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The Heretics Follow Neither Scripture Nor Tradition.
Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 2) (New Advent) ^ | 185AD | St. Irenaeus

Posted on 12/08/2010 8:00:29 AM PST by marshmallow

1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, "But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world." 1 Corinthians 2:6 And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent, who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.

2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

3. Such are the adversaries with whom we have to deal, my very dear friend, endeavouring like slippery serpents to escape at all points. Where-fore they must be opposed at all points, if per-chance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth. For, though it is not an easy thing for a soul under the influence of error to repent, yet, on the other hand, it is not altogether impossible to escape from error when the truth is brought alongside it.


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS:
It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

Irenaeus does two things in this Chapter; firstly he links Scripture and tradition and secondly, he distinguishes between authentic and false tradition.

Tradition is a dirty word in some circles but Irenaeus emphasizes that tradition is important and that authentic tradition is that which "originates from the apostles and which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters". IOW, apostolic succession is essential for the preservation of true tradition. False tradition, on the other hand, is that which originates from men and resides at "one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus", etc.

Note that this is very early in the history of the Church (~185AD) when the ministry of the Apostles was tangible. Irenaeus heard the preaching of Polycarp (d 155AD) at Smyrna who in turn was commissioned by the Apostles themselves. Yet even at this early stage in Church history, Irenaeus emphasizes its importance.

1 posted on 12/08/2010 8:00:34 AM PST by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

Tradition is hardly a dirty word. I love good traditions. But it is the Word of God, and not tradition which is more likely to lead one to salvation.


2 posted on 12/08/2010 8:02:38 AM PST by Grunthor (I hope this one pleases you.)
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To: Grunthor
They (Scripture and tradition) go together. Irenaeus links them.

Irenaeus is saying that false tradtion goes hand in hand with erroneous interpretation of the Scriptures, whereas authentic tradition ("that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches") is important.

3 posted on 12/08/2010 8:08:03 AM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: marshmallow
When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce....

Irony!

4 posted on 12/08/2010 8:09:30 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed, he's hated on seven continents")
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To: marshmallow
"When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition."

Both Mohammad of Islam and Joseph Smith of the Mormon's did exactly this.

5 posted on 12/08/2010 8:09:39 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: Grunthor

I like traditions...unless, of course, they conflict with scripture. And, I really hate the traditions that attempt to put me back under the law.


6 posted on 12/08/2010 8:12:32 AM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: marshmallow

“They (Scripture and tradition) go together.”

One of these will save your soul.


7 posted on 12/08/2010 8:14:14 AM PST by Grunthor (I hope this one pleases you.)
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To: Alex Murphy
Irony!

Not at all.

Here's the irony......."so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides,.........

False tradition.

Authentic tradition is real and "originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches".

8 posted on 12/08/2010 8:24:21 AM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: Grunthor

The other ... and a ticket ... will get you a ride on the bus.


9 posted on 12/08/2010 8:26:01 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: marshmallow; Grunthor
One thing you might find as an interesting Scriptural study is a comparison between the words παραδόσις (noun) and παρέδωκα (verb). παρέδωκα is translated "deliver" or "hand down" and παραδόσις is translated "tradition."

What makes this interesting are the things that Paul had delivered (παρέδωκα) to him and that he delivered (παρέδωκα) to the Churches. Those things were παραδόσις.

Grunthor, the big thing to remember is that the παραδόσις that the apostles παρέδωκα are what we Catholics hold sacrosanct. The little "t" traditions (using a creche at Christmastime, singing a particular hymn, and so on) are important, but it is not those little "t" traditions that we place up there with the Scriptures. But it is important to recognize the distinction between the two.

As I stated, do a good study on the two words παραδόσις (noun) and παρέδωκα (verb)...Scripture really makes it plain to see when you do so.

10 posted on 12/08/2010 9:04:38 AM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

Good point.


11 posted on 12/08/2010 9:10:27 AM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: Grunthor

You wrote:

“One of these will save your soul.”

