Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tradition can be a good thing

'Sola Scriptura' as a doctrine has been misunderstood. For example when I was preparing for an essay about ethics I came across this quote: “No matter how seriously the church may take the authority of the Bible, the slogan of sola Scriptura is both conceptually and practically untenable, because the interpretation of the Scripture can never occur in a vacuum.” (Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 209) Hays here confuses the Reformed respect for tradition with the Anabaptist rejection of tradition. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is quite clear, we are to hold fast to the traditions of the church, which if true, merely echoes and highlights the pre-existing content of Scripture. 'Sola Scriptura' simply means Scripture is the single source of authority unlike the Roman Catholic church of the late medieval period which separated tradition from Scripture deciding that they were supplementary sources of authority. Hodge says “for an individual Christian to dissent from the faith of the universal Church is tantamount to dissenting from the Scriptures themselves.” (C. Hodge, Systematic Theology, I:184)