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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Thinkingstuff, May 22, 2008.
Were do us baptist stand on Oral Tradition of the Church?
I would say that we have everything that is necessary for us to know from God written down for us in scripture. I would say that the truths we have given to us in scripture are adequate for us to be saved from sin. They are adequate for us to be all that we ought to be and for us to do everything that we ought to be doing. There is no need for us to look anywhere else for truth from God.
So what do you say when scriptures themselves refer to oral tradition or quote from extra biblical sources?
I know there is something like this in the bible. But they did not have a new testament either like we do. They passed on what they learned orally.
Theres nothing wrong with tradition as long as it does not contradict scripture.
6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Matt 15: 6b
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Even a quote from an extra-biblical source, by nature of its inclusion, is biblical.
That doesn't mean that the whole quoted book is scripture, just the part quoted.
I think this is what Thinkingstuff may have been referring to:
I think that Baptists have many traditions, that are not commanded by scripture. That does not mean that they are unbiblical.
1. Sunday School always before church.
2. Always singing the Doxology at the beginning of the service
3. Breaking up into age and / or gender specific groups for Wed night prayer meeting (and the church touts itself as the family church):1_grouphug:
4. Must list the entire order of service in the weekly bulletin
5. Communion is served only on the first Sunday morning of the monthraying:
Okay, somebody else take the next five:wavey:
Then it is talking about scripture itself, what was at that time to become the N.T. whether what the apostles taught is passed on orally or read from a letter they wrote. It is saying the N.T.
This statement was made at a time when all of scripture had not been written and the apostles were still alive. What the Thessalonicans learned they learned both by letters from the apostles and by the face to face (word of mouth) teaching from the apostles.
We can't have face to face (word of mouth) teaching from the apostles as to what their traditions are. We do have their letters telling us what their traditions are.
In the past we have traditionally passed on the tradition of the Church, orally. This is not to imply the tradition was oral but that oral was the means of communicating the tradition. This says the tradition is traditionally oral by tradition but also has a tradition of being oral. If we continue the tradition of orally communicating the tradition then I fear an oral tradition that is traditionally orally communicated. This means by tradition we'd have to stick to the tradition of oral which would leave our oral tradition as the tradition and we all know oral by tradition generally amounts to an oral tradition. Traditionally speaking, that's the way I see it...
Scriptures provided on request... :thumbs:
I don't know if you will find a unified "baptist stand" on oral tradition. You can see from the posts on this board that baptists have widely differing views on all sorts of things - bible translations, eschatology, alcohol, and standards of dress, to name but four. And take Salty's examples of "Baptist Traditions" with my own church's position on each one:1. Sunday School always before church.
We don't have a Sunday School. If we did, it would not necessarily be before the church service.
2. Always singing the Doxology at the beginning of the service
We have no rigid order of service, but we usually start with a welcome, prayer, and a hymn.
3. Breaking up into age and / or gender specific groups for Wed night prayer meeting (and the church touts itself as the family church)
Our prayer meetings are not on Wednesday night, we don't split up into groups by gender, age or anything else, and (although we love to see families) we don't "tout ourselves as a family church".
4. Must list the entire order of service in the weekly bulletin
We don't have a weekly bulletin, but because we meet in hired premesis, with nowhere suitable for hanging the hymnboard, we do print out a service sheet, with details of the hymns and readings.
5. Communion is served only on the first Sunday morning of the month.
We usually have the Lord's Supper on the last Sunday of the month, but this is not a rigid "rule".
There is no "central" baptist body that sets the rules and practices for local baptist churches, so when you say "Oral Tradition of the Church", which church do you mean?
There are several but for this thread I meand Jude which quotes from Enoch 1(Non-Canonical except for the Coptic Church) and another is Joshua which makes referrence to the book of Jashar ( which referreces the same events. It could have been quoted from to be placed in the book). Also as has been quoted previously : 2 Thessalonians 2:15. As for this quote:
Don't forget what Jesus also said to listen to the Pharasees because they sit in the seat of Moses in the same book of Matthew. I'm struggling with these somewhat.
Yeah that was confusing. Oral Tradition used as communication. Ok that's true but let's not forget that by Jesus day Oral Tradition was also an accepted method of interpreting scripture. Which is why we see several Rabbis from his period quoted in the Talmud. Though the Talmud wasn't compiled until a couple hundred years later. Though the culture was quiet reliant on oral tradition to explain Torah. Which is why Jesus (itenerant Rabbi) was sought after as well as for his healing abilities. Which makes sence when you view the lawers and the priest asking Jesus specific questions regarding the law (Torah).
Good point! And therein lies my problem.
It goes deeper than that in light of how many years transpired before the Gospel was first penned arguably by John Mark. With each Apostle off teaching from their memory and understanding, making disciples which were then teaching from their memory and understanding there was much room for error. We have scriptural proof of guys who began twisting and taking liberties with the Gospel as well as written books, like the Gospel of Thomas which further support error being disseminated. So yes, oral tradition was an accepted method of disseminating and interpreting scripture but who or how was correct interpretation policed?
We also know Christians in general began defending their understanding almost to the point of worshipping their spiritual leader. This is what prompted Paul to write in I Cor, “thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;”. We know there is error anytime we defend the man and not the Word.
