Divine Tradition

Before the 15th century when printing was invented, the Bible was reproduced by copying in longhand. We should be very grateful to the monks and nuns of ancient times who labored lovingly, making manuscript copies of old documents that had come down from earliest times. Without this loving care, we would not have our Holy Bible today.

 

Are all the truths revealed for us by God found in the Bible? — Not all the truths revealed for us by God are found in the Bible; some are found only in Divine Tradition.

 

  1. The Bible itself states that it does not contain all that God revealed.

    “There are, however, many other things that Jesus did; but if every one of these should be written, not even the world itself, I think, could hold the books that would have to be written” (John 21:25)

     

  2. The truths of Divine Revelation which have not been written down in Holy Scripture have come to us by the Tradition of the Church.

    St. Paul bade the Thessalonians: “Hold the teachings that you have learned, whether by word or by letter of ours” (2 Thess. 2:15).

     

What is meant by Divine Tradition? — By Divine Tradition is meant the revealed truths taught by Christ and His Apostles, which were given to the Church only by word of mouth and not through the Bible, though they were put in writing principally by the Fathers of the Church.

 

  1. In a wide sense Tradition embraces the whole teaching of the Church, including the Bible, since it is only from the Church that we have the Bible. In a stricter sense Tradition includes only what was handed down orally from the Apostles.

    The Apostles themselves say that there is much that they have delivered to the faithful by word of mouth (2 John 12; 1 Cor. 11:2). Among many examples of truths in Tradition, not clearly manifested in Holy scriptures, are: the exact number of sacraments, the time of institution of some sacraments, the books that make up the Bible, the Baptism of infants, and Sunday observance.

     

  2. All the truths of Divine Tradition now have found their way into books. From the first Christian centuries the practices and doctrines of Tradition were preserved by saintly teachers whom we call Fathers of the Church. They were disciples of the Apostles, contemporaries of those disciples, or disciples of the disciples. These holy and learned men instructed the Church in the years of its first growth.

    Chief among the Fathers of the first six centuries (date is of death), are: the Doctors of the Church (see below), and Saints Clement of Rome (99), Ignatius of Antioch (107), Polycarp (155), Justin (165), Irenaeus (202), Cyprian (258), Dionysius (265), Gregory Thaumaturgus (270), Optatus (372), Martin of Tours (397), Gregory of Nyssa (398), Epiphanius (403), Celestine I (432), Vincent of Lerins (450), and Caesarius of Arles (542).

     

  3. Besides the writings of the Fathers, the truths of Divine Tradition may be found chiefly in: (a) writings of the Doctors of the Church; (b) decrees of Popes and Church councils; and (c) the liturgy of the Church as found in the Missal and rituals.

    We call “Doctors of the Church” those ecclesiastical writers, noted for learning and holiness of life, who have by Church authority been proclaimed with that title, and whose feasts have been extended to the whole Western Church. Among the Fathers of the Church, these are honored as Doctors: Saints Hilary (368), Athanasius (373), Ephraem (378), Basil the Great (379), Cyril of Jerusalem (386), Gregory Nazianzen (389), Ambrose (397), John Chrysostom (407), Jerome (420), Augustine (430), Cyril of Alexandria (444), Peter Chrysologus (450), Leo the Great (461), and Gregory the Great (604).

    Among the outstanding Doctors of the Church of the Middle Ages are: Saints Peter Damian (1072), Anselm of Canterbury (1109), Bernard (1153), Thomas Aquinas (1274), Bonaventure (1274), Albert the Great (1280). Of later Doctors we have: Saints Peter Canisius (1597), John of the Cross (1605), Francis de Sales (1612), Robert Bellarmine (1621), and Alphonsus Liguori (1787).

     

Why must Divine Tradition be believed as firmly as the Bible? — Divine Tradition must be believed as firmly as the Bible because it also contains the word of God.

 

  1. Several years passed before the Gospels were written down. In the meantime, Christians had to depend on Tradition solely: Tradition is older than the New Testament.

    When the books composing the New Testament were written, the various writers had some definite and immediate purpose in mind. For example, St. Paul wrote his Epistles to the various churches of Gentiles that he had converted, to remind them of his teachings in his absence. St. Luke wrote his Gospel for the citizen of Rome, Theophilus, to instruct him in the new religion. St. John’s Gospel was to combat heresies denying the divinity of Christ.

     

  2. If the Church teaches any doctrine that cannot be found in Holy Scripture, it will be found in Tradition, and therefore traceable to the Apostles.

    Those who follow up the course of a river gradually draw near the source, and discover whence the waters flow. In the same way we can trace the historical sources of the teachings of the Church and arrive at their source: the Apostles themselves.

     

  3. Divine Tradition teaches us all the doctrines that were taught by the Apostles. It comes to us from the Apostles. Every single doctrine the Church teaches comes direct from the Apostles. The Church does not issue new doctrines.

    The four Evangelists wrote their relations of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in widely separated places; it is a proof of authenticity that the Gospels agree in their essentials, and often even repeat the very same words. When the writers of the New Testament did begin to write, they did not intend to set down all the details of Catholic faith and practice, but only such points as were immediately interesting or that needed clarification.

