Protestant Oral Traditions
A Commentary on an Article Condemning Tradition
For Christians who are aware of the Biblical, Ancient Jewish, and Early Christian concept of Holy Tradition, the unknown Protestant writer's views against Tradition reveal a very sad fact- that the Protestant culture has seriously divorced itself from its Early Christian roots so much that it no longer has a fundamental and complete comprehension of what has been for thousands of years basic and commonly-known facts of the Apostolic Gospel, no thanks of course to the spiritual corruption of its religious parent, the Catholic church, who had for a time transformed some elements of the Apostolic Tradition into legalistic and political dogmas. As a result, the unknown Protestant exhibits great ignorance of what Tradition is. For instance, Holy Tradition to the Ancient Jews and Early Christians consisted of a number of things, but most notably three important factors: 1. That it pertained to many doctrinal points, some which were directly and indirectly noted in Scripture and some which were never recorded in Scripture. 2. That it did not simply relate to rituals. 3. And Holy Tradition was something totally distinct from later traditions of men, which were added to embellish the Bible and Tradition. Thus, Holy Tradition to the Ancient Jews and Early Christians (separate from human traditions) was the totality of the Faith, so that rituals, oral reports, traditional doctrines, Bible interpretations, and even Scripture itself were all united in constituting as a whole what has been called Holy Tradition. Therefore, Apostolic Tradition was simply another word for the Gospel to the Early Christians, since the Gospel began as oral Tradition and only a part of it was later written down by the Apostles and called by their disciples the New Testament (NT).
As can be seen by any honest look at Scripture and a careful look at the ancient concept of Tradition, the unknown Protestant writer of that article says things, along with absolute ignorance of Sacred History, which lead to many inconsistencies. For instance, on the one hand, he refutes the Catholic traditions, according to his perception of what Catholic traditions are (which is another issue altogether), while at the same time he says nothing about false Protestant oral traditions, myths, and rituals. For example, nowhere is it stated in Scripture that faith alone leads to salvation, and never in the history of Christianity had this doctrine ever existed until Martin Luther invented it 4-5 centuries ago. Nowhere in the Bible is it said that once you are converted to Christ, then there is no way you can lose your salvation, an idea that no Ancient Jew or Early Christian had ever believed or heard from Scripture until John Calvin made it up 4-5 centuries ago. Nowhere is it stated in Scripture that spiritually immature Christians are quickly written into the Book of Life right after conversion, nor was this doctrine ever believed in since the beginning of Christianity until Martin Luther invented it. Moreover, nowhere is it stated in the Bible that making the sign of the Cross with one's fingers should be stopped as a devotion, yet it was never viewed to be non-Apostolic until Protestants started rejecting it in the 16th century. Nowhere is it written in Scripture that bishops and priests praying over and anointing the sick with oil should cease as a devotion, nor was it ever declared non-Apostolic until the so-called Protestant reformers in the 16th century invented the oral doctrine against it. Why does the unknown Protestant writer not say something about these man-made traditions? Why does he not see the contradictions and hypocrisy of his position? This method of convenient logic and inconsistent Biblical exegesis is the legacy and fruit of Protestantism, and it is still expanding into more and more divisions today.
In order to justify the Protestant tradition's revisionist version of Early Church theology, the unknown Protestant writer must reject the concept of Apostolic Tradition. But he condemns Holy Tradition in a very twisted way. On the one hand he says that it is non-biblical to accept Tradition, while at the same time his own arguments and theology rely on made-up, various non-biblical, man-made traditions of Protestant reformers. He claims not to follow extra-biblical traditions, while at the same time asserting extra-biblical traditions in denouncing Apostolic Tradition. He assumes that the Apostolic Church originally rejected Tradition and that Scripture reveals the only truths from God, while at the same time he dismisses the Bible's and the Early Church's application of Tradition as being equal to Scripture. He further assumes that Scripture cannot and should never be interpreted according to any Tradition, while at the same time he interprets the Bible by relying on his own opinionated interpretations, or according to some modern, man-made Protestant system of interpretation, which is an extra-biblical tradition by itself. He therefore reads into Scripture not what the Apostles understood by the concept of Tradition but what Protestantism thinks Holy Tradition is, which is viewed through the lens of history's battles between Protestantism and Catholicism, between non-Tradition and Tradition, so that a mythological struggle between a proto-Catholicism and a primitive Protestantism, both emerging somehow in Apostolic times, can be perceived in the Bible and the Early Church. This is the spiritual confusion he espouses, which his Protestant culture trains him to believe. Moreover, he claims to fully understand what the Bible was doing when it condemned man-made traditions; yet he does this by completely ignoring the number of Scripture passages which do openly promote the utilization and preservation of Holy Tradition. Because of the theologically incompetent spiritual culture he adheres to, he falls into much circular reasoning and inconsistent logic, and he also dismisses key evidence from Scripture, Ancient Judaism, and Early Christianity which all declared the existence of Holy Spirit inspired extra-biblical teachings from the Prophets and Apostles in Sacred Tradition.
