We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rome and “Tradition”

Roman Catholicism teaches that “tradition” is on a par with Scripture, and the claim is that said “tradition” has been passed down through the Apostles.  Let’s look at some sections of their Catechism, Part 1 (The Profession of Faith), Article 2 (The Transmission of Divine Revelation), section I (The Apostolic Tradition), beginning at paragraph 75 for context, and continue into section 2 (The Relationship Between Tradition and Sacred Scripture)

75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."

In the apostolic preaching. . .
76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways: 
-orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit”;

-in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing”.

. . . continued in apostolic succession
77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.”

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer.”

One common source. . .
80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age”.

. . . two distinct modes of transmission
81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”
"and [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions
83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. the first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.
Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.

As you can see, “Tradition” for Rome is supposedly direct from the Apostles and is separate from Scripture.  Rome claims that this was the view held by the early church “fathers.”  However, when we study what the early fathers actually taught, we find that Rome has completely redefined “tradition” when compared to what the fathers understood by the word.

Let’s look at some citations from J.N.D. Kelly’s book, Early Christian Doctrines,  pages 36-46.  These demonstrate that what the early church fathers called “tradition” is actually Scripture and not what Rome claims.

[Tertullian] insisted that Christians must not pick and choose doctrines according to their whims; their sole authorities were the apostles, who had themselves faithfully transmitted Christ’s teaching.  Both [Tertullian and Irenaeus] on occasion described this original message as tradition, using the word to denote the teaching delivered by the apostles, without any implied contrast between tradition and Scripture.  p.36

On the other hand, Irenaeus took it for granted that the apostolic tradition had also been deposited in written documents.  As he says, “what the apostles at first proclaimed by word of mouth, they afterwards by God’s will conveyed to us in Scriptures.” pp. 37-38

Did Irenaeus then subordinate Scripture to unwritten tradition?…. his real defense of orthodoxy was founded on Scripture.  Indeed, tradition itself, on his view, was confirmed by Scripture, which was “the foundation and pillar of our faith.”  Secondly, Irenaeus admittedly suggested that a firm grasp of “the canon of truth” received at baptism would prevent a man from distorting the sense of Scripture.  But this “canon,” so far from being something distinct from Scripture, was simply a condensation of the message contained in it. … The whole point of his teaching was, in fact, that Scripture and the Church’s unwritten tradition are identical in content, both being vehicles of the revelation. 
pp. 38-39

[Tertullian] was emphatic that no secret tradition existed, and that it was incredible that the apostles did not know, or failed to pass on, the revelation in its entirety. p.40

Like Irenaeus, Tertullian is convinced that Scripture is consonant in all its parts, and that its meaning should be clear if it is read as a whole.  But where controversy with heretics breaks out, the right interpretation can be found only where the true Christian faith and discipline have been maintained, i.e. in the Church.  The heretics, he complained, were able to make Scripture say what they liked because they disregarded the regula.  p.40

It was the Bible, declared Clement of Alexandria about A.D. 200, which as interpreted by the Church, was the source of Christian teaching.  His greater disciple Origen was a thorough-going Biblicist who appealed again and again to Scripture as the decisive criterion of dogma.  The Church drew her catechetical material, he stated, from the prophets, the gospels and the apostles’ writings; her faith, he suggested, was buttressed by Holy Scripture supported by common sense.  “The holy and inspired Scriptures,” wrote Athanasius a century later, “are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth”; while his contemporary, Cyril of Jerusalem, laid it down that “with regard to the divine and saving mysteries of faith no doctrine, however trivial, may be taught without the backing of the divine Scriptures…. For our saving faith derives its force, not from capricious reasonings, but from what may be proved out of the Bible.”  Later in the same century John Chrysostom bade his congregation seek no other teacher that the oracles of God; everything was straightforward and clear in the Bible, and the sum of necessary knowledge could be extracted from it.  In the West Augustine declared that “in the plain teaching of Scripture we find all that concerns our belief and moral conduct”; while a little later Vincent of Lerins (d. c. 450) took it as an axiom the Scriptural canon was “sufficient, and more than sufficient, for all purposes.”  pp.42-43

Further, it was everywhere taken for granted that, for any doctrine to win acceptance, it had first to establish its Scriptural basis.  p. 46

So you see, nowhere do the early church fathers see any “tradition” as separate and distinct from the Scripture.  Yet Rome makes such a claim so as to give support to their heretical doctrines, such as all the Marian dogmas, transubstantiation, the priesthood, the papacy, the Magisterium, et al.

Roman Catholicism is based on HUMAN tradition originating in a corrupt organization, developing dogmas designed to control the people.  Roman Catholicism is not Christian teaching.


Jessie Lange said...

Hi Glenn,

Nicely done, as usual! Be sure to check out my article on Roman Catholic tradition:

If you have any thoughts that you desire to express on my article, then feel free to do so.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Jessie,

That article is missing.

