The Problem with Oral Traditions

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Dr. Walter, Nov 10, 2011.

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  1. Dr. Walter

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    Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time......22 But I say unto you, - Mt. 5:21,22

    Oral traditions were passed down generation to generation along with the copying of the Old Testament Scriptures.

    However, the weakness of any and all oral traditions is that they depend upon fallible and uninspired human beings to correctly convey them from person to person and from generation to generation.

    The oral traditions of the elders that came down to the time of Christ and the Apostles were so corrupted that both Jesus and the apostles had to correct them and/or condemn them (Mt. 15).

    The Pharisees regarded their oral traditions EXACTLY like Rome regards its oral traditions. Both believed that oral traditions were indispensable for rightly interpreting the scriptures instead of vice versa. Christ believed in the final authority of scriptures over traditions. Neither did Christ esteem oral traditions on any kind of level with scriptures or inspired as scriptures.

    Neither Christ or the Apostles ever once referred to any oral tradition as their source of authority for doctrine or practice. Never once, do you read that Christ or the Apostles ever said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them...." as authorized words for any doctrine or pratice. Never once, do you read that Christ or the Apostles ever said, "The traditons of the elders says....." as authorized words for any doctrine or practice.

    However, Christ and the apostles spoke and wrote by INSPIRATION and thus were capable of providing the correction and rejection. This is not true with Post-Apostolic Christianity. There are no INSPIRED prophets to correct perverted Ante-Nicene oral traditions.

    For example, look at the conspicuous flat contradictions between Clement of Rome versus Clement of Corinth in regard to what the Roman Catholic Church regards as one of its most cherished orthodox interpretation of John 6 and the statement about eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ:

    Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: "Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood; " describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise, by means of which the Church, like a human being consisting of many members, is refreshed and grows, is welded together and compacted of both,--of faith, which is the body, and of hope, which is the soul; as also the Lord of flesh and blood. For in reality the blood of faith is hope, in which faith is held as by a vital principle. - Clement of Alexandria

    Thus in many ways the Word is figuratively described, as meat, and flesh, and food, and bread, and blood, and milk. The Lord is all these, to give enjoyment to us who have believed on Him. Let no one then think it strange, when we say that the Lord's blood is figuratively represented as milk. For is it not figuratively represented as wine? "Who washes," it is said, "His garment in wine, His robe in the blood of the grape." In His Own Spirit He says He will deck the body of the Word; as certainly by His own Spirit He will nourish those who hunger for the Word. - Clement of Alexandria


    "The Blood of the Lord, indeed, is twofold. There is His corporeal Blood, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and His spiritual Blood, that with which we are anointed. That is to say, to drink the Blood of Jesus is to share in His immortality. The strength of the Word is the Spirit just as the blood is the strength of the body. Similarly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. The one, the Watered Wine, nourishes in faith, while the other, the Spirit, leads us on to immortality. The union of both, however, - of the drink and of the Word, - is called the Eucharist, a praiseworthy and excellent gift. Those who partake of it in faith are sanctified in body and in soul. By the will of the Father, the divine mixture, man, is mystically united to the Spirit and to the Word.", - Clement of Rome

    Now, some will object that my versions above are not the proper one but it is this or that one. EXACTLY MY POINT - confusion!

    Post Apostolic Christianity has no INSPIRED prophets to determine opposing readings, correct or condemn its traditions.

    This is precisely why Peter, while yet alive, explicitly states that prophetic scriptures are "MORE SURE" than his own apostolic oral tradition (2 Pet. 1:17-19).

    This is precisely why Paul, said that "all scriptures were given by inspiration of God" so that the "man of God" would be throughly or thoroughly, meaning completely furnished for "doctrine" and "instruction" and "correction" and "reproof" unto "ALL GOOD WORKS" without including traditions.

    Common sense dictates that if you merely line 20 people up in single file and ask the first person in line to communicate in the ear of the next person in line merely a 20 word sentence that by the time it has reached the 20th person it is something quite different than what was first given.