This is how he begins his article against Tradition:
The word "tradition" occurs only 14 times in the whole New Testament (NT); in the Old Testament (OT) not once. We find 8 references are from Jesus Himself, all of which are derogatory of traditions. Not once does he insinuate they are useful or Scriptural. Paul has 5 references, 2 of which are derogatory (Colossians 2:8, Galatians 1:14). Peter also has one reference, also derogatory 1 Peter 1:18 (the aimless conduct received by the tradition of the fathers). For Peter to be called the first Pope who does not uphold this practice does not help their position.
The first time it is mentioned is by Jesus in Matthew 15:2-3, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread?" He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?" Nowhere does Jesus teach there is a tradition of men and of God. He goes on to give an example of their tradition that went against Scripture.
Another time He was asked about eating bread before washing their hands. Mark 7:7-9 says, "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men-- the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." And He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition." They had a choice but instead defaulted to their own rules that they thought were biblical.
The first three paragraphs of his article mention the various Biblical statements concerning the false traditions of the Jews. These passages are irrefutable, and no one dismisses what the implications of these teachings are. Jesus condemns the Jews for having added to the Faith various false beliefs pertaining to oral traditions which were invented by men and which degrade the most proper spirituality and understanding of God. They also helped solidify the Jewish concept of a works-oriented salvation (though some Ancient Jews around Christ's time, most notably Hillel, fully understood this problem and often emphasized faith, love, good deeds, etc. as the path of salvation, rather than relying on circumcision, strictly practicing the Law, etc.). The writer correctly interprets Jesus's teachings in regard to this problem, and he makes a reasonable correlation between the addition of traditions into Judaism and the addition of traditions which the Catholics have erroneously forced into the Faith. He mentions this similarity when he compares Peter's denunciation of false Jewish traditions with the Catholic tradition of Peter being the foundation of the papacy, saying, "Peter also has one reference, also derogatory 1 Peter 1:18 (the aimless conduct received by the tradition of the fathers). For Peter to be called the first Pope who does not uphold this practice does not help their position." Though his last sentence deserves a critical analysis, his point is that Peter, a Jew, does not even follow false Jewish traditions, which parallel papal traditions, yet Catholicism refers to Peter as the first pope and founder of the Catholic traditions. His irony is understandable, since the Catholics began changing and adding traditions into Christianity in the 9th century, especially the idea of absolute papal authority which the Apostles and Early Christians did not recognize, at least not in the way that the Catholics have insisted on. However, the premise of his article is the condemnation of Tradition itself, which he confuses with Catholic traditions. He assumes that the Apostles never followed any concept of oral, extra-biblical Tradition and that the Catholics were the ones who invented this idea and forced it on the Faith. Though it is true that the Catholics have forced into the Faith many new and false traditions, it is not true that the Apostles and Early Christians were hostile toward Holy Tradition. Scripture, Ancient Judaism, and the Early Christian Witnesses had never made any mention that the Apostles opposed Holy Tradition; instead, they consistently mentioned that the Apostles had perpetuated extra-biblical, oral Tradition as being from the Holy Spirit and equal to Scripture.
There are countless examples from Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity proving how God in and out of Scripture promoted Holy Tradition, and there are no obvious examples to the contrary, except among the Sadducees and some Gnostic heresies. In the Talmuds, which were a record of Ancient Jewish teachings from before, during, and after Christ's time, as well as in all other Ancient Jewish sources, it was known that God had revealed to Moses the Written Bible and the Oral Bible, with the Oral Bible dealing with extra-biblical doctrines, as proven in the Talmuds and by Josephus's 1st century commentaries of the Old Testament (OT), the Antiquities of the Jews, which involve a significant amount of extra-biblical teachings. For instance, in the Talmuds, Sifre Deuteronomy 351; 145a, it says, "The Roman governor Quietus asked Rabbi Gamaliel, 'How many Torahs (Bibles) were given to Israel?' He answered, 'Two- one in writing and the other orally.'" Similarly, it is quite common to read in every page of Josephus's commentaries an extra-biblical teaching.
