Catholicism and Protestants have as one of their primary disagreements the roles of Scripture and Tradition as authority in the Church. Metropolitan John Ziziolas writes in Lectures,

From the Reformation on, Western theologians asked whether divine revelation has one source or two. Protestants rejected the authority of tradition of the Church and introduced the principal of ‘sola scriptura‘, Scripture on its own, without the experience of all previous generations of the Church in expounding that Scripture. […] The West tends to regard Scripture and doctrine as two distinct sources and tries to arbitrate between what it understands as their rival claims.

There are two reasons why Western churches saw the relationship of Scripture and doctrine as a problem. The West tended to regard revelation as primarily rational or intellectual, and the Scriptures and the Church simply as repositories of truths, available as individual units of inert information. In the Orthodox tradition, however, Scripture and the Church are regarded as the testimonies of those prophets and people who have experience the truth of Christ. But truth is not a matter of objective, logical proposals, but of personal relationships between God, man, and the world.

St. Siluan was quoted as saying that if Scripture were lost, the Athonite monastics and the Church itself could and would recreate it without loss. Why and how? Because Scripture is a record of relationships between “God, man, and the world.” These relationships are not historical or accidental and frozen but living and vibrant in today’s world just as recorded in Scripture. 

I think as well that the misunderstanding of what mystery means is important here, where the Eastern view is that mystery is something that you experience but cannot put into words and the West regards it as a part of their belief/faith which cannot be understood and therefore must be kept at arms length. 

Filed under: ChristianityMark O.Religion

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