the value of tradition

“Tradition, viewed as the past teaching of the church in its confessions, creeds, and representative theologians, effectively represents the sum total of the accumulated biblical exegesis of the Christian church. It is not on a par with Scripture – some of it may even mislead us – but we neglect it at our peril and use it to our great advantage. …

This is where the common misunderstanding of the post-Reformation slogan sola Scriptura can be confusing. When the slogan was devised, it was never intended to exclude the tradition of the church. Instead, it asserted that the Bible is the supreme authority. Adherence to the idea that the Bible is the only source to be followed was the mistake of the anti-Nicenes in the fourth century, the Socinians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the nineteenth century, and many other sects and heretics. Effectively, it says that my understanding of the Bible is superior to the accumulated wisdom of every generation of Christians that has ever lived. Enough said.”

Robert Letham, Systematic Theology (2019), p33-34