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Title:Top ten list of why the Roman Catholic and Orthodox take the wrong view of tradition:
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Top ten list of why the Roman Catholic and Orthodox take the wrong view of tradition

Scripture itself is called "apostolic tradition" both in the Bible and the Church Fathers. It is wrong to assume every time the fathers used the word "tradition", that they are referring exclusively to "oral tradition" and not scripture.

The Church Fathers continued to quote scripture to refute the Gnostics and the Arians even after they misquoted scriptures of their own. The idea that the early church gave up on "proof-texting" to fight heresy and began to rely upon tradition is utterly false.

The "Rule of Faith" creeds drafted by the post apostolic church were 100% based upon scripture phrase by phrase. The idea that they had their origin in extra-biblical oral tradition is utterly false.

It is wrong to view creeds, like the Nicene creed, as proof that oral tradition continues today, since these creeds were in fact written down and being written, were no longer "oral" traditions!

When the Church Fathers made reference to a "oral apostolic tradition" separate from scripture, they always viewed such tradition as duplicating what the apostles later revealed in scripture as a parallel witness. In other words, all doctrines that originated from apostolic oral traditions were finally recorded in the text of scripture. The substance of Oral tradition doctrines is identical with scripture.

When the Church Fathers made reference to liturgical "traditions" that were not taught in scripture, they were optional and unnecessary things like drinking milk mixed with honey after being baptized, making the sign of the cross on the forehead, and never kneeling in worship. Although sola Scriptura advocates can confidently say the fathers mistakenly viewed such "traditions" as binding, Roman Catholic and Orthodox "tradition advocates" have no choice but to also take them as binding. Yet in theological schizophrenia, they claim the "tradition of the Church Fathers" must be followed, but then refuse to follow the specific traditions that the Church Fathers recorded.

Virtually all the apostolic fathers viewed a progressive sequence of revelation passing through three stages: 1. Oral teachings of Christ to his apostles. 2. Oral teachings of the apostles based upon Christ's oral tradition and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for new information Christ never discussed. 3. All of Christ's and the apostles teachings were recorded in scripture. The early post-apostolic church viewed scripture as the final process of complete revelation.

The Church Fathers viewed the scriptures as all sufficient and complete.

The Church Fathers believed what Paul said in Eph 3:3-5, that the scripture could be understood by merely reading it. They indicated that the scriptures themselves were clear, so clear, they even criticized the heretics for getting it wrong. If those outside the church and common pew dwellers are unable to understand the Bible themselves as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches teach, then why did the church expect the heretics to understand the Bible with their own human skills? (Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ, ch 20), (Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word, 56), (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 1, 35), (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 7, 16)

When Basil and the Arians both claimed their tradition was correct, Basil said, "let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favour of that side will be cast the vote of truth." (Basil, Letter 189, 3) This proves that scripture was viewed by the Church Fathers as the supreme court of determining truth, when traditions contradict each other. Today, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches each claim their tradition is the "true apostolic tradition". They would do well to follow the advice of Basil and let scripture decide!

By Steve Rudd

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