Even the Apostles repeated this divine tradition and referred to it in the Bible. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter." The Early Christians never learned from the Apostles that this command had a secret meaning against Holy Tradition. Instead, they believed that the Oral Gospel consisted of doctrines never recorded in the Written Gospel (the Bible). Basil the Great in the 4th century in his book On The Holy Spirit 27 expresses the universal belief in Tradition this way, "Of the dogmas and teachings preserved in the Church, certain ones we have from written instruction, and certain ones we have received from the Apostolic Tradition, handed down in secret. Both the one and the other have one and the same authority for piety, and no one who is even the least informed in the decrees of the Church will contradict this. For if we dare to overthrow the unwritten customs as if they did not have great importance, we shall thereby imperceptively do harm to the Gospel in its most important points. And even more, we shall be left with the empty name of the Apostolic preaching without content." Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, himself a disciple of Apostolic disciples, sums it up well in his book Miscellanies VI, 7, "And the Knowledge (superior Apostolic doctrines) is that which has descended by transmission to a few, having been imparted unwritten by the Apostles. Hence, then, knowledge or wisdom ought to be exercised up to the eternal and unchangeable habit of contemplation." These few examples are enough to prove how universal, authentic, Biblical, and essential Holy Tradition had been. But there are also a great amount of other examples clearly stating that the original and orthodox belief of the Bible, Ancient Judaism, and Early Christianity, both of which provide the Bible's truest theological and historical context, was the doctrine that Holy Tradition and Scripture were regarded as one single source of God's revelation to mankind. One could not exist without the other, lest Scripture be interpreted in any way anyone desires and lest Tradition be left with no visible unifying factor.
In the middle of the unknown Protestant's Biblical references denouncing false traditions, which he assumes to include all oral and extra-biblical traditions, and which he infers only the Catholics invented, he says, "Nowhere does Jesus teach there is a tradition of men and of God." If the Early Christians were to have read something like this, they would have had no idea what this writer just said. Of course there are traditions of men and there is God's Tradition from the Prophets and Apostles, they would say. Apparently, his point is that Jesus nowhere teaches that Scripture and human traditions can co-exist as divinely inspired sources, though he says this in a very awkward and nonsensical way. But does Jesus not reconstitute one of God's traditions, called Passover, into a Christian tradition, called Communion? Many of the details of Passover are not written in the OT, such as the bitter herbs, yet they clearly prophecy Christ and His Cross, as well as our salvation, and Jesus infers these traditional details to be from God and even validates them by having practiced all the rituals of this ceremony and referring some of its rituals to Himself for our own worship. Similarly, many of the details of Communion, such as receiving Communion only during church services and through the hand of a priest or elder, are not taught in the NT, yet all churches act as though God has taught such details. Why can Communion not be received while driving a car without a priest or minister and without any prayers, just a simple thanks? And are the elements of Passover and Communion not rituals? Are not certain aspects of it extra-biblical Holy Tradition? For the sake of seeming logically consistent, Protestants would somehow rationalize this observation, but the fact that elements of Passover, which Christ practiced, come from extra-biblical Holy Tradition, and elements of Communion, which all churches today accept, also come from Apostolic Tradition, cannot be denied.
The same thing is true regarding Baptism. The Bible does not state exactly how Baptism affects our salvation, nor how Baptism is to be correctly performed, and so dozens of ways to baptize people have caused much division within Christianity. Some churches totally immerse one's whole body in water for a true Baptism. Other churches simply sprinkle some water on one's head. Still other chuches require naturally running water, like a river. Some churches pronounce the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the person is baptized. Other churches dunk the person three times for each One of the Trinity. Some churches teach that only adults can be baptized, while other churches say that babies can be baptized. Some churches teach that Baptism is purely symbolic, while other churches and even Ancient Judaism, believe that the soul is literally affected by this act in some way. Some Christians simply say that it does not matter what the rules are. And the list goes on and on about what constitutes a true Baptism into the Christian Faith and how it does or does not affect salvation, let alone revealing if a properly- or improperly-performed Baptism does or does not affect our spirituality.