Could you email me at jude3.gctwm@yahoo.com? I have some questions about your blog (excellent stuff, by the way!)

Jessie Lange said...

Hello Glenn,

My apologies for sending you a non-existent link to an article on my blog pertaining to the subject of Roman Catholic "Sacred Tradition". Yesterday, I decided to browse through all of my blog posts in search of possibly dead links or grammatical errors. As a result of my search, I discovered that I had accidentally published the same article twice. So I deleted it. Hence, I think that the problem is that I gave you a link to my deleted article on Roman Catholic Tradition. Try this link:

Concerning your request for me to email you, I am not exactly sure how to email somebody who is a member of a different search engine. While I have a Google Plus profile and use Gmail, you apparently use Yahoo. I don't know how to send people emails in that manner. Perhaps I could give you my email address? How about publicly asking your questions regarding my blog?

Would you mind if I took your citations from church historian J.N.D Kelly's book and posted them on my blog in article format? I believe them to be pretty informative.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Jessie,

That link just went to your blog rather to an article. Doing some searching I think this might be the one you referred to:
I'm just trying to get the right link to correspond with the topic of this post. :)

My email isn't linked with any search engine - it's just an email I got through Yahoo so as to have an email dedicated to my blogs rather than our family email.

As for the questions, I just didn't want to get in an off-topic conversation in the comment string, if that's okay. I did a lot of looking over you blog and am now following it.

Yes, you can cite anything you find on my blogs :)

Jessie Lange said...


Well, thanks for having the willingness to check out my blog and for giving me the permission to cite that church historian! I surely hope that you find my article on Roman Catholic Tradition insightful. If you feel the need to ask questions or mention any additional points on the topic, then feel free to comment!

You said that you started following my blog. How did you do that? I am asking because it is not showing up on my blog page. Usually, people who want to follow my blog do so by following my Google Plus profile. But I am no genius at technology, even though I am just a youth!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Google following became useless a couple years ago when they changed this with blogspot. With my blog I added the ability to follow by email or RSS feed. I used to be able to follow other blogs by RSS feed, but then that feature was dropped from my iMac without an app I'd have to pay for. SO, I "cheat" for following blogs without email signup; I made a "daily following" folder in my favorites and have quite a few blog home-page links there. So every morning when I check my emails and news feeds, I also go through my daily reading links!

Just a youth? Now you really have me curious.

Questions I have I guess I'll just put here in the comment string (if you prefer to answer via email, go for it):
1. You've got tons of stuff, many on the same day, that must have taken one heck of a long time to put together. So did you have previous blog that you've transferred these from.

2. What got you interested in this sort of apologetics?

3. Do you have a history with Romanism or Mormonism or do you just have a particular interest in exposing their teachings?

Just for starters :)

Jessie Lange said...

Hi Glenn,

Alright, it appears to me that I DO have some questions to answer. Please forgive me if my reply to you is too lengthy. I tend to possess many thoughts that I wish to express succinctly.

No, I did not compile my information on theological topics from a previous website because I did not own one prior to establishing a blog. I simply took notes with pen and paper to write drafts of various essays on different topics pertaining to the sphere of religion. After spending a period of three years studying theology on my own, I decided to transfer all of my information to a blog format. I have also gone straight to publishing articles on my blog without writing any rough drafts on paper. I have discovered that solely typing up my articles on the internet is a much quicker process for assembling my materials.

As for what got me delving into the realm of apologetics, I am not exactly sure if I am able to identify a "specific" cause which lead me up to a point of interest. I guess that I could say that my conscience convicted me to move in such a direction. Perhaps the grandiloquent claims of Roman Catholicism led me into conducting an investigation on doctrine? In either result, I ended up being intellectually grounded in my faith.

As for your third question, I would have to say that I have had plenty of experience with Roman Catholicism, for I was educated in a Catholic school. In fact, I had almost converted to Romanism. Yes, I do have a passion for exposing the false teachings of groups such as the Mormons and Christadelphians. After all, the soul is too precious of a thing to lose. By the way, I also do general Christian apologetics. My personal theological studies were by no means limited to a particular scope of Christianity.

Did you get saved from an aberrant professing Christian sect like the ones listed above in my reply? If you converted from a false religion, then what did it take for you to make such a move? Was it difficult?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Jessie,

Well, that answers some of my curiosity! I just thought it was unusual to have so many posts already with a new blog, especially when many were on the same day.

The question about why the interest in apologetics is because so many, like me, got into it due to previous experience in cults.

To respond to your question, I am an ex-Mormon, and after I became a Christin I wanted to reach Mormons with the truth, so that was my first foray into apologetics. I have the short version of my story here:

On the right side of my blog you will see labels, and the 4th label down is "About me" -- skim through those an you should get a pretty good picture of my whys and wherefores. :)

Jessie Lange said...

If ANYBODY is interested in viewing concise biblical commentaries on Sola Scriptura proof-texts, then be sure to check these out: https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/04/luke-11-4-sola-scriptura.html