The Christian Tradition
Publisher: CrossReach Publications
These chapters are intended to illustrate the continuity and the value of Christian tradition in conduct, belief, and worship. They are necessarily only illustrations, and omit many subjects of very great importance. But they will have served their purpose if they render any help towards determining what is and what is not ‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’ The last few years have been very fruitful in discussions and discoveries connected with early Christian history, and certain results have begun to emerge with great distinctness. One is the fact that the peculiar features of Protestantism rest on traditions which are as unhistorical as those which underlie some modern features of Roman Catholicism. Another result is the fact that the critics of orthodox Christianity are now destroying one another’s theories much more than they are destroying the Catholic faith. The extreme Dutch critics are perfectly right when they tell their more moderate German rivals that it takes time for a non-supernatural religion to grow into one which is supernatural. They cannot logically believe that Jesus Christ was only an excellent Jewish preacher, and at the same time admit the genuineness of half of the earliest Christian literature. And the German critics aforesaid are perfectly justified in hurling the name of ‘pseudo-criticism’ at a school which, in the case of Christian literature, rejects evidence of genuineness which would be regarded as more than sufficient in the case of non-Christian literature.
It has been necessary to limit the number of references printed in this book. But in the chapter on ‘Penitence in the Early Church’ it has seemed best to give as full references as possible, in view of the recent discussion in England concerning the subject of sacramental confession.