Whatever the case may be with all these doctrinal differences and understandings of Scripture over this most foundational spiritual Christian act, each and every one of these details of Baptism come only from a tradition, if Early Christian, Protestant, Catholic, or whatever. The Biblical references to Baptism are silent about its ritualistic and doctrinal details, though these details are necessary to the application and mystical effects of Baptism. Contrary to Protestant mythology, the Bible's message of Baptism means little without an extra-biblical, oral tradition explaining what Baptism is, how it is to be practiced, how it affects the soul or not, and if or not it is necessary for salvation. This is a fact that Protestants have a difficult time acknowledging, since a major premise of their theology is the belief that no extra-biblical tradition can be equal to Scripture. The added fact that the Early Church, Protestants, Catholics, and others often interpret contrary meanings in Scripture about Baptism and other dogmas similarly does not register in the minds of Protestants how flawed their logic is in believing that extra-biblical traditions cannot and should not exist outside the Bible. If Tradition is pointless because the Bible's truths are self-evident, then why are Christians so confused over how to interpret it, and why have they developed so many variant extra-biblical traditions to practice it? This is why the original Apostolic Tradition should be acknowledged and sought out. Scripture does not always explain its own doctrines, nor does it refer to every possible doctrine.
One of the most important points behind the issue of Baptism is that the Bible does not explain if or not Baptism is a mere symbolic ritual or if it affects the soul in some way. This involves a doctrine which is not taught in Scripture, with doctrinal implications also going beyond what is mentioned in the Bible. For the last 500 years Protestants have created much debate over the doctrinal meanings behind Baptism, proving that extra-biblical traditions must be applied to understand Baptism, faith, love, prayer, worship, and so on, all of which depend on and hinge on the rituals and theological meanings of Baptism. And so the argument goes back to this question, does the Bible explain itself, and if so, how does it explain itself, or does the Bible require an external tradition to codify certain doctrines, or both? Moreover, if Baptism does require an external tradition to practice it and understand its relevance, then are there other doctrines and rituals from the Apostles not recorded in Scripture or does the Bible contain them all, or at least mention them without the doctrinal and spiritual details? If only a few generalities in Holy Tradition can be found in the Bible, does that prove that Holy Tradition has been totally subsumed into Scripture? If so, where is the evidence of such a belief? The Bible again does not answer these questions, though Protestants go to great lengths to prove from Scripture that they can be answered, and that every single doctrine of the Apostles has been recorded in the Bible, despite the fact that this very doctrine has no obvious Biblical or historical basis itself, except among the cult of the Sadducees and the sects of the Protestants. It is a doctrine which must be forced into Biblical understanding, thus it comes from a tradition.
Though the Early Christians were adamant in believing that the Apostles had left behind unwritten doctrines, and some Protestants themselves are forced to admit to the existence of extra-biblical rituals and doctrines, most Protestants have invented ways around this dilemma by making up new doctrines, which no church or synagogue has ever believed in until the Protestants came along 4-5 centuries ago. In this way the Apostolic witness of the Early Christians can be twisted and interpreted any way a Protestant desires without admitting that an oral tradition has been applied and added into Scripture. One of the ways that this is done is to state that if the Bible mentions a doctrine, like Baptism, Communion, etc., and yet is silent about certain of its details, or sub-doctrines, then these sub-doctrines are not extra-biblical. In other words, the sub-doctrines are regarded as being indirectly included in the general Biblical doctrine, so that the sub-doctrines can also be considered Biblical, thereby allowing each Protestant denomination to conveniently interpret its own particular sub-doctrines into Scripture. Despite how reasonable this rationalization sounds, any church's beliefs and practices regarding Baptism, for instance, can be applied and accepted as Biblical. And according to this new doctrine, the Catholic belief and practice of Baptism is just as valid as the Baptist church's beliefs and practices about Baptism or the Jehovah's Witnesses' or the Pentecostal church's or whatever church's stance on Baptism. Without any traditional standard by which Scripture can be interpreted, any number of new and old traditions and doctrines can be made to fit into Scripture, if reasonable or bizarre.
In order to rationalize this observation, Protestants have invented another new doctrine by saying that since the Bible's truths are so self-evident and that the Holy Spirit aids Christians in learning all of its truths, then what the average Christian believes about Baptism must be pretty close to what the Apostles had taught. However, the observation that a majority of people may come to some degree of conformity in belief and practice about the doctrines and sub-doctrines of Baptism does not prove them to be Apostolic or Holy Spirit inspired, unless the Early Christians similarly taught them. Furthermore, there are just as many Catholics in the world as there are Protestants, so who is to say which majority is correct? Such logic is flawed and the premise is false. So no matter how one looks at it, there is no Biblical and historical standard by which the doctrine of Baptism and its most correct sub-doctrines can be deemed Biblical, except by accepting the Apostolic Tradition of the Early Christians. This is not an opinion, it is simply a logical, spiritual, Biblical, and historical fact which best eliminates the spiritual confusion and has always been known to be what the Holy Spirit wants.
