Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Configuring Scripture, Criterion #5

5. The Criterion of the Church's Tradition
We always read the Bible with the saints. The wisdom of the Communion of the Saints is a gift that shapes our ongoing configuration of scripture. For Anglicans, this has classically meant especially the catholic consensus that developed in the first five centuries. This was stated by the great Anglican preacher and bishop, Lancelot Andrewes (1555 – 1626) in the formula:
One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.

Christians’ engagements with scripture are (and should be) shaped by the successes, failures, debates, discussions, and prayers of previous generations of Christians. The tradition of the church is not a problem to be overcome, but a community in time to which we belong and with which it is possible to dialogue. We are not bound to simple repetition of the past in all things, but the burden of proof is on novel configurations of scripture which must be demonstrated to be in harmony with what past generations of the faithful have taught and lived.

Criterion 6. Comprehensiveness

2 comments:

pathsthroughthedesert said...

A very succinct statement on what tradition is and does for us. It took me a long time to appreciate the wealth and beauty of Holy Tradition. Thanks for posting it.

Pax Vobis

Matt Gunter said...

Thanks for the comment, Jon Mark. Yes, wealth and beauty without which we cannot understand much about the Bible or the Christian life.