    This analogy does not even compare to the mass of information recognized by Rome as apostolic oral traditions supposedly passed from person to person, congregation to congregations, generation to generation that Rome calls sacred tradtion. Yet, unlike Christ and the Apostles, Rome has no INSPIRED PROPHETS to correct, condemn and filter through its traditions but relies on the same type of UNINSPIRED fallible human beings that passed them down in the first place.

    The oral traditions of the Apostles were designed to be transitional until the apostolic scriptures REPLACED them (2 Pet. 2:19; 2 Tim. 3;16; Isa. 8:16 with Rev. 1:3; 22:18-19). Once oral tradition becomes written scripture then the rule of scripture has been and will always be:

    Isa. 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
     
    #1 Dr. Walter, Nov 10, 2011
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  2. billwald

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    When did the oral NT tradition become scripture and what was the process?
     
  3. lakeside

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    Oral Tradition isn't something added to Scripture [ Bible ] Because St. Paul tells us in 2nd Thess 2:15 that Tradition comes to us in two forms, written and oral. Paul exhorts us to "stand firm and hold fast : to both the oral form and the written form of Tradition. In other words , Jesus gave the Church the Bible along with oral Tradition as the two ways of preserving and handing on a single thing, the revealed Word of God.
    Dr. Walter uses as a reference of Rev 22: 18-19 but it doesn't disprove the Catholic doctrine of Tradition. Virtually the same warning is given in Deut. 4 v 2 . If we apply there the same principle that you want to apply in Rev. 22, we have a dilemma, because God would have prohibited the adding of anything to His authorative Words as found up to and including the Book of Deut. If that were the case , all subsequant Books of the bible, including the Book of Revelation itself, would be condemned because they were added to the Pentateuch. That means Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Paul and John and all the other writers of later Books would have the dreaded plagues '' added unto them" because they added to what was already there.
    Another problem ,is that John's phrase 'this book' is misunderstood by most Protestants because they think that John means the Bible , John doesn't imply that at all , he doesn't mean the completed Holy Bible as we know it. John wrote Revelation before the year 100, the completed bible as we know the Holy Bible wouldn't be completed for three more centuries.
     
  4. Jeremiah2911

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    Mark 7:7-9 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

    Colossians 2:4-8 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.


    If you believe mans words are more important than the Bible, you've taken a real step of faith [obviously flies in the face of the above Scripture]....but I must admit, if I weren't born again, I'd probably wonder myself
     
  5. lakeside

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    I am "born again " but the difference between your "born again '' and my "born again " is that i am "born again " the Bible way , while you are ''born again " mere mans way,which was invented in the 16th century or possibly even later.
     
  6. Jeremiah2911

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    Well howdy then Brother! Sounds as though we may not be speaking of the same thing..... I will say that when I was born again, I didn't have to have any man tell me I was born again I was born again the same way the 3000 were on the day of Pentecost which was a few years before 1600 I think :smilewinkgrin:......now how were you "born again"?
     
  7. Jeremiah2911

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    I just now figured out you didn't use the quote feature correctly, so I missed some of your post

    Ok, I can make small talk--how about I say I don't believe in tradition but I do believe in the Bible--if I consider the Bible to be God's Word, not mans? You see, you are going to give man credit for "preserving Scripture" whereas I am going to give God credit--you will also give man credit for the Church while I will give God credit....on and on that would go

    I did????? Are you copying and pasting? :)
    Now I know you are copying and pasting...I haven't said anything of the sort... When you say Catholic, do you mean universal? RCC? I don't try to follow any traditions of men--the Scripture speaks for itself--transubstantiation is a man made doctrine --we celebrate the last supper "as oft as we would" [1 Cor 11] which is 4 times a year--and the last supper is celebrated to remind us what Christ did for us redeemed at Calvary
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    It seems to me that the context is different for each statement. It seems to me that Deuteronomy 4:2 is somewhat like Isaiah 8:20 or just a general warning against inappropriately handling the scriptures whereas Revelation 22:18-19 has a more conclusive application in keeping with the character of the book of revelation as the finalization of history. There is no further revelation that carries the reader beyond the scope of historical scope of revelation and it is the final writing of the final living apostle. I personally am not aware of anything recognized as "scripture" beyond the book of Revelation in its historicity in regard to either its time of writing or its scope of revelation or any prophets or prophetic scriptures beyond The Revelation? Are you aware of any prophetic scripture beyond the book of Revelation in regard to its historcity in regard to time of writing and scope of revelation (from end of apostlic era to new heavens and earth)?
     
