Thursday, July 04, 2002

Sealed with a Kiss-Thank's Mr. Shea. When I first read that article, I took it as a bit of a insult/challenge that I and other evangelicals were dishonest in our emphasis on the Bible over the Church's post-Bible teachings. To be honest, I wasn't sure I could pull off my piece when I started. The case for the Holy Spirit's a bit loose, but I can say with a straight face that the doctrine of the Trinity is biblically sound. I'm having to remember what I taught my students last Tuesday about conflict resolution: first check to see if there really is a conflict. I think it's orthodox to say that not everything of God is in the Bible, but everything in the Bible is of God. Our knowledge of God is based on the Bible but is complemented by the knowledge and insight the Holy Spirit has passed on to believers through the generations. I may not call it Sacred Tradition, but there is a body of knowledge and interpretation that we 21st Century believers can call upon. We are spoken to not just by the Word but by the Holy Spirit, who allows us to understand and apply what is written. However, we need to treat the Bible as our spiritual constitution and to reject anything that runs counter to the Bible, just as laws that run afoul of the constitution are supposed to be shot down by the Supreme Court. We need to test the teachings of the past and present to see if they are truly from God. Where I will occasionally trade fire with Catholics is where I mull over and reject things that they consider pre-checked as part of the Church's Sacred Tradition. The Trinity is one that we both emphatically agree on. Contrary to what Peter Sean Bradley's commenter Moe would think, I don't base my theology on bashing Catholicism. The first three-quarters of our Christian history was centered around the Roman Catholic Church; our understanding of God's word didn't jump from Revelation straight to Luther and Calvin, as Bradley's fair comment on the Nicene Creed points out. However, I'm lead to check that wisdom with that of the Bible and to take only that which passes scriptural muster. That may fall a bit short of literal Solo Scriptura, but it isn't quite a Catholic-style Sacred Tradition either.

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