Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You tell me: Is Tradition Clear?

Francis, in your opening statement you said:

'“What does tradition say?” is not easily answered.'

Your first question to me carried on the same thought, as if to express confusion about what the Tradition is.

I'm going to list some topics that historically have been at dispute in the protestant churches and/or cults who claim to have rediscovered what scripture really teaches. What I want you to do is NOT argue for your point of view, but rather tell us whether on that topic, what is clearer. Either it will be clearer (a) what scripture's position is, ... or.. it will be clearer (b) what the Eastern Orthodox Church's position is.

Remember, I defined "workable" in the thesis of this debate to mean being able to find the truth, to be able to do so easily, and to be able to do so consistently enough that it works as a rule in the church. Therefore, whichever is clearer is going to be more workable.

In other words, let's say for example you are a new catechumen, searching for truth, you've done say a few months study of scripture and a few months study of the teachings of the Orthodox church. On these topics, are you going to be clearer where the bible stands, or clearer where the Orthodox Church stands? What we need is either SA (scripture alone) or OC (orthodox church) for each of the following...

1) Baptism. For believers or for all people in the Church (infants).

2) Given the conflicting biblical data: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Exodus 20:4 vs “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat." Ex. 25:18, is it appropriate to have images in a religious setting?

3) Worship. Should it be liturgical, or should it follow the regulative principle, or should it adapt to the prevailing culture like modern protestant churches?

4) Is the Lord's supper, the communion, purely a symbol as Zwingly taught, or is Christ "with, on or under" the elements as Lutherans teach, or is it really the Lord's body and blood?

5) The Canon. Is the exact boundaries of the canon clearer from scripture, or from the Church?

6) Church polity. Is the organization of the church clearer from scripture's teaching, or in the Orthodox church?

7) That God is one in being and three in persons. Is it clearer in scripture or in the creeds and councils of the Orthodox Church?

8) Given the sketchy data in the bible concerning Sunday worship, let alone as a Sabbath day of rest, is it appropriate to abandon Saturday as the Sabbath?

9) Does the Holy Spirit normally come after receiving rites of the elders in the Church, e.g Chrismation or Acts 8:17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them.

10) And finally, is the role of tradition itself clear from sola scriptura? This very argument we're having now, over the meaning of following the oral tradition in verses like 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Whose view on the role of tradition is clearer, scripture or the Orthodox Church?

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