At this point in the argument, the ardent Protestant will deny these observations and logical assessments and will refuse to admit to extra-biblical traditions existing in any church, except among Christians he conveniently deems to be theologically flawed. Thus, he will continue to assert the idea that all of the extra-biblical doctrinal details surrounding Baptism and other Biblical doctrines derive from generalities clearly mentioned in Scripture, so that it must be concluded that their unrecorded details are still indirectly written in Scripture. The problem with this new doctrine is this: That it is arbitrary and self-fulfilling, since any sub-doctrine of a Biblical concept can be interpreted to be part of Scripture, no matter how weak the connection. In other words, Scripture can be twisted to include any oral tradition as a means of proving them to be Biblical, when in fact, there is no actual connection between them. But such a method of Biblical exegesis is not necessarily false or evil, for even the Early Christians applied this method of Biblical analysis to make certain points about the Gospel and/or oral Apostolic Tradition, and such a method can be properly practiced in the context of the Apostolic heritage. But when it is done as a means of making into Biblical realities certain traditions which are historically proven to be man-made, that is, invented by Protestant reformers or Catholic popes, then it cannot be accepted as Apostolic or Biblical. There are many of these rituals and doctrines which Protestants do not realize actually come from Protestant men rather than from the Apostles and the Early Church.
Similar to Protestants reading their human doctrines into Scripture, Protestant dogmas are also read into the writings of the Early Christians, making them seem like doctrines of Christ historically validated near Apostolic times. Passages of the Church Founders are also taken out of context in order to prove how the teachings of the Methodists or Baptists or Lutherans or whoever were originally Apostolic. It even gets to the point where, when the Early Christians disagree with Protestantism, Protestants conclude that it must be the Early Christians who are wrong. That is how entrenched, convenient, and arrogant Protestant theology is. Conversely, Protestants utilize this method of Biblical analysis in order to exclude extra-biblical sub-doctrines when they have always been historically connected with Scripture. Hence, Protestants will determine certain sub-doctrines to be indirectly mentioned in Scripture, so as to prove them to be Biblical, while at the same time they will determine certain other sub-doctrines anti-biblical, even though they are just as indirectly mentioned in Scripture, or even clearly commanded in the Bible. This consistent double standard and convenient logic of Protestantism is the direct result of its theology of rejecting Apostolic Tradition and replacing it with new Protestant traditions, all the while denying that they accept oral traditions. Hence, they also enter into the realm of absurdity.
The Protestant method of including extra-biblical doctrines and rituals behind the Bible's general teachings about Baptism is also applied in regard to other Scriptural doctrines, such as Communion, their version of Confession, ecclesiastical organization, the Trinity, their version of what the Church and Mystical Church are, and various other Biblical concepts which require extra-biblical sub-doctrines and practices to make sense. But a good example of the Protestant method of excluding extra-biblical doctrines and rituals behind actual Biblical commands and inferred commands is Matthew 26:26-29, where Jesus tells His Disciples that the Bread and Wine of Passover are His Body and Blood, and in John 6:22-71, where Jesus tells His Disciples that salvation comes from eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood. The Early Christians unanimously and universally and adamantly proclaimed that they had learned from the Apostles certain sub-doctrines, particularly the teaching that after the priest consecrates the Bread and Wine of Communion they mystically change into the literal Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Early Christians often spoke of the mysteries of Communion and they heard of no other doctrine and practice opposing this belief, except among heretics who appeared after the Apostolic Age inventing new sub-doctrines and practices, which taught that the Bread and Wine were mere symbols and not the literal Body and Blood of Jesus. As the reports of the Early Christians relate, these heretics who taught that the Bread and Wine cannot be changed into the literal Body and Blood of Jesus were definitely not Protestants, for every single Protestant since Martin Luther has condemned them all as the most vile heretics, since their beliefs as a whole were clearly anti-biblical and anti-Protestant. So the Apostolic, Historical Church has known of no other sub-doctrine behind Communion but the one teaching that the Bread and Wine of Communion do change in some way into the literal Body and Blood of Christ.
If this teaching about the Bread and Wine of Communion being the literal Body and Blood of Jesus were not Apostolic, the Early Christians, or at least a good number of them, would have left behind accounts and remarks about major disputes over a new doctrine being imposed on the Church to replace one of the original Apostolic tenets, which would have been that the Bread and Wine of Communion were symbolic or something like that. The Early Christians always discussed and fought over theological issues, in response to new or heretical ideas, and they always left behind some written records of what the debates were about. But in the case of Communion, only ancient heretics and modern Protestants have objected to a literal rendering of Communion. Thus, Protestants have arbitrarily decided that Martin Luther was infallible in his new doctrine, or his own version of a heretical doctrine, that the Bread and Wine of Communion do not change into the literal Body and Blood of Christ, and that the Early Christians were spiritually inferior or even idiots for believing it literally. Protestants have thus invented a new tradition for Communion, which states that what Jesus taught in this devotion must be figurative, not literal.