    #8 The Biblicist, Nov 14, 2011
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  9. billwald

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    >The Pharisees regarded their oral traditions EXACTLY like Rome regards its oral traditions.

    RIGHT! The priests and sadducces (sp?) accepted God's statement thru Moses as closing the canon (scripture) in Deut 12 & 13:

    Deut 12: 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

    Deut 13: 1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

    2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

    3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

    4Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

    5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

    6If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

    7Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

    8Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

    9But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

    10And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

    11And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.

    12If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

    13Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

    14Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

    15Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

    16And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

    17And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

    18When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

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    You make a very interesting point. The rest of your post continues on to validate your point. However at the out set of the argument you make an error on the premise which your conclusion is based. I have bolded it for you. Unfortunately, oral traditions are not dependent on men. But what did Jesus made the church teachings reliant on?
    and again
    and again
    and again
    and again
    and again Jude says
    and again paul says
    And Jesus again
    You see the place I'm going. It is reliant on the Holy Spirit and can be attested to by consitant teaching.
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    As you can see from my handle and logo and subscript the Word of God is very precious to me.

    I simply don't understand how anyone could compare any kind of traditions to the Word of God.

    I have read some of the church father's and there is just no comparison between those writings and God's word. They are not comparable on any level at all.

    I can pick up the Word of God anywhere, even in the geneologies and the Spirit of God bears witness with the Word and the more I study it the more light grows brighter.

    However, when I have read the Ante-Nicene and Nicene Father's I cannot do that. Some things you read in those books the Spirit bears witness but some is like reading the book of Mormon and other religious fanatasies. Other things are honestly revolting.

    I have read the book of Barnabas and the gospel of Thomas and 1 & 2 Macabees and find much of it useful in the same sense that I find a lot of modern day books and commentaries useful but none compare to the majesty, depth, unity and beauty of God's Word.

    For example, I like Pilgram's Progress but to compare it to God's Word would be a travesty of spiritual discernment. There are many modern Christian novels and commentaries that I find useful and edifying but to compare them to God's Word or worse yet use them as any standard to interpret God's word would be a travesty of great dimension.

    I have found that God's Word is its best commentary and the Holy Spirit is the best interpreter and only as a person, church or denomination applies that commentary and submits to that Teacher are they worthy to listen to.
     
  12. lakeside

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    "In these epistles there are certain things difficult to understand, which the unlearned and the unstable distort, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures also, to their own distruction" [ 2nd Peter 3: 16 ]

    " Many other signs also Jesus worked in the sight of his disciples which are not written in this book" { John 20 v 30 ]

    Quess the Holy Bible would beg to differ with you there Walter.

    2nd Tim. 3: 16-17 Holy Scripture may be what it says it is but it doesn't contain the "Fullness of the Christian Faith", as indicated by the above verses.
     
  13. The Biblicist

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    It contains the fullness of Christian doctrine and practice and that is why 2 Tim. 3;16-17 says the scriptures are sufficient for "the man of God" to be "THROUGHLY" or thoroughly furnished unto "ALL" good works. No mention of traditions as necessary or needed to "furnish" the "man of God" with doctrine, correction, instruction or reproof?

    Oral traditions were superseded by the Old Testament Scriptures and superseded by the New Testament scriptures. Oral traditions were always temporary and scriptures were always "MORE SURE" (2 Pet. 1:19) than prophetic or apostolic traditions.

