When Orthodoxy isn’t Orthodox

Much of Church Tradition has little to no biblical basis, other than what has been written by the Church itself – there are no ancient documents divinely inspired or otherwise written.  So it’s hearsay that became tradition.  Much like the Jewish Oral Law which was eventually recorded as the Mishnah.

In fact, it seems much of Church Tradition was influenced by the customs of other peoples and cultures in the regions of Greece, Anatolia, Assyria at the time – pagans & philosophers.  From the Hellenistic philosophers, Jewish scholars, and mystics to the Mesopotamian lore.

Even Gnosticism, thanks to findings of ancient manuscripts at Nag Hammadi and others, has a lot more evidence supporting its authenticity than that of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church today.

It seems that Church Tradition served to secure the authoritarian power of empires.  The Holy Roman, Byzantine empires were ultimately still imperial powers – they had to secure their supremacy and sole authority over Christianity.

The move to [Catholic or Orthodox] Christianity was for people, myself included, made much easier by the church adopting ritualism and mysticism.

Through my own journeys in neo-paganism and Judaism, I believe my own arrogance and longing for something equally mystical and ritual-based had drawn me to the Church – accepting Church tradition because it was familiar to me, just as it would have been familiar to the followers of the Ancient Greek/Hellenic religions.  We know that the Church used existing Pagan lore of the British Isles to assimilate the people more easily – some of our most Holy sites and churches are built on the holy places of our pagan ancestors.  Church Tradition as we know it is not and probabl never has been Orthodox – it is syncretism on a massive scale.

Apostolic Succession is a major factor or ‘glue’ for the Holy Tradition of the church – it ensures the church continues through those the presbyters see fit to receive and pass on that tradition, creating continuity of the power the Church has over Christians.  In reality, it isn’t worth the paper its written on – the Apostles spread the Gospels as they were commanded to.  Elders, whether they are ordained/consecrated ministers of the Church through Apostolic Succession, receive their authority through the Holy Spirit alone or are appointed by a congregation continue the work of the Apostles – according to the Holy Scriptures.

People may mock reformers – even the most successful reformer Martin Luther, but they do so because they rejected this tradition that the powerful church established, and debunk it using the Holy Scriptures.  Ultimately, I believe both sides make up the undivided Church – albeit with some major differences.  They both spread the Gospel, in ways that different people will be receptive to at different times in their lives.

I would go further to suggest the primary and valid Holy Tradition is that communicated to the Hebrews, contained within the Torah and the Mishnah.

One Comment

  1. If local customs and traditions of a people being missionized or evangelized are neutral then what is the problem? The Church doesn’t need a lobotomy now does she? It is human to have customs and traditions especially if they are taken-up to teach the Holy Gospels in some way.

    Possibly, just possibly, the optic by which you are seeing customs and traditions may need cleansing? Possibly?

    I would go slow. The Holy Gospels, themselves, are a product of tradition. The Incarnation came to and accepted customs and traditions as part of human life! Maybe you need to just get Chromwell out’ta your head concerning the Holy Church and polish your optic of perception with repentance?

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