Concerning Church History...
by Dr. Dan Sharp, Minister of Worship
Concerning church history, Karl Barth writes, “Are we at liberty to ignore the past? Do the great teachers of the Church...not possess a - certainly not heavenly - but, even so, earthly human authority?”
We should not be too ready to say, “No!” [to the past]. To my mind, the whole question of tradition falls under the Fifth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother. In the Church, the same kind of obedience as I hope you pay to your father and mother, is demanded of you toward the Church’s past, toward the “elders” of the Church.
Here we are not talking about style per se. We are talking about the bigger picture of the history of God working through His Bride, the Church. Again and again in the Old Testament we read where Israel recited repeatedly the history of God's acting on their behalf.
Tradition must include memory. As Jarislov Pelikan said, “Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition is the living faith of those who have died.”