False. Only Christ and His grace saves souls.


12 posted on 12/08/2010 9:10:52 AM PST by vladimir998 (The anti-Catholic will now evade or lie. Watch.)
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To: vladimir998

I came to Christ through a study of the Word of God. Not through any mans’ traditions.


13 posted on 12/08/2010 9:12:15 AM PST by Grunthor (I hope this one pleases you.)
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To: markomalley

I think I’m missing something with your explanation. You seem to be saying that the thing delivered is a noun ... and the act of delivering or having it delivered to you is a verb ... nothing more?


14 posted on 12/08/2010 9:13:48 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: marshmallow

In an earlier thread, which was closed before I could respond, another poster reiterated the oft heard claim that those who reject Catholicism are inheritors of the truth protected and handed down by a small remnant Christianity that was forced underground by the powerful Catholic church.

Unbiblical Tradition is one of their “proofs” of the heresy of the Church.

It seems to me that Christ, who wishes for all to be saved and have eternal life with Him, would not have let billions be deceived by the Church in His name by untruths and heresies that could jeopardize their salvation; all the while letting real “truth” be subverted and driven into hiding.

To be deep in history is to cease to Protestant. John Cardinal Newman


15 posted on 12/08/2010 11:11:31 AM PST by Jvette
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To: Grunthor
Not through any mans’ traditions.

Who says they're "man's traditions"?? There seems to be this pathological urge among non-Catholics to link the word "traditions" to "man's" as if tradition has no authentic spiritual basis but was cooked up on a whim by humans.

That's the whole point of Irenaeus' writing in this chapter. He makes it clear that authentic tradition does not have its origin with man but can be traced back to the Apostles and hence to Christ.

"But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition......."

Authentic tradition and authentic understanding of Scripture, go together.

16 posted on 12/08/2010 11:13:10 AM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: dartuser
I think I’m missing something with your explanation. You seem to be saying that the thing delivered is a noun ... and the act of delivering or having it delivered to you is a verb ... nothing more?

Not too much more. St Paul repeatedly said hang on to what I delivered (παρέδωκα) to you:

1 Cor 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions (παραδόσις) even as I have delivered (παρέδωκα) them to you.

How did he deliver them?

2 Thes 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions (παραδόσις) which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth (λόγος) or by letter (ἐπιστολή).

So these traditions (παραδόσις) were delivered (παρέδωκα) to the particular churches (in this case, Thessaloniki) from the apostles (in this case St Paul) either in the form of a letter (ἐπιστολή) or orally, by word of mouth (λόγος). Regardless of how they were delivered (παρέδωκα), the churches were told to stand firm in them and maintain them.

And as I said in my previous post, there is a HUGE gulf between little "t" traditions that different churches have developed over the centuries, no matter how near and dear to our hearts, and the big "T" Sacred Tradition, either that which was delivered in the form of a letter (ἐπιστολή) or orally, by word of mouth (λόγος) by the Apostles, both preserved throughout the generations.

And I think that this is one major bone of contention between the Catholics (and the Orthodox) and our brethren is the fact that we don't really do that grand a job of explaining this.

17 posted on 12/08/2010 1:40:40 PM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley
OK, that helped alot ... But your bravo clear explanation brings me to another question. In the 2 Thess passage, it seems like you can quite easily (at least in the English, I'll have to look at the Greek later) read the passage and come away with the understanding that there are not two sets of traditions being referred to (oral and written) ... but rather, one set of traditions with two methods of delivery (oral or written)? Seems like its entirely plausable that Paul is saying "however you received these traditions, whether by word of mouth or by written letter ... keep them because they are from the Lord."
18 posted on 12/08/2010 1:56:22 PM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: marshmallow
This will be a great series.