The Jewish faith was one of memorization even to this day. You are expected to quote scripture and documents verbatim as a sign of reaching different benchmarks in your spiritual growth. Many believe Moses simply put in writing the stories of the tribal elders as he documented the bulk of the book of Genesis. He being educated in some of the best schools of his day was one of few Jew’s who possessed such ability. However, we now have orthodox Jew’s and the others…
I think we take for grated in this modern day our ability to mass produce the written word. We further take for granted the level of modern day literacy. These abilities have not long been the standard we are accustomed to today.
So in my view we really have no tradition to speak of. They didn’t have strict tradition when the Apostles were alive and we certainly don’t today. We have a few ordinances that we must observe like the Lord ’s Supper etc… but other than that I think the Church Body or Association determines other “tradition”.
Why and what does it mean? I believe Christianity is intentionally designed as a “custom fit” religion. Some people need the stiff regiment of the law where others can take a one verse rule like love one another as I have loved you and be fully compliant with the Lord’s wishes. Some prefer High Church and Ceremony type of worship where other prefer a friendly, loose come as you are type environment. Then there are all those in between.
I think all are right as long as the Lord is leading the Church and is accepted in the hearts of the believers… I also believe it is not the individual letters and saying of the word that we must understand as much as we need to know and understand the Word... As in the Word that became flesh...
Edited to add this verse...
1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Read the whole chapter of Matthew 23. Verses 2 and the first part of verse 3, which you are refering to here, are sarcastic or ironic. (Sarcasm or irony is something Jesus often used in regards to the Pharisees.) Otherwise they contradict what Jesus said in the rest of this chapter.
I'm not sure why you're quoting Matt 15:3. That verse make the commandments of God (scripture) authoritative over traditions.
I'm also not sure about the point you're making in regards to scripture quoting nonscriptural sources. Just because scripture quotes a source doesn't make that source itself authoritative. If it called a source scripture or quoted it with the intro "God says" or something like that, then it'd be different. But it doesn't.
Read that verse in context, too.
What are the traditions referred to here? The Thessalonians were suffering, and they were also being confused by false teachers who had, it would seem, even stooped to writing fake letters supposedly from Paul and Timothy. So Paul tells them to hold on to what they had learned from Paul and Timothy previously (This is what he refers to as traditions), both on their visits to them and in their letters from them, and in that way they'd be able to discern whether a teaching purporting to come from them was fake or not. If it didn't comport with what they'd learned previously from Paul and Timothy, then it was false. Primarily, it would seem from the direct context, he's telling them to keep on holding onto the gospel in the face of those who distort it.
I wouldn't think this is any sort of endorsement for some sort of general oral tradition. It's very specific to the words of these apostles, and the words they had previously preached to these believers.
Of course, the only source we have for Paul and Timothy's teaching is scripture itself.
There is a very good book on the subject that every Christian should read.
Memory & Manuscript: Oral Tradition & Written Transmission with Tradition & Transmission In Early Christianity By: Birger Gerhardsson
That book talks about how the Bible was passed down by oral tradition before it was written down as we know it today. For example the gospels were written down after the events took place.
I agree, I have always felt something that's right should be allowed to stand on its own merits.
Truth is true be it in the Bible or not...
You guys make some great points. However, don't you have a problem from quoting from a non-inspired sources (that's primarily fictional). That would be like be quoting from "This Present Darkness" as if it were true! How can that be condsidered the inspired word of God? I understand the bible was passed down oral until writen down. That's not issue. Genesis in the Torah was also transmitted orally until Moses either wrote it down or had a scrib write it down (unless you're under the opinion of the after Babylonian Captivity creation of it) However, there is evidence that there was an oral aspect of Torah passed down by Moses to the levites in order to understand Torah correctly. Otherwords authoritative teaching of the writen scripture.
You see this in the early church as well before the NT was compiled. We believe for instance, that the communion celebrated by our Lord during Pass over was his way of having us remember his sacrifice that He made for us. Ok. But in epistles it states that people in Corinth were dieing because they were taking communion un-worthy manner. How then are we to understand the leaders of the church who knew the apostles or were familiar with their teachings:
"They have no care for love, no thought for the widow and orphan, none at all for the afflicted, the captive, the hungry or the thirsty. They even absent themselves from the Eucharist and the public prayers, because they will not admit the Eucharist is the self-same body of our Saviour Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins, and which the the Father in his goodness afterwards raised up again. Consequently, since they reject God's good gifts, they are doomed in their disputations." - Ignatius of Antioch letter to the Smyrnaeans Very good possibility he had communications with a few of the apostles. Was there a teaching about this that was elaberated by the apostles and generally accepted by the churches that now we've ignored for lack of an oral authoritative teaching on the understanding of scripture? We baptist, and they are many, constantly dispute with each other about all sorts of things. Maybe Clement was right. I'm not sure I buy in to the smorgasbord christianity. The early church had this issue as well and they ended up being gnostic or under the Montanist heresy.
As far as sarcasm used by Jesus in this pasage please enlighten:
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and his disciples, Saying "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe that observance and do; but do not ye after their works; for they say and do not." Jesus is still saying to do what they say but not to act like them.