As a result of this alteration of Scripture and Tradition, Protestants have condemned what has always been known to be Apostolic and they have replaced it with their own man-made tradition, thereby making their own tradition into a doctrine of Christ. Ironically, this is precisely what they accuse the Early Church-Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic church of doing, that is, adding into the Faith a man-made tradition about the Bread and Wine of Communion turning into the literal Body and Blood of Jesus and making it into a Biblical doctrine. But despite Protestant objections to this observation, the Bible nowhere teaches that Matthew 26:26-29 and John 6:22-71 should be interpreted and practiced figuratively. Yet Protestants have decided that it is figurative, and since their doctrine can be read into Scripture, they cannot comprehend that what they are believing about Communion is not Biblical but an oral tradition invented by men and associated with twisted heretical cults of Early Christianity. And they cannot comprehend that the Early Christian-Orthodox and Catholic literal belief about Communion can also be correctly read into Scripture and thereby proven to be just as Biblical. Thus, Protestants clearly invent new oral sub-doctrines, and they replace the original Apostolic oral sub-doctrines with the new Protestant ones. Since Protestants believe that extra-biblical sub-doctrines can be accepted as Biblical with only indirect connections with distinct Biblical doctrines, they see no problems with making up new beliefs and forcing them into Scripture and Early Christianity. The Bible nowhere says that Matthew 26:26-29 and John 6:22-71 should be interpreted and practiced literally, and so Protestants, because they despise the historical context of the Bible, can make up oral traditions, read them into Scripture, and then deny that they follow oral doctrines and rituals. However, the Bible also nowhere says that the Bible's teachings about Communion should be interpreted figuratively, and it is just as reasonable, even more so because of the support of Sacred History, to believe that the Ancient Witnesses of the Apostles were correct in taking them literally.
For those who are wondering, the Early Christians believed that the Bread and Wine of Communion, after being consecrated by the priest, literally becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The only ones who denied this were called heretics, not just because they were against a literal Eucharist, but because they were against the Trinity and many other Apostolic doctrines. This is what Ignatius of Antioch says, who was himself a disciple of the Apostles, in his Letter to the Smyrneans around AD 110, "They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again. They who deny the Gift of God are perishing in their disputes." Many other Early Christians reported how the Apostolic Faith included this literal belief about Communion. Ignatius's statement about this suffices to prove that a literal Body and Blood was the original Apostolic doctrine. For if a person will not believe a disciple of Jesus's own Disciples, they have invented their own concept of what Apostolic means, and they have made their own Protestant founders to be equal to the Apostles and their disciples.
The Protestant accusation that the Early Christians, Orthodox, and Catholics have added false oral traditions into the Bible's teachings, particularly about Communion being a literal devotion and not a figurative one, is logically, historically, and Biblically flawed. Scripture does not teach, or at least it does not make clear statements, if Communion should be practiced and believed to be figurative or literal. This proves that in this case, there is no evidence of mythological evil papal doctrines slowly infecting the Early Church with all the evidence being masterfully covered up, conveniently proving how Apostolic every Protestant doctrine is. The Bible's doctrines behind Communion require oral traditions to explain them and practice them, proving that Protestants do accept false oral traditions alongside Scripture. The difference between Protestants and the Early Christians, as well as Catholics and Orthodox, is that the Historical Church knows that there is an Apostolic Tradition and that there are false traditions from cults, Protestants, and other human entities. But Protestants are completely oblivious to the fact that this has always been the case for themselves. They cannot understand that the Early Christians knew the difference between Scripture and Tradition, and that Scripture does not incorporate every doctrine taught in Tradition. The Early Church was aware of Biblical analyses which connected certain Scriptures with certain doctrines from Tradition, but they never confused the two because doing so would falsify the meanings of Scripture and make Tradition lose its status as a standard of explaining Biblical truths. Yet Protestants include oral, extra-biblical traditions with passages of Scripture and they confuse the two so much that they cannot distinguish between them, even the ones which they have invented and the ones which they have replaced, all of which can be historically documented and proven to be man-made. Because of this activity, they have twisted Scripture to mean anything they want it to mean. They invent their own oral traditions and claim that they do not exist. They reject Apostolic oral traditions and replace them with their own traditions and then deny doing so. They add oral traditions into Scripture, thereby twisting the original meanings of the Bible to fit their views. And then they accuse the Early Christians of inventing oral traditions and twisting Scripture to fit them, when it is the Protestants who are doing this. Such hypocrisy is the fruits of condemning Apostolic Tradition.
