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Scripture and Tradition? Where does Tradition stand?

Loutzenhiser's picture

We will continue the 2 Tim and 1 Thess here. I will bring the last posts from each thread here.

Let me define the thread subject here. We all agree that Scripture is foundational to the church, but where does tradition stand and what tradition.

Some questions -

Is a tradition considered to be apostolical even though it is announced and defined at a later date?

Must a tradition have some other supporting evidence or is the church's "word" good enough for it to be considered canonical?

Is Dogma tradition or just a church's view?

What support must a tradition have to be canonical? (such as multi-church support?)

Are views and teachings about a tradition also tradition or just a church's opinion?

michael_legna's picture

Here is some support for these ideas

Michael -
That is your opinion but it is not the case since the doctrines were both know in the early Church long before the Reformation.

Loutzenhiser - please show support for you contention that these "traditions" were known long before the reformation.

Such as what scripture describes purgatory and the reason for it's existence. Perhaps Polycarp issued an epistle expressing his understanding of Paul's teaching on Purgatory. Just what is the earliest teaching on this Tradition? Same for Papal infallibility.


Here is some such support for Papal infallibility - remember what we are addressing here is not whether you agree with these men and their positions, but whether what they say reflects an acceptance of the rule of the Church and the Chair of Rome as being unquestionable and I think these statements support such a position as being held by men who were both preeminent in the Church and which are far enough back in time to show this is not some modern invention.

In 96 AD Clement of Rome wrote to Corinth to resolve a dispute over leadership there. (Clements First Letter in Early Christian Fathers, Cyril Richardson. Page 70)

On his way to martyrdom in Rome in 110 AD Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch wrote to the Church in Rome:
“You are a credit to God: you deserve your renown and are to be congratulated. Your deserve praise and success and are privileged to be without blemish. Yes, you rank first in love, being true to Christ’s law and stamped with the Father’s name. (Letters to the Romans in Early Christian Fathers, Cyril Richardson page 103.)

In the late second century, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons refute false teachings by referring to “the tradition which that very great, oldest, and well known church founded and established at Rome by those two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul, received from the apostles… every church must be in harmony with this church because of its outstanding pre-eminence. (Refutation and Overthrow of the Knowledge Falsely so Called in Against Heresies book III 3:2 in Early Christian Fathers, Cyril Richardson page 372)

"But since it would take too long to set out here the successions of all the churches, we shall turn to that great, ancient and universally known church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul, and we shall show that the tradition it has received of the apostles and the faith that it preaches to men has come down to our time through the regular succession of its bishops; and thus we shall confute all those who, in whatever way, whether by self-complacency, vainglory, blindness or error, enter into unauthorized assemblies. For it is with this Roman church, by reason of its more powerful pre-eminence that every other church, that is to say all the faithful everywhere, ought to agree, inasmuch as in this church the apostolic tradition has been preserved continuously by those who come from everywhere." St. Irenaeus ("Against All Heresies," c. 180 A.D.)

In 250 AD Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage wrote the following “It is on Peter that Jesus builds the church, and to him that He entrusts the sheep to feed. And although Heassigns power to all the apostles, yet he found a single chair, thus establishing by His own authority the source and hallmarkof the churches’ oneness. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter and it is thus made clear that there is but one church and one chair. If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the church is built, has he still confidence that he is in the church? (On the Unity of the Catholic Church in The Faith of the Early Fathers, vol 1 W.A. Jurgens page 220-221)

"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures." St. Ephraim of Syria ("Homily 4," c. 351 A.D.)

"In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter, the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head--that is why he is also called Cephas ['Rock']--of all the apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would [presume to] set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. . . . Recall, then, the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church." St. Optatus ("The Schism of the Donatists," c. 367 A.D.)

"They (the Novatian heretics) have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven (by the sacrament of confession) even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter: 'I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" St. Ambrose of Milan ("On Penance," 388 A.D.)

St. Augustine is often quoted as saying - "Rome has spoken; the case is closed." But it is not strictly true that he said that, though the meaning behind his true comments is precisely that as even Philip Schaff the vehemently anti-Catholic historian admits in the Protestant edition of the NPNF.

"Hence the famous word: 'Roma locuta est, causa finita est,' which is often quoted as an argument for the modern Vatican dogma of papal infallibility. But it is not found in this form, though we may admit that it is an epigrammatic condensation of sentences of Augustin. The nearest approach to it is in his Sermon CXXXI [131]...." (NPNF Series 1, Volume 1, page 21, which appears below)

The predicate of infallibility alone he does not plainly bring forward; he assumes a progressive correction of earlier councils by later; and in the Pelagian controversy he asserts the same independence towards pope Zosimus, which Cyprian before him had shown towards pope Stephen in the controversy on heretical baptism, with the advantage of having the right on his side, so that Zosimus found himself compelled to yield to the African church. But after 21the condemnation of the Pelagian errors by the Roman see (418), he declared that “the case is finished, if only the error were also finished.”64

I would not suggest these are proofs of Papal infallibility ( that comes from scripture) but they do show these men were familiar with the idea.




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