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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Protestant View of Tradition, Part Three: Conclusion (Some Final Thoughts)

While I am clearly Reformed Protestant, I, nonetheless, too often see Protestants of every persuasion or various denominations either dismiss tradition or ignore it altogether. I believe this can be detrimental to the overall theology and thought of Christians, since to ignore such a rich 2000 year history is to ignore some essential Christian theologies. I confirm that tradition is authoritative. However, something can be authoritative and not be infallible. Do I think that tradition usurps the authority of the Bible? By no means! Do I think tradition should always be weighed in light of Scriptures? Most definitely! But more importantly, tradition should never be ignored.

A problem I see in contemporary Protestantism is the various divisions between the Protestant sects/denominations and their insistence on doctrinal issues which are based solely on the Word of God (the Bible). For example, Baptists practice a certain ‘type’ of baptism which is quite different from Presbyterians both in mode and in theological content. Yet both claim to be based solely on the Bible. Thus, the difference causes disunity amongst them and because of this they do not worship together. And this often times occurs under the umbrella of ‘Reformed” to one degree or the other.

I am not saying that tradition would necessarily solve these issues and differences. However, I cannot help but think that these differences and issues end the way they do, in part, because of a lack of consideration to Church tradition. In the end, Protestants and Catholics do have distinctively sharp differences, some of which I think are warranted. However, a dismissal of tradition merely because it is “Roman Catholic” or because one seems to think that consideration of tradition means that we must place it above Scriptures is, at best, erroneous thinking. We as Protestants can learn much from the rich tradition of Christendom, and still always weigh it in light of the Scriptures.

(I would love to hear your responses to this series and get everybody's feedback. Please feel free to comment, but please do so with respect.)

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