Another example where Protestants twist Scripture and Tradition to suit their purposes occurs in John 13:1-20, especially John 13:14, where Jesus commands the Church to wash each other's feet, and in James 5:14, where the clergy are commanded to use oil and prayer to heal the sick. Both of these cases are similar, yet there are some differences in how Protestants interpret and practice them.
In regard to John 13:14, Protestants generally follow the Apostolic Tradition, which does not treat this passage to be a literal command from Jesus to be applied every week or frequently during church services, but as a figurative statement or possibly a direct call for a yearly Easter tradition for it. Though a few modern Protestants have revived this teaching for every Easter, Protestantism has mostly ignored this oral tradition, and even Catholics and Orthodox have minimized its usage. Thus, Protestants mostly agree with the Holy Tradition on this matter, interpreting into Scripture a belief and a practice that John 13:14 should be figurative and not a necessary part of church services. Even though Scripture is pretty clear about a literal and figurative devotion of feet washing, and Jesus commands that it be done in the same way that He commands Communion or Baptism to be done, Holy Tradition and Protestantism agree that the Bible does not have to be taken literally in this passage, no matter how literal the Bible makes Jesus appear. Hence, Protestants have decided not to oppose Holy Tradition in this matter, despite how clear the Bible is about practicing feet washing. Though the Bible does not teach anywhere if Jesus's command that we wash others' feet is literal or figurative or both, nor how frequent it must be done if literal, Protestants have accepted the original oral Tradition about this Bible passage, rather than accept what the Bible simply and directly states- that feet washing should be done literally and frequently. Why Protestants obey Holy Tradition in this matter while repudiating it with Communion is unknown, and their theology explaining why is not satisfactory.
In regard to James 5:14, Protestants do completely the opposite. Apostolic Tradition has always been known to teach that the Lord wanted bishops and priests to anoint with oil Christians who are sick, as an actual Sacrament equal to Communion. James 5:14 was understood to be a direct Biblical doctrine reflecting what the Lord taught through the Apostles. Nevertheless, Protestants have decided that this passage does not refer to a Sacrament but to a temporary, cultural belief that has no real spiritual relevance. Though the Bible does not support the Protestants in this case, since there is a commandment made, the Bible does not specifically call it a Sacrament. Nevertheless, the Early Church strongly believed that the Apostles had taught it to be not just a command but also a Sacrament.
As the background to John 13:14 and James 5:14 reveals, it is not the Early Christians who were adding meanings to Scripture and making Bible verses mean whatever they want them to mean and applying them in any way they wanted. It is the Protestants who are shown doing this type of activity, since their reformers have no Apostolic connections at all, except for the unfounded claim that the Holy Spirit has taught them these beliefs. Protestants, without any realistic standard or authority, interpret and practice Biblical commands in any way they desire. Then they accuse the Early Christians of doing what they themselves do, all the while denying that they accept oral traditions of their own. At least in the case of the Early Church, they had some Apostolic reasons for accepting John 13:14 somewhat figuratively and James 5:14 literally. But Protestants have no spiritually authoritative reason or historical basis for accepting the Holy Tradition behind a figurative John 13:14 and totally rejecting the Holy Tradition behind a literal James 5:14. It is therefore not evidence of God correcting the Church through Protestant theology, but evidence of a new gospel twisting the doctrines of the Apostles in any way desired.
At this point, the staunch Protestant may cite a contradiction in Biblical applications, since the Early Church took James 5:14 literally and yet took John 13:14 figuratively. To such a man this is a clear example of how the Early Christians interpreted Scripture and practiced its rituals by adding extra-biblical traditions and asserting them to be Apostolic in any way they desired. But why assume that every Early Church doctrine which Protestants disagree with must have had dubious origins and was added to the Faith after the Apostolic Age? There is even no evidence for such a contention, especially when the Early Christians had a consistent historical connection, sometimes even a familial connection, with actual witnesses of the Apostles, their disciples, and their succession of disciples. The Early Church emphatically spoke of how the Early Christians were strict guardians of the Bible and its oral applications in Apostolic Tradition. So as Sacred History relates, James 5:14 was taken literally and John 13:14 was taken more figuratively, not because mythological, evil papal origins had succeeded in fooling all the Early Christians into interpreting Scripture in this way, but because the Apostles had originally taught it in this way. Indeed, it is a more realistic argument to say that the Protestant applications of Communion, Baptism, James 5:14, and others are derived from false traditions which have succeeded in influencing many Christians, rather than to say that Early Christian reliance on using Apostolic Tradition in applying the Bible are all man-made additions to the Faith. Thus, what Protestants assume to be a false tradition added onto the Faith long after the Apostles was actually known by experience to be a true tradition from the Apostles preserved in the Early Church. It is the Protestants who are the ones adding false traditions into the Faith and calling them Biblical.
