THIS IS HOW TO EXPLAIN TO A “NON-CATHOLIC” THAT THE BIBLE ALONE (“SOLA SCRIPTURA”) IS NOT SUFFICIENT… WE ALSO NEED TO BE GUIDED BY THE SACRED TRADITION AND MAGISTERIUM

INBOX QUESTION:
Hello
Chinaka, I read your post on “How we should read the Bible”. I’m not a
Catholic, although it is a good reflection. But tell me, what is Tradition in
the Catholic Church?  Isn’t the Bible Alone sufficient for us without all
of the “Tradition” that pollutes the Word of God with man-made
stuff? 
 RESPONSE:
Dear
Sir, if you’d read the post properly and without sentiments, you would have
discovered that Sacred Tradition does not pollute the Word of God. On the
contrary, the Bible was born out of the Sacred Tradition, thus gaining its
richness and values therein. How do I mean?
Sacred
Tradition is the oral teaching of Jesus Christ handed down to his apostles, who
in turn handed it down to their disciples (the early Church Fathers), and then
to the next generation, and then finally to us.  How do we know
this?  To make sure that the apostles’ teachings would
be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, “What
you have heard (this is known as
the Oral Tradition; what Timothy heard from the mouth of Paul) from me before
many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others
also” (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first three
generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation,
and the generation Timothy will teach. Look at 1Timothy 1:6 and 4:14, where Paul reminds Timothy that the office of
bishop had been conferred on him through the laying on of hands
Notice in 1Timothy 5:22
that Paul advises Timothy not to be hasty in handing on this authority to
others
. In Titus Paul describes the apostolic authority Titus had received and
urges him to act decisively in this leadership role. 
I
want you to understand that, for many years after the resurrection and
ascension of Christ, there was no written “New Testament” as a single unit to
fall back on.  Generally, all of the apostles and disciples taught orally
for the first 100-200 years.  Yes, you might say, but didn’t Paul, Peter,
John, Luke, etc., wrote everything down in their epistles and gospels? 
Yes, some of them began to write in parts around 50AD, John wrote the book of
Revelation around 70AD, but none of them was widely available to the disciples
and the Churches who were geographically separated and the few writings weren’t
part of the “Sacred Scripture” until the Councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage
put the 27 books of the New Testament together in 382 AD, 393 AD, and 397
AD.  At that time, it took on the mantle of infallible scripture with the
Old Testament.  Interestingly, Protestants today accept this Catholic
“Tradition” of these 27 books of the Bible being divinely
inspired.  Protestants also accept the “Catholic Tradition” of meeting on
Sunday, rather than the Jewish custom of meeting on Saturday. Protestants also accept
the Catholic Tradition which attests that there are Three Persons in One God,
United and undivided (TRINITY), etc.
Why is Tradition important?
Well, for starters, people who
translate the bible into their vernacular might want to put their particular
spin on a verse, like Luther did with Romans 3:28, when he inserted the word
“alone” after “faith” (“For we hold that a man is
justified by faith [alone] apart from works of law”), a
word that was not in the Latin text from St. Jerome.  He justified it based
on his personal opinion on what the verse should have said, even though it
directly contradicts James 2:24 (“You see that a man is justified by works
and not by faith alone“).  So Tradition took a
hit there, and the whole Protestant Reformation began, based on “Sola Fide”, or the erroneous
doctrine of being saved by “Faith
Alone”
.  Scripture cannot be in conflict with Scripture, and one
of the ways this is guaranteed is by Sacred Tradition.
There
are some instances of Sacred Tradition in the Bible that are interesting. 
For instance, in Acts 20:35, Paul says the following:
–        
“In
all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak,
remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, `It is more blessed to give than to
receive.'”
These
words of Jesus cited by Paul were not recorded anywhere else in the Bible,
including the 4 gospels, so this is one example of an oral teaching of Jesus
being handed on to Paul, who handed it down to us. 
Another
example of this is in the book of Jude 1:9, which says the following:
–        
“But
when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body
of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but
said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
This
dispute, between the Archangel Michael and the devil over Moses’ body, is
nowhere to be found in the written text of the Old Testament. It is contained in the
Church’s Tradition.

Here are a few more:

Matthew 2:23: And he went and dwelt
in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be
fulfilled, “He shall be called a
Nazarene.”(This “he shall be called a Nazarene” prophecy is not
in written scripture anywhere).
Matthew
23:2:”The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;”(Moses’ seat
is not mentioned anywhere in written scripture).
2 Timothy 3:8: “As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men
also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith;” (These
2 individuals who opposed Moses are not written in the Old Testament).
Hebrews 11:35:  “Women received their dead by
resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might
rise again to a better life” (This
is a direct reference to 2 Maccabees 7, which Luther threw out of his bible in
the 16th century.  This story cannot be found anywhere in the Protestant
Bible.  It is in the Catholic Bible, and has been since the 4th century.)
So
what happens if we jettison Sacred Tradition and let Sacred Scripture stand on
its own?   Heresies based on the modern culture start to creep into
the interpretations of scripture, for one thing. False teachings would creep in
such as the teachings of those who say that the Eucharist is only symbolic, and
not the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ (and the word
“symbolic” is not even in scripture when referring to the Eucharist.
None of the writings of the Early Church Fathers used the word
“symbolic” either, always referring to the Eucharist as the Body and
Blood of Jesus). When we throw away the Tradition, artificial birth
control and abortion would become part of the “OK list” of Churches;
and these we obviously see in some churches.
Here is what “Dei Verbum“, or the “Word of
God” document from Vatican II has to say: “Hence there exists a close
connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For
both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge
into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God
inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine
Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its
full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord
and the Holy Spirit. 

for those who have NOTHING to do with the Traditions, Paul is addressing you
below:

1 Corinthians 11:2: I commend you
because you remember me in everything and maintain
the traditions even as I have delivered them to you” 
2
Thessalonians 2:15: So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
2
Thessalonians 3:6:Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not
in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
The
Catholic Church guarantees the faithful handing on of the Word of God through
the teaching authority of the Pope and his Bishops, known as the Magisterium (I
explained this yesterday). The Magisterium ensures that no new erroneous
doctrine or heresy pops up to lead the people astray.  Like a three legged
stool, the trinity of  Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the
Magisterium makes  sure that the Word of God is faithfully handed on to
each succeeding generation.  If any of the three legs goes away, error is
certain to creep in, like it is doing in many protestant churches today, who
interpret scripture based on their personal opinion of what they think it
says.  Sin is now being enshrined in many of their doctrines, and it is
happening before our very eyes, as they overturn centuries of their tradition with a simple majority vote of their
delegates. 

May the
Holy Spirit enlighten our minds and heart and grant us to listen to the voice
of the Lord through the Leaders of the Church

CLICK HERE TO READ: HOW SHOULD WE READ THE BIBLE? (Like a magazine?)

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