Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Tradition
- Pastor Futrell, nice work in your classes!
I might add that while paradosisoccurs 13 times in the NT, the verb
some 120 times. It never means anything other than to hand something to
others. Paradidomiis defined
this way even by Protestant dictionaries; the standard BAGD lexicon, which was
done by Lutherans, defines it
more exactly as pertaining to ‘oral or written tradition,’ citing many secular
as well as Christian authors.
I also like to quote Prof. David Scaer, professor of Biblical and systematic
theology and chairman of the dept of
systematics at CTS Ft Wayne:
"Through the controversies of the historical content of the Bible, the LCMS
espoused a sola Scriptura theology
and lived off its own traditions" (CTQ, Vol. 71, #3-4, July/October 2007,
The article discusses this in more detail; but how can Lutherans criticize
tradition if the head of their own
systematics dept admits it is underlying their own Sola Scriptura belief?
---Well, that's a rhetorical question...obviously, the tradition that one does
not have traditions perpetuates the
modern LCMS ethos. It is a big-T tradition, too; it trumps all others. The way
the Orthodox cling to traditions
so fiercely is a commonplace; but the LCMS does also.
I rec'd many blessings from the LCMS...but one thing I found is that this
Tradition can't be fought. Appealing to
reason, Luther, the confessions or a 17th century German theologian doesn't
help. All it does is drive you crazy.
Even if you spend years and gallons of blood, sweat and tears trying to
transform a parish and make all kinds of
changes, it'll all fly out the window within the first eight months the next
pastor is there. It happened to a friend of
mine. I completely lost my peace before we became Orthodox; I was lying awake
at night fretting over these
Of course there are always battles to be fought; but now I'm fighting demons
rather than Lutherans. Glory to God.
From: Richard K. Futrell <PastorFutrell@...>
Sent: Wed, October 12, 2011 7:54:42 AM
Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Tradition
Thanks you so much for that tidbit on the bias in the NIV translation. I wasn't
aware of that (but then I don;t use the NIV as my primary translation).
Here's some stuff I taught in a midweek class a while back on "tradition."
Christian worship is supposed to be traditional, if we understand “tradition” as
the Bible uses the word. For God in His written, revealed Word requires it!
But first, let look at the places where “tradition” is looked down on in the
Bible (as that seems to be what we know the most about).
- “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they don't wash
their hands before they eat.” Jesus replied,, “And why do you break God's
commandment because of your tradition?” [Matthew 15:2-3) (See also Mark 7,
which is the parallel. These two passages are the only places in the Gospels
were paradosis is used.)
Similarly Paul is in two places critical of tradition:
- Galatians 1:14: Paul mentions that before he was a Christian, he was extremely
zealous for the traditions of the Jewish fathers.
- Colossians 2:8: Paul distinguishes between human traditions and Christ: “Be
careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based
on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on
These are the only negative mentions of tradition in the New Testament!
The Greek verb paradidomi often means “hand over, arrest.” The verb is used of
Judas, often translated as “betray,” because his betrayal was in “handing over”
But “handing over” is also used positively:
- The Father “hands over” all things to His Son (Matthew 11:27).
- In the Parable of the Talents, the goods of the kingdom are “entrusted” to
stewards. God has entrusted us with those goods. That’s why we are not
supposed to bury them (as did one of those stewards), treating them as something
- Luke 1:2: Eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word have “traditioned”--that is,
delivered--the things of Jesus to others.
- In John’s Gospel, the verb “tradition” is always used to refer to Jesus being
betrayed or handed over to soldiers, except for 19:30, where Jesus nods His head
and “hands over” His Spirit.
Paul praises the Corinthians for keeping the traditions that he delivered to
- 1 Corinthians 11:2: “Now I praise you for remembering me in everything and
keeping the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” [Paul traditioned the
- Similarly 2 Thessalonians 2:15: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the
traditions that you were taught, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”
Scripture tells us to avoid those who do not hold to the Apostolic Tradition:
- 2 Thessalonians 3:6: “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not
according to the tradition received from us.”
The question for us is: What are the traditions that the Apostle is so insistent
that we hold firm?
- Paul identifies it in 1 Cor. 11:23, speaking of the Words of Institution as
something received from the Lord which He traditions/hands over to the
- Then, in 1 Corinthians 15:3, Paul gives an early creedal statement, saying
that this is what has been “handed over” to the Church – the preaching of Jesus
Christ Crucified and Risen.
- In 2 Peter 2, the Apostle warns of those who speak “bombastic, empty words,”
(2:18) who allure and entice the desires of our sinful human nature. They
promise freedom, but are slaves of corruption. Peter then again uses
“tradition,” saying it would have been better for them not to have known the way
of righteousness, then to have known it and forsaken the commandment
“traditioned” (handed over) to them.
- Jude writes in his epistle that he is compelled to contend for the faith that
has been traditioned, once-for-all handed over to the saints.
From all this it is clear that the Christian faith to be Christian is to be
“traditional,” and that central to our worship is the holy tradition which comes
to us from Christ through the Apostles. Worship must be “traditional,”
something handed down to us if it is to be Christian.
Rich Futrell, Pastor
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Kimberling City, MO
Where we receive and confess the faith of the Church (in and with the Augsburg
Confession): The faith once delivered to the saints, the faith of Christ Jesus,
His Word of the Gospel, His full forgiveness of sins, His flesh and blood given
and poured out for us, and His gracious gift of life for body, soul, and spirit.
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