Despite what Protestants assume, they believe and practice oral traditions which are not in the Bible. As with Baptism and other doctrines, they interpret oral traditions into Scripture and insist that the Bible indirectly teaches them, when in fact that Bible does not necessarily do so. As with Communion and other doctrines, they reject original Apostolic oral traditions and replace them with their own oral traditions, and then insist that the Bible directly states these teachings, when in fact they are not taught in Scripture. As with feet washing and similar doctrines, they accept original Apostolic oral traditions and insist that they are directly mentioned in Scripture, even though there is all the reason to reject the oral Tradition and obey what the Bible clearly says. And as with anointing the sick with oil and similar doctrines, they totally reject the Apostolic Tradition and even refuse to practice what the Bible clearly commands. There is no logical system or reason, nor spiritual authority, why Protestants intepret and ritually apply certain doctrines and practices of Scripture and Tradition and of their own traditions in such a random manner. They accuse the Early Christians of applying the Gospel in this way, yet at least the Early Church consisted of countless witnesses of the Apostles and their successors, whose preservation of the Gospel was known to be impeccable. At the same time, Protestants do precisely what they accuse the Early Christians of doing, without any Biblical, Apostolic, or historical reasons for doing so, and then they claim to be infallible. This is not evidence of the Holy Spirit intervening and restoring the original Apostolic Gospel. It is instead evidence of men manipulating Scripture and Tradition according to their own traditions and accusing the Acient Witnesses of the Apostles for doing such evils.
These examples of how Protestants twist Scripture and Tradition, even their own traditions, in order to make them all seem directly and/or indirectly Biblical are truly pitiful, and it is astounding how illogical and hypocritical they really are when they are objectively analyzed. As these examples reveal, Protestants manipulate Scripture, Tradition, and their own traditions in so many various ways (since Protestantism involves so many conflicting denominations and types of theology), that it is clear that they make Scripture and Tradition mean anything they want them to mean and apply them in whatever way they want them applied. There is no reason why one oral tradition should be accepted and another should be rejected, or why one oral tradition should replace another oral tradition, or why one oral tradition should be accepted at the expense of a more reasonable possible oral tradition, or why a Biblical command should be totally ignored for the sake of an oral tradition rejecting it, unless they were manipulating Scripture and Tradition to create a new gospel. The double and triple standards are numerous and erroneous. But the typical Protestant explanation for all these contradictions in using Scripture and Tradition is to say that the Bible teaches them. Yet the only reason why they see them as Biblical is because they assume that they are indirectly or directly stated in Scripture, when they are not. It is thus difficult to reason with adherents to a theology whose fundamental aim is to deny Biblical and historical facts about oral traditions and to deny the contradictions of their own Biblical and traditional applications.
The spiritual and logical distortions that Protestants have added alongside Scripture prove how the Holy Spirit is not guiding them to understand the so-called self-evident truths of the Bible, as they claim. Protestants cannot even admit the existence of oral traditions within their own theology, nor admit the many contradictions influencing their Bible studies, so how can they hear the invisible mysteries of God speaking through Scripture when their minds are so closed to what can be visibly ascertained? They may be able to understand Scripture through the Holy Spirit to some degree, but since they oppose and even attack the original Apostolic Tradition of Bible reading and its practice, they will never be able to hear the Holy Spirit fully in Scripture and Tradition, as it was inherited unchanged by the Early Christians from the Apostles. Protestants have not only have created a different perception of what the meaning of the word "Apostolic" is, they have also created a different perception of what the meaning of "Tradition" is, what Sacred History says, and even what the Gospel originally pertained to. Hence, they have created a spirituality and an image of Christ which the Bible was never originally known to possess, and they have built a system of logic insisting that the Bible teaches what they want it to teach and command. This is not the work of churches led by the Holy Spirit, but the work of a spirit of division and confusion. They are perfect examples of what the Pharisees and Sadducees were about when they applied their own oral traditions into the Faith, while denying such activity. And they have grown up to be like their mother, the Catholic church, becoming what they hate most about Catholicism- a legalistic institution of man-made traditions.
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