    Jesus and the apostles rejected the "traditions of the elders" or oral traditions passed down with Old Testament Scriptures and the same is true with the so-call apostolic traditions.

    Just common sense demands that oral traditions get corrupted within a very short period of time and that is why Peter said scriptures are "MORE SURE" (stable) than his own apostolic oral traditions.
     
  14. lakeside

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    The Biblicist, get off it Walter, the Bible alone theory never was available for the Christians of the first four centurys ,only limited OT Scripture and it doesn't contain the Teachings of Jesus the N T. The complete Holy Bible is needed to fulfill 2nd Tim 3: 16-17 ,so it is rendered incomplete . As is your man-made religion.
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    It was available since Moses wrote the first five books of Scripture. It was available and recognized by Isaiah (Isa. 8:20). Scripture always has been final in authority for doctrine and practice as any new prophet was always tested by previous prophetic scriptures before his oral prophecies were accepted or his writtings were accepted as scriptures. Once his writings were accepted as scripture the writings always superseded the oral traditons as final in authority. That is why Jesus accepted scriptures over "the traditions of the elders" and that is why New Testament churches accept scriptures over traditions.
     
  16. lakeside

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    The Bible does not claim to be the sole rule of faith. Paul wrote, "What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). And he instructed, "Hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15).

    These oral teachings and traditions have been handed down and entrusted to the Church, and they remain as much a part of the full Christian faith as the Bible. To ignore them is no less a tragedy than to ignore the Bible.
     
  17. The Biblicist

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    This is always the process until scriptures replace traditions. Scriptures always replace traditions because scriptuers are "more sure" than traditions. Because they are "more sure" than traditions they equally always trump traditions because oral traditions by their very nature always end up disputed due to differences as can clearly be seen even in the attempt to write them down in the ECFs. That is why traditions are NEVER any better than how they are REMEMBERED by fallible uninspired men (1 Cor. 15:2 "if you remember"). Scriptures on the other hand do not require the fallible MEMORY of uninspired men and that is why they are "MORE SURE" for faith and practice and that is why they always superseded oral traditions.
     
  18. lakeside

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    Biblicist,the preferred method of communicating the word of God was not in writing but by word of mouth. Much of the Old Testament was known orally for centuries before it was written down.

    Jesus himself wrote none of the New Testament. He established a living Church founded on Peter and the apostles, and he told them to preach. We see in the epistles of Paul how anxious the apostle is about the welfare of the local churches he has established and how he wishes he could be there with them in person to guide and teach.

    In 2 John 12 we see explicitly in the written word itself how the apostles preferred to communicate directly with their own lips: "Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak, face to face."

    The Bible is a testament to the oral tradition that was alive and already at work. Our source of the revealed word of God is Scripture plus Tradition--a Tradition that the Church Christ founded preserves and teaches. Much of that Tradition was reduced to inspired writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
     
  19. The Biblicist

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    Of course the best method of communication for any living Apostle was face to face oral teaching instead of writing. However, Jesus selected the apostles to be witnesses of his doctrine and practice and promised that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth and would enable them to recall what He had taught them that through their words future generations would come to know Him (Jn. 17:17-22). The promise that their words would be preserved for future generations is placed in the context of the Holy Spirit's promise and SCRIPTURE (Jn. 17:17) as the fulfillment of Isaiah 8:16-20 (Heb. 2:3-4,12-13). Whenever Jesus spoke of "Thy Word" (Jn. 17:17) he was speaking of the scriptures. Peter makes this clear in 2 Peter 1:16-21 that the prophetic written word of God is "MORE SURE" than the apostolic oral witness and he commands them to "TAKE HEED" to it above the oral traditions.

    However, your whole argumentation repudiates Peter's inspired and authoritative command. You are saying the very reverse of what Peter both commanded and illustrated by his own oral tradition in contrast to the written Word of God.
     
  20. Melanie

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    Surely, tradition is valid as the Bible was not put together for quite some time after the ministry of Christ on earth.

    If the apostles preached without the Bible, Christianity would have been doomed before it really began.
     
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