Thursday, March 14, 2013

Living Tradition

The faithfulness to Tradition is not a loyalty to antiquity but rather the living relationship with the fullness of the Christian life. The appeal to Tradition is not so much the appeal to earlier patterns as it is an appeal to the “catholic” experienced of the Church, to the fullness of her knowledge...  The scope of Tradition cannot be established simply by historical research.  That would be a very dangerous path...  Tradition is known and understood only by belonging to the Church, through participation in her common or "catholic" life... The "Catholic Church" can also historically turn out to be the "small flock."  There are probably more "heretics" than "orthodox believers" in the actual world...  The Church is catholic because she is the Body of Christ...  
                            Georges Florovsky in Creation and Redemption, pages 37-38

I was reaching for another book when I inadvertently pulled this one down with it.  I glanced through the pages and began to read.  Good stuff.  Now I forgot which other book I had been searching for and why.  But that is the way it is.  In looking for something else, we stumble into gold.

The Church is not Catholic because she is the majority or because of a tie to the past but because this catholicity is lived out in the liturgical and sacramental life of the faithful, called, gathered, and enlightened by the living voice of God's Word, set apart by baptismal mark and new birth, and sent forth to do the work of the kingdom through the means of grace.  The smallness of the Catholic Church does not mar or detract from her catholicity since that catholicity flows from who she is and not the possession of documents from the past or historical connection (apart from the continuity of what is believed, confessed, and taught).

Either Florovsky sounds Lutheran here or Lutherans sound Orthodox.  Either way it was a great stumble onto a great quote...  An accident of grace, I call it. Wish I had more of them... more often...


Chris Jones said...

Either Florovsky sounds Lutheran here or Lutherans sound Orthodox.

Well, it's not "Florovsky sounding Lutheran" if by that you mean Florovsky writing any differently from how he always does, or Florovsky being anything other than fully Orthodox. Florovsky is a giant of 20th century Orthodox theology, and this passage is vintage Florovsky. It may sound Lutheran, but it is simple Orthodoxy.

As for "Lutherans sounding Orthodox," the truer we are to our Confessions and to our liturgical heritage, the more often we will "sound Orthodox." If the shoe fits ...

Janis Williams said...

In regards to the previous post about Francis, this was providential (to use the Reformed word).

When we automatically assume all Roman Catholics (including the Pope) are unregenerate heretics, we step over the line.

Now I am not saying I am sure the Pope is a true believer, but it is not our place to say. The "Little Flock" is very likely to be completely different than we surmise. It is easy for me to be a Pharisee. Remember Jesus said tax collectors and prostitutes were entering the kingdom before the scribes and Pharisees.

Unknown said...

Florovsky is Orthodox, nothing else. If Lutherans sound Orthodox, it is coincidence.

Chris Jones said...


Florovsky is Orthodox, nothing else.

That is pretty much what I said. On the other hand:

If Lutherans sound Orthodox, it is coincidence.

I hardly think it is coincidence. The tradition that the Lutheran Reformers received, although obscured by the corruptions of the mediaeval West, was originally the same tradition that the Orthodox received. Whatever the Lutherans could recover from that corrupted tradition that was good and true, they (and we Lutherans today) hold in common with the Orthodox.

That is not a coincidence.