Why I Am a Christian

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Tradition and Doctrine

Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est
     One evening, as I was walking back to the station after working overtime, a man passed me a pamphlet and invited me to his church, which I gather was of a fundamentalist or pentecostal persuasion. I thanked him, but pointed out that my own church was only a mile from my home, that at the time I had no car, and that, in any case, I was at the time their sole liturgical assistant, so my absence would have caused problems with the congregation. That should have been sufficient, but he continued, and somehow the conversation got around to baptism. I referred him to the Didache.
     "What was that?" he asked.
     "It was a church handbook used at Rome in the middle of the second century." I replied.
     It soon became obvious I had raised matters completely arcane to him, and eventually he countered: "Look! I'm not interested in looking at anything except the Bible."
     He should have been. He didn't understand that tradition has been the greatest determinant of doctrine in all ages.