Though Catholicism often bears the brunt of the accusation, if you are honest you will recognize that all Christians are operating under one array of traditions or another. What is tradition and what part should (or shouldn’t) it play in the life of a Christian?

Ask many Christians today what traditions their denomination follows and they will back away in disgust like the tattooed Quiquig did in the movie Moby Dick, when he was asked if he was a Christian. “Traditions?! We don’t hold to any traditions! We follow only the Bible and the Bible says that traditions are nothing more than manmade philosophies, full of ‘empty deceit’, and concocted by the influence of demons” (cf. Col 2:8).

But what is it that separates one Christian denomination from another other than the unique biblical interpretations of each denominations, that have been handed down, defended, and followed generation after generation? Aren’t these “traditions”? Some might insist on a different title, but aren’t the ideas that Christians shouldn’t dance or drink or go to moves or wear jeans to church, or that Christians should wear business suits to church or bow their heads when they pray or gather for another worship on Sunday or Wednesday evenings, at least “customs” if not “traditions”?

And what did Saint Paul mean when he said, “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15), or “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you” (1 Cor 11:2)?

Though Catholicism often bears the brunt of the accusation, any honest Christian must recognize that all Christians are operating under one array of traditions or another. But how does one determine which tradition is trustworthy and true? And what part does an authoritative tradition play in providing a trustworthy and true interpretation of the Scriptures? This is what we hope to examine in this section.

Going Deeper

Kenneth Howell

Three Ways the Reformed Faith Prepared Me to be a Catholic

September 16, 2013


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What is the Relationship Between Scripture and Tradition?

March 16, 2010


Personal Testimonies

Peter Kreeft

Hauled Aboard the Ark

October 31, 2011


How I Got This Way

January 18, 2011

Looking into Scripture

Guy Doud, “Hold fast to the traditions…” 2 Thes 2:15

March 24, 2010

Deep in Scripture

Hold Fast to the Traditions You Were Taught, 2 Thessalonians 2:15

December 16, 2009

Deep in Scripture


Evangelicalism and the Early Church, 2 Peter 1:16-21

October 28, 2009

Deep in Scripture


Listener Q&A: Sola Scriptura, English Translations, Studying Paul

July 2, 2008

Deep in Scripture

Typology and a Visible Church: Steve Ray’s “Verses I Never Saw”

April 30, 2008

Deep in Scripture

Tradition of the Church, 2 Thessalonians 2:15

November 1, 2006

Deep in Scripture

Other Voices

What Does the Word Catholic Mean?

December 7, 2015

Recommended Books & Documents

Let’s Go Deeper

We invite you to join a network of men and women striving to embrace Christ in His fullness.

As you look for answers, we want to support you in fellowship and prayer. Our online forums and discussion groups are a great place to pursue this and other topics like it.

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