|Part of a series on|
Christian tradition is a collection of traditions consisting of practices or beliefs associated with Christianity. These ecclesiastical traditions have more or less authority based on the nature of the practices or beliefs and on the group in question. Many churches have traditional practices, such as particular patterns of worship or rites, that developed over time. Deviations from such patterns are sometimes considered unacceptable or heretical.
Tradition also includes historic teaching of the recognized church authorities, such as Church Councils and ecclesiastical officials (e.g., the Pope, Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop of Canterbury, etc.), and includes the teaching of significant individuals like the Church Fathers, the Protestant Reformers, and the founders of denominations. Many creeds, confessions of faith, and catechisms generated by these bodies, and individuals are also part of the traditions of various bodies.
The Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Anglican churches distinguish between what is called Apostolic or sacred tradition and ecclesiastical traditions. In the course of time ecclesial traditions develop in theology, discipline, liturgy, and devotions. These the Church may retain, modify or even abandon.Apostolic tradition, on the other hand, is the teaching that was handed down by the Apostles by word of mouth, by their example and "by the institutions they established", among which is the apostolic succession of the bishops: "this living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition". "And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God, which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit."
In his book, James F. Keenan reports studies by some Catholic academics. A study by Bernard Hoose states that claims to a continuous teaching by the Church on matters of sexuality, life and death and crime and punishment are "simply not true". After examining seven medieval text about homosexuality, Mark Jordan argues that, "far from being consistent, any attempt to make a connection among the texts proved impossible". He calls the tradition's teaching of the Church "incoherent". Karl-Wilhelm Merks considers that tradition itself is "not the truth guarantor of any particular teaching." Keenan, however, says that studies of "manualists" such as John T. Noonan Jr. has demonstrated that, "despite claims to the contrary, manualists were co-operators in the necessary historical development of the moral tradition." Noonan, according to Keenan, has provided a new way of viewing at "areas where the Church not only changed, but shamefully did not".
In the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy, sacred tradition, but not "ecclesial traditions", is considered official doctrine and of equal authoritative weight to the Bible. Among conservative Protestants, the Bible itself is the only final authority (see sola scriptura and prima scriptura ), but tradition still plays an important supporting role. All three groups generally accept the traditional developments on the doctrine of the Trinity, for instance, and set bounds of orthodoxy and heresy based on that tradition. They also have developed creedal and confessional statements which summarize and develop their understanding of biblical teaching.
Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.
Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops. Christians of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Old Catholic, Anglican, Moravian, and Scandinavian Lutheran traditions maintain that "a bishop cannot have regular or valid orders unless he has been consecrated in this apostolic succession." Each of these groups does not necessarily consider consecration of the other groups as valid.
The word Catholic comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The first use of "Catholic" was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, and Lutheran churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.
Sola Scriptura is a theological doctrine held by some Protestant Christian denominations that the Christian scriptures are the sole infallible source of authority for Christian faith and practice.
The Christian Church is a term for a unique collective encompassing Christians across the world, defined differently by various Christian denominations. In Protestantism, the Church is a body composed of all believers, with "body" and "believer" defined in various ways. For most denominations which pre-date the Protestant Reformation, "the Church" is connected to a particular human institution associated with that denomination, such as the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Church; this distinguishes the one true church from groups considered schismatic or heretical. Anglican branch theory holds that Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism are branches of the Christian Church. The souls of dead Christians as members of the Church is part of the mainly Protestant idea of the church invisible, and the mainly Catholic idea of the Churches Militant, Penitent, and Triumphant. Ecclesiology is the subdiscipline within Christian theology which studies the nature of the Christian Church.
The infallibility of the Church is the belief that the Holy Spirit preserves the Christian Church from errors that would contradict its essential doctrines. It is related to, but not the same as, indefectible, that is, "she remains and will remain the Institution of Salvation, founded by Christ, until the end of the world." The doctrine of infallibility is premised on the authority Jesus granted to the apostles to "bind and loose" and particularly the promises to Peter in regard to papal infallibility.
Sacred tradition, or holy tradition, is a theological term used in the major Christian traditions, primarily those claiming apostolic succession, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, and Anglican traditions, to refer to the foundation of the doctrinal and spiritual authority of Christianity and of the Bible.
Prima scriptura is the Christian doctrine that canonized scripture is "first" or "above all" other sources of divine revelation. Implicitly, this view acknowledges that, besides canonical scripture, there are other guides for what a believer should believe and how he should live, such as the created order, traditions, charismatic gifts, mystical insight, angelic visitations, conscience, common sense, the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else. Prima scriptura suggests that ways of knowing or understanding God and his will that do not originate from canonized scripture are perhaps helpful in interpreting that scripture, but testable by the canon and correctable by it, if they seem to contradict the scriptures.
The Charismatic Episcopal Church, more officially known as the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC), is an international Christian denomination established as an autocephalous communion in 1992. The ICCEC states that it is not a splinter group of any other denomination or communion, but is a convergence of the sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic traditions that it perceives in the church from the apostolic era until present times.
Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
Lex orandi, lex credendi is a motto in Christian tradition, which means that prayer and belief are integral to each other and that liturgy is not distinct from theology. It refers to the relationship between worship and belief. As an ancient Christian principle it provided a measure for developing the ancient Christian creeds, the canon of scripture, and other doctrinal matters. It is based on the prayer texts of the Church, that is, the Church's liturgy. In the Early Church, there was liturgical tradition before there was a common creed, and before there was an officially sanctioned biblical canon. These liturgical traditions provided the theological framework for establishing the creeds and canon.
Ecclesiastical polity is the operational and governance structure of a church or of a Christian denomination. It also denotes the ministerial structure of a church and the authority relationships between churches. Polity relates closely to ecclesiology, the study of doctrine and theology relating to church organization.
Anglican doctrine is the body of Christian teachings used to guide the religious and moral practices of Anglicans.
The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, is a term describing four distinctive adjectives—"one, holy, catholic and apostolic"—of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." This ecumenical creed is today recited in the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Moravian Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Presbyterian Churches, the Anglican Communion and by members of many Reformed churches.
The Deposit of Faith is the body of revealed truth in the Scriptures and Tradition proposed by the Roman Catholic Church for the belief of the faithful. The phrase has a similar use in the Episcopal Church.
The Shape of Sola Scriptura is a 2001 book by Reformed Christian theologian Keith Mathison. Mathison traces the development of sola scriptura from the early church to the present. He views the Protestant Reformation as a time of recovery of the doctrine that had been under assault from the fourth century. He argues that relativism and individualism permeate present-day teaching on the subject, and that widespread misunderstanding of the doctrine of sola scriptura has been eroding the church from within. This, in Mathison's view, has led to conversions from Protestantism to other religions, and has undermined the relationship among Scripture, church tradition, and individual believers as set forth by the early church and restated by the Magisterial Reformers.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church:
The Reformed Anglican Church (formerly named the "Protestant Episcopal Church, USA") is a Reformed and episcopal church in the United States. It was founded as a split from the tiny Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church, now defunct. The church is strongly confessional, Reformed and evangelical. It uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
Criticism of Protestantism covers critiques and questions raised about Protestantism, the Christian tradition which arose out of the Protestant Reformation. While critics praise Protestantism's Christ-centered and Bible-centered faith, Protestantism is faced with criticism mainly from the Catholic Church and some Orthodox Churches, although Protestant denominations have also engaged in self-critique and criticized one another.