I was talking to a friend of mine who has some roots in and appreciation for the Anglican church. We got to talking about the role of tradition in the Christian life, and both of us agreed that tradition rightly understood is a strength of historic Christian churches (i.e. ordered liturgy, prayers, creeds, calendars, etc.). This, of course, has to do with sola Scriptura. The question is, does tradition fit in with the Reformation slogan ‘Scripture Alone?’ Richard Muller explains that it does. I appreciate how he states this.
“The strongly worded arguments of Protestant theologians of both the Reformation and orthodox eras against the idea of a coequal authority of Scripture, tradition, and church, typically summarized by the phrase sola Scriptura, must never be taken as a condemnation of tradition or a denigration of the authority of the church as a confessing community of believers. The Reformation took as its point of departure the late medieval debate over the relation of Scripture to tradition and assumed that tradition stood as a subordinate norm under the authority of Scripture and deriving its authority from Scripture. This assumption of the fundamental value and rectitude of the church’s faith insofar as it was genuinely grounded on the biblical Word allowed place in the Protestant mind both for a use of tradition and for a churchly use of confessions and catechisms as standards of belief.”
This is a great balance for which to strive. We should neither avoid tradition nor revere it, but instead appreciate it, utilize it, and remember that the Word stands authoritatively over tradition – as it stands over the church herself, of course.
The above quote can be found on page 345 of Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. II.