Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Response to the Duke of Burt

In regards to the importance of tradition:

I can understand that (thanks to snobby hypocrites in the church) the word "tradition" has become rather taboo: it garners an image of some crabby old man yelling off a list of "do this" and "do thats." That is not what I mean by "tradition." By "tradition" I simply mean traditional forms and elements of Christian worship and service: whether they be structural design (i.e., a church actually looking like a church), worship service (i.e., liturgical), songs ( i.e., hymns), prayers, and anything else considered "traditional" Christian.That we stress the importance of tradition is necessary because this group embraces every aspect of truth, i.e., to embrace all that is true, whether it was founded long ago or is discovered tomorrow. Traditional Christian elements, though old, where founded by men who had a greater grasping of and closer walk with God than we have today, generally speaking. It would be foolhardy of us to simply throw such a treasure trove away.
Thrown away it is, however. It is a common theme amongst relevancy movements to devalue traditional elements of Christianity as "outdated." This is the height of what Lewis called "chronological snobbery," the idea that all that is old is bad and all that is new is good. Such thinking is bunk. What was good and true for the church fathers is just as good and true for us now. This group deems it necessary (or I do, at any rate) to stress the "importance of tradition" so that our heritage of faithfulness from our Christian forefathers is not lost in Modern Christendom's tide of relevancy and chronological snobbery.
I agree with everything that you said, which unfortunately means that all I can say is that you misunderstood me. I never (in my reply or elsewhere) said that the traditions of our church fathers are the foundation or touchstone or anything of our belief. All I said was that those things (if there is truth in them) are not bad because they are old. What St. Augustine or St. Jerome or Chesterton or Lewis or whoever got wrong, we should and can discard with a clear conscience. What they got right, however, is still good for us today. What they taught (that was of the truth) and what they ordained (again, that was of the truth) is not our foundation: Christ on the Cross IS. However, they are still useful to us as believers. That was all I was saying when I said that the group stress the "importance of tradition," i.e., these things are still useful to us as Christians.