As we remember this year, the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg, we think of the great Reformation slogan of Sola Scriptura, by “Scripture alone,” where “we,” as in evangelical Protestant believers, reject the notion of Scripture and tradition, to be the final authority for Christian faith and practice. We tell ourselves that we do not need popes or church councils to bind our consciences. We do not need doctrines like purgatory, praying to the saints, etc., that have shaky Scriptural support, at best! We do pretty well with the Bible by itself. Thank you very much.
Or so we think.
As it turns out, there are important Christian beliefs that simply have little in terms of explicit references made in the Bible itself. Instead, these beliefs are firmly embedded in traditions, in how the Bible has been read, that have been passed down from generation to generation. Perhaps some of us Protestants take our rejection of “tradition” a bit too far. Continue reading