHURCH, NOT the Bible that is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15). Those who are looking only to the Bible are violating the biblical teaching.
Oral Tradition has ALWAYS been apart of God's Word. Some of that Oral tradition was written down, but only some of it. The Apostles preached for YEARS the word of God before they every wrote anything down. This was Oral Tradition.
Dull thinking fundamentalist, thinking in their typical one-dimensional way, think that Tradition is the traditions of men. They can't seem to get it through their thick skull that the Bible used tradition in two ways. One way is the traditions of men (customs); the second way is the Tradition of Divine Revelation. The Bible is a written TRADITION.
The Oral Tradition that we speak of CANNOT change and has NEVER changed. The Pope cannot make-up new dogma. The Divine Revelation ended with the Apostles and thus we must rely upon the Written Tradition to know what the Apostles tauight AND also upon the Oral Tradition handed down from generation to generation to know what else the Apostles taught since not everything is in the Bible, ACCORDING to the Bible.
We can know what that Oral Tradition is because we can read extant manuscripts from the early Church that affirms these Oral Traditions.
The fundamentalist can blather all he wants the bottom line is that the Catholic view is PROVEN by the early Church.
I like to ask the anti-catholic this querstion: You have a fine theory about what the Church should teach, how it should interpret the Bible, and how Christians practiced their faith. Please show me ANY evidence that the early Church thought, taught, believed, and practiced the way you do today? ANY evidence -- essay, a sermon, an article? There must be some evidence that the early Church practiced their faith and interpreted the Bible the way you, Mr. anti-catholic, say they did. Where is the evidence?
There is none. But the Catholic Church can proved TRUCKLOADS of documentary evidence that the Christians in the early Church practiced their faith the way the Catholic Church says they did.
But remember, anti-catholics are blinded by their own arrogance and pride. They have already made up their mind, don't confuse them with the facts cliche characterizes the typical anti-catholic.
I would suggest not getting into arguments with your friend. Tell him the historical and biblical facts and then give him up to the Holy Spirit.
Back to Index Page