Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One thought on Tradition and Scripture Inspiration

I do not have time to share all the thoughts I have come across as I continue to study tradition and Scripture, but I want to share one thought today. I have been reading and researching within the text of the Bible over the past couple weeks to see what the text teaches about tradition, about the formation and acceptance of Scripture, and the relationship between tradition and Scripture. You may wonder why I desire to first look at the Bible when discussing whether or not the Bible is equal to or more authoritative than tradition. The answer is fairly simple: Every major Christian group accepts the authority of Scripture.

Let me explain. Catholics, Orthodox, Baptist, and Presbyterian alike agree that Scripture is true, that it is authoritative for the church, and that we must use it in our study and worship. With this in mind, Scripture can be an anchor point, a common ground for us to begin examining the issue of tradition. If tradition is on equal ground, or of equal authority as Scripture, then surely the Word of God will let us know this point clearly! If, as the Catholic Church claims, the Church chose what books ultimately became known as the Bible, clearly we will see some portion of this process in Scripture itself!

Today I want to simply look at the formation of the Pentateuch (or the Law--the first five books of the Bible). The Pentateuch is the foundation of our faith. The Pentateuch was the first part of the Bible, it tells us of the first stages of the faith which we profess, and it is crucial in understanding the formation of Scripture. Exodus 32:15-16 give us a crucial picture of the arrival of the Law--the Pentateuch. It teaches that "the tablets of the testimony" were "God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets." The law came directly from God.

This is crucial to remember, because this means that at the heart of our Bible are words that had no human origin! Unlike Paul in the New Testament, where Paul wrote and yet the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul, Moses did not write the Law, it comes directly and completely from God.

Imagine with me, if the people were to have a meeting to look over the tablets. They read them, they studied them, and they discussed their current situation. Imagine if the people of Israel decided at this meeting that those tablets were not sacred! Would their decision change the fact they these tablets were divinely written? By no means!

Our confirmation of lack of confirmation does not change the authoritative nature of when God speaks. The argument that the church "chose" the New Testament is ludicrous, just as it is ludicrous to suggest that the Jews "chose" the Old. God gave--in different ways--his word to his people. The challenge for the people was to prayerfully distinguish correctly between God's messages and other messages in the world. I will discuss this more fully when I get to the New Testament.

The Pentateuch is a clear expression of the role of people in God's teaching--we receive it. We do not create it, nor do we choose it. God does. It is our role to prayerfully (asking the author to show himself!) accept the truth that God has given us!

Next time we will look to the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament, where we see the text of Scripture clearly talk quite a bit about tradition, so look forward to that!

In Him,

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