     

Without Tradition, would we know what the Bible is? — No.

 

  1. Tradition teaches us what books belong to the Bible. By tradition the Church kept intact all the books of the Bible for fifteen hundred years before the existence of denominations that nevertheless assert the Church does not care for the Bible.

    Protestant denominations reject Tradition. Consequently, they cannot agree about which books to include in the Bible. One denomination eliminates one part, other denominations omit other parts, according to the respective private interpretation.

     

  2. Having rejected Tradition, Protestants cannot be certain that the books they have accepted are genuine. On whose authority have they accepted what they have? Protestant Bibles, the most popular of which is called the “King James version,” omit all or parts of the Books of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Machabees (I and II), and parts of Esther and Daniel.

    Luther rejected the Epistle of St. James, because the Apostle said that faith without works is dead. Luther and followers omitted the Apocalypse, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Epistle of St. Jude.


The Protestant reformers had no legitimate mission from God (or from someone given power by God) to reform the Church:

Jesus Christ instructed His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world, therefore they had an “immediate” mission from God. St. Paul sent Timothy of Ephesus and Titus of Crete as Bishops to help him on his first mission, therefore they had a “mediate” mission from someone given the power by God to send them.
On the other hand, never have we seen any of the Protestant reformers show any mission from God or from anyone else to reform the church. Rather it is readily apparent they wrongfully took it upon themselves to make reforms. “How shall they preach unless they be sent”? (Romans 10:15)
No individual has the right to associate himself with the Apostles or attempt to act under their authority; the individual must be sent or commissioned with divine authority. “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber” John 10:1. 

Consider verses such as “As the Father hath sent me, I also send you” John 20:21 and  “He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me” John 13:20.
How can people without any authority attempt to make such drastic decisions affecting a divinely founded, global Church? Laity or princes do not have authority or power to start such a mission, rather someone must be sent legitimately, in Apostolic fashion, such as from a Bishop, or their mission is null. “Neither doth any man take the honor to himself but he that is called by God, as Aaron was.” Hebrews 5:4

If you say the reformers were given appropriate mission to reform the Catholic Church, then we ask who is the authority that sent them? We know it was not the Catholic Church for the ideas of the Reformation are against Catholic teaching, and it was not the Lutheran and other Protestant churches for they were not yet formed when the reformation was being organized. So on who’s authority was the mission of the Reformation?

If the church from which the Protestant reformers came were true, they can only be labeled heretics for having left it. And if the church from which the reformers came were NOT true, then that church could not have given the reformers true mission to reform the Catholic Church.


To those who say the Protestant reformers had an immediate mission from God to reform the Catholic Church:

To claim that the Protestant reformers were given direct mission by God to reform the church requires undeniable proof, otherwise people all over the world could easily claim direct mission from God on all sorts of beliefs, then where would we be? Then each time we thought we were following the truth we would be forever interrupted by men claiming an extraordinary vocation. Is that how Jesus intended His Church to be?

Consider the miracles sent by God through Moses so that others would believe his mission. Also consider the miracles performed by Jesus and the Apostles so that the people would believe their word. Yet the Protestant reformers, despite making the most drastic changes to the Catholic Church since its founding, have never shown a miracle or any other sign to prove their mission, as would have occurred elsewhere in Scripture with such a drastic change to the faith. Jesus did not hesitate to show signs when reforming the Church, so what audacity do the Protestant reformers have to propose changes as drastic as Jesus made without showing any signs? “Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.” John 14:11,12
Why should we take the Protestant reformers mere word without a sign? He who boasts an extraordinary mission from God without immediately producing undeniable signs cannot be believed.

If there was a true immediate mission from God to reform the church, then we ask which one had the true mission; Luther, Calvin, or another reformer? Each of these men had opposing beliefs from the start which resulted in different denominations so it is quite obvious these men did not have an immediate mission from God.

For those who would like to claim the Protestant reformers were true prophets, why did they act contrary to all other prophets before them by not showing any undeniable signs to prove their words, and by opposing the one true Church which no other true prophet has ever done?
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” Galatians 1:8.
Consider the repeated vulgarity, and blasphemous writings of the reformers. Did Our Lord or the Apostles or Saints speak in this manner? Are we really to believe that someone sent from God to reform the Church was to speak in this manner?
Furthermore, why would Luther claim he was not someone holy if he truly had an immediate mission from God to reform the Church?

And lastly, the Protestant reformers such as Luther and Calvin each have openly claimed the Catholic Church to have been the True Church during the early centuries of Christianity. Then later when these men fell into disagreement with the Church, they suddenly claimed it was a false Church. Do you think someone who had an immediate mission from God would teach that something is true, then later recant and teach the exact opposite? Have we ever seen Our Lord or His Apostles teach us something and then later have a change of heart and teach us the exact opposite? It is plainly obvious that hypocritical teaching is not from God.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.

God Bless BJS!!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s