The Apostles Did Not Commence to Preach the Gospel, Or To Place Anything on Record Until.........
The Heretics Follow Neither Scripture Nor Tradition

19 posted on 12/08/2010 3:02:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: dartuser
In the 2 Thess passage, it seems like you can quite easily (at least in the English, I'll have to look at the Greek later) read the passage and come away with the understanding that there are not two sets of traditions being referred to (oral and written) ... but rather, one set of traditions with two methods of delivery (oral or written)?

That is EXACTLY the point.

20 posted on 12/08/2010 3:31:52 PM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley
Not to mention ... the context itself seems to actually mention the specific details of the particular traditions to which Paul is referring to ... going back to the beginning of chapter 2 ...

"Now we request you brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together with Him, that you not be shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

And over the next 12 verses Paul explains the "tradition" that he taught the Thessalonians ... and he concludes with the passage you mentioned.

21 posted on 12/08/2010 6:53:42 PM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: dartuser
Not to mention ... the context itself seems to actually mention the specific details of the particular traditions to which Paul is referring to ... going back to the beginning of chapter 2 ...

Indeed. And in 1 Cor 10 and 11 (the other verse I cited), he was concerning himself with abuses around the Eucharist.

And in 2 Thes 3:6 (another use of παράδοσις), he spoke about not hanging around with disorderly people, heretics, busybodies, etc (defined as those who did not follow the παράδοσις they received of him)

That's why it makes a good Scripture study to look at the importance the apostles gave to the churches holding fast to what (the παράδοσις) the apostles παρέδωκα

And then to contrast that with the "παράδοσις of men" spoken of in Matt 15, Mark 7, and so on.

22 posted on 12/08/2010 8:11:02 PM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: marshmallow; surroundedbyblue; shurwouldluv_a_smallergov; Judith Anne; rkjohn; PadreL; ...
+

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Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

23 posted on 12/12/2010 6:08:20 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
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To: Grunthor

I hate to break this to you...

The Gospels were an oral TRADITION.

The inclusion of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the synoptic Gospels in the canon of scripture... a TRADITION.


24 posted on 12/12/2010 6:21:29 PM PST by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: rwilson99

Thank you.


25 posted on 12/12/2010 9:58:27 PM PST by Jaded (Whatever.... really.)
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To: marshmallow; All
An excellent treatment of the relation of scripture to tradition in the early Church can be found in author Keith Mathison's bookThe Shape of Sola Scriptura (on Amazon.com here).

While a Protestant, Mathison speaks surprisingly positively of the early concept of Tradition and pretty well proves that when Fathers such as Irenaus spoke of tradition, they meant those basic teachings passed down which supported, and were directly connected to scripture.

For example, the "tradition" that Jesus is God the Son--is a fact attested to in Scripture, supportive of the biblical account, AND importantly, directly connected to it. Tradition in this sense cannot be any independent authority with no scriptural connection...(such as say, the immaculate conception of Mary) rather it must be those teachings which Christians have believed all along--AND scripture teaches. Another word for such "tradition" is the regula fide or the "rule of faith."

Strict adherence of such a definition of Tradition would of precluded such medieval innovations--which became traditions INDEPENDENT of scripture--as the Aristotelian dogma (ca. 12 C.) of transubstantiation (vs. the simple, regula fide doctrine of the Real Presence) or prayers to Mary and the Saints, or the absolute supremacy of the Roman bishop....things we Protestants find so objectionable in Roman Catholicism.

The 3 great creeds (Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian) would be a good example of a summary of Christian tradition in this mutually inter-dependent understanding of regula fide or Tradition.

Mathison is coming from a Reformed theological pursuasion--and hence is firmly Protestant--however, his book--giving a hierarchical understanding of Authority (with scripture as the highest, inerrant and only final authority, but NOT the sole authority altogether)--was one of the primary theological movers bringing me into the Anglican Communion.

26 posted on 12/13/2010 7:10:43 AM PST by AnalogReigns
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To: rwilson99

No tradition will save anyones’ soul.


27 posted on 12/13/2010 7:52:34 AM PST by Grunthor (Silence is golden, Duct Tape is silver.)
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