In the first part, I explained that Marcus Grodi, a convert to the Roman church (RC) and host on The Journey Home, has a list of ten verses that influenced him to consider conversion to the RC. The fourth verse that he cites is 2 Thessalonians 2:15
2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
First, Marcus jumps on the word “tradition” here and holds that up as proving that we can indeed, and should indeed follow the traditions handed down by the Apostles, even if it was oral. To that I say, I agree, now tell me how I can hear Paul, Peter, John’s, etc… words that were not written down. I can’t.
The common response is; well, what about those in the early church who were not apostles who wrote things down? What about them? We know for an absolute fact that just because a person was taught directly by an apostle, and claims to be a believer that it does not guarantee correct teaching.
The early believers were warned again and again that corruption and false teaching would soon spring up, and we get to see a record of it first hand in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which was to a whole group of apostle-taught believers. This is a very very serious matter: Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Paul goes on to underscore the importance of sticking to the gospel message. Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. To put it in English; if anyone, including an apostle, preaches any other gospel let him be damned.
What else doe Paul have to say? Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. So, how are we to know if someone is speaking, preaching, and teaching truth? We can emulate the Bereans for one thing: Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. In my last post, I already gave scriptural evidence that certain NT books were already considered scripture in the eyes of early Christians; such as Paul’s epistles. Assuredly the scriptures spoken of in Acts 17 were OT scripture, but the teaching is sound; search scripture to see if what someone is teaching you conflicts with it.
The emphasis in 2 Thessalonians was on the gospel; the word “tradition” means “that which is given over” in the Greek. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
The ideas here are that their word lined up with their written word; therefore, there cannot be contradiction between doctrine and scripture and if there is contradiction we should lean on the scriptures. This idea is a very protestant one. For example, there was a time in the RC church that people owning their own Bibles in their mother tongue was frowned upon…everything in scripture supports the idea of the truth of scripture, and that is one way we are to test for the truth, hence, I submit that 2 Thessalonians 2:15 in no way lends itself to a RC view.
Tradition can go both ways, it can be a good thing if supported by the truth, or Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. God inspired tradition lines up with God’s word.