Scripture (and?) Tradition

I. Categories
paradosis: "passing on" (1 Cor 15:3ff), "traditions" (2 Thess 2:15).
Tradition is both the process of transmission, and what is transmitted.
Distinctions from WCC Faith and Order, 1963:
Tradition = the content of what is transmitted;
tradition = the process of transmission;
traditions = the inheritance of separate churches or movements.
Defined this way, Scripture is included in all three.
All are (or can be) works of the Holy Spirit in mediating Jesus Christ.
II. If Scripture Is Tradition, Then is Tradition Scripture?
Christian practices seek to be biblical (Nicene Creed, sacraments, worship).
Christian traditions disagree over whether Tradition is no more than Scripture.
Biblical inerrancy means that the Bible norms all traditions (including itself).
III. Eastern Orthodoxy: Tradition Is Scripture
In tradition, the Spirit makes Scripture real in the Church (Dimutru Staniloae).
tradition amplifies and deepens Scripture into Holy Tradition / traditions.
Holy Tradition cannot fail, by definition; no sin in the true Church.
Summary: Orthodox appreciate the continuity of tradition.
Problem: No theological account of when Tradition does fail.
IV. Protestantism: Is Tradition Scripture?
Thirty-Nine Articles: Tradition and traditions must be judged by Scripture.
tradition norms them under Scripture to become Holy Tradition.
Scripture is the norma normans, Tradition the norma normata.
Sola Scriptura: The Word stands over, relativizing and empowering traditions.
Must Scripture cause Tradition, or merely norm it?
Radical Reformation and Calvinism: Yes; thus the Church is primitivist (thus the priesthood of all believers).
Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Methodism: No; adiaphora can be retained (thus priesthood of all believers, but ordained priests/ministers).
Either way, Tradition's authority is temporary.
Summary: Protestants appreciate the sufficiency of Scripture.
Problem: Is this position stable if Scripture itself is Tradition?
V. Roman Catholicism: Is Tradition More Than Scripture?
Unlike Orthodox, Catholics address "the problem of distorting tradition."
Three attitudes towards Tradition at the time of the Reformation:
1. Classical: All saving truth is explicitly or implicitly in Scripture. Scripture is formally insufficient, but materially sufficient.
2. Two-source: Saving truth is "partly in written books and partly in unwritten
Tradition."
3. Charismatic: New illumination comes through popes and councils.
Trent and Vatican II refuse to choose one option.
Today Catholics emphasize tradition over Tradition, favor the classical view.
The teaching office: Magisterium traditions Scripture, under its authority.
The Spirit develops traditions (such as doctrines) from Scripture.
Summary: Catholics appreciate the dynamic continuity of Tradition.
Problem: Neither Magisterium nor two-source traditions can be critiqued.
VI. Conclusion: Tradition Is Eschatology
Each vision becomes a self-fulfilling model; we see what we expect to find.
Each vision relatively lacks what the others appreciate.
Each vision reflects a distinct eschatology:
Eastern Orthodoxy reflects "realized eschatology."
Magisterial Protestantism reflects "futurist eschatology."
Radical Protestantism reflects "dialectical eschatology."
Roman Catholicism reflects "inaugurated eschatology."
All four have their precedent in Scripture.