According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, church tradition is given authoritative standing alongside that of holy Scripture. I reject that precept. Since all authority has been given to Christ (Matthew 28:18) and he is called the Word (John 1:1), then the word of God alone is our authority for Biblical faith. Scholarly commentary (which might be viewed as tradition) can aid us in understanding Scripture, but ultimately the interpretation of Scripture is accomplished by the revealing work of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), not ourselves. We are not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Scripture alone is our authority for faith.
The following is from The Catechism of the Catholic Church http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm#
82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Reference Note: 44 DV 9. Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions)
I have long considered this to be error. And I am content that the Holy Spirit will convict whom he will concerning the truth of God.
However, it will be noted that traditions, whether or not they are considered sacred, have beginnings and endings. As such, they are transient. The authority of church traditions carry their authority for a time, but then are no more. While the word of God stands forever (Luke 21:33). Because of this, we must always examine human traditions to see that they are consistent with the word of God.
For this very reason, I am troubled by a recent statement attributed to the Pope, saying that the Koran and the Bible are the same. See the article and comments at http://theolivebranchreport.com/pope-francis-to-followers-koran-and-holy-bible-are-the-same/
I am troubled by this for two reasons: first, there is no factual basis for the claim that the Bible and the Koran are the same or that Jehovah and Allah are just two names for the same Almighty God. It is no different from saying all religions are the same or that all gods are the same. Such a statement is made in ignorance of what the Bible and Koran teach, and comes from an emotional desire to overlook stark differences in an attempt to establish a “peaceful” relationship between disparate world views. Any such “peace” is false because it is based on a lie.
Secondly, whoever makes such a statement, whether or not it is the Pope, lifts himself above the authority of Scripture and lowers the status of the Holy Bible to the level of the Koran, which is not the inspired word of God. Whoever places himself in the position of redefining Biblical authority according to church tradition, consensus, political correctness or any other human wisdom is rebelling against God’s sovereignty.
There are several Bible verses that speak to the sufficiency of God’s word, admonishing us to neither add to nor take away from what he has already revealed to us. 1 Corinthians 4:6 sums up this principle, instructing us, “not to go beyond what is written” (meaning what has been written in Scripture). That can only mean God’s word is the final word — not the Pope’s word, not the Church’s word — God’s word.
It’s amazing how many denominations, sects and cults ignore this Biblical principle, adding and taking away from the word of God to their hearts’ content. In every case their rationale is that they have received some special revelation that tells us what the Bible really means, that clarifies some previously misunderstood or distorted doctrine. In principle, this flies in the face of orthodoxy.
2 Timothy 2:2 lays out instructions for the teaching and discipling of believers. It says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
The first part of this verse speaks of “what you heard from me”. This was the gospel message. This verse is not speaking of theological doctrines that required further clarification or interpretation by church officers. Paul had already spoken to Timothy and he knew what that message was and what it meant. He needed no further explanation.
The second element of this verse is that the message Timothy had heard from Paul was not hidden. What Paul preached and taught was given in the presence of many witnesses. It was out in the open, obvious to everyone present. Many witnesses attested to it. They all knew what they had heard from Paul. The gospel of salvation in Christ was no longer the mystery it had been.
For Jesus had said, “For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” — Matthew 13:17. But now the mystery of the ages had been revealed for all to know. That which had been secret was no longer secret, but revealed to all humanity.
“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” — 1 Corinthians 2:7
“these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” — 1 Corinthians 2:10
“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” — 1 Corinthians 2:13
This “wisdom of God … taught by the Spirit interpreting spiritual truths” is what Paul is referring to by saying “what you heard from me”. The final element of 2 Timothy 2:2 is to entrust this wisdom of God to faithful men so that they in turn could pass it on to others, and so keep the message pure, untainted and constant for all future generations of believers. This is what we mean by orthodoxy.
Fundamental to orthodox Christianity are the tenets that God does not change and his word does not change. James 1:17 refers to God as “the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 tell us, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
Therefore, no man nor church tradition has the standing to take authority over Scripture. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) which means his gospel does not change. In Luke 24:27, speaking of Jesus, it says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” This testifies to the fact that the Hebrew Bible reveals who Jesus is.
Only the Bible (both Old and New testaments) has revealed Jesus alone as the Savior of the world. Do not forget John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” The term “no one” is exclusive by definition. Yet that’s what Jesus said. The Koran’s so-called “veneration” of Jesus does not reveal who he is or what his gospel is. Only the Bible does that.
But if you are a Muslim, that is not the end of the story. Please know that Jesus personally invites you to become a child of God through faith in him. The gospel is that even though everyone is guilty of sin, Jesus Christ offers forgiveness, redemption and eternal life to anyone who receives him by faith.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” — Romans 3:23
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” — John 1:12
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— Galatians 3:13
“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” — 1 Peter 2:24
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16
His personal offer to you is a standing invitation that he has continued to make throughout the ages:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” — Revelation 3:20
This is not the Jesus of the Koran. This is God, the Son — Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, who is revealed in the Bible. His message is for you personally, and it is a message of hope and life.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” — John 11:25-26
If you think for a moment that Allah offers this, or that an eternal loving relationship with God is offered in the Koran, you are wrong — dead wrong.