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Holding the Traditions (3)

Having explained the idea and the content of the "traditions" (II Thess. 2:15) last time, we must now ask: Where does this leave the church of Rome and her tradition? Rome has rejected apostolic traditions. Justification by faith alone is jettisoned for justification by faith and works. Christ’s all sufficient atonement and mediation is rejected for the mass and the intercession of Mary and the saints. Sovereign election and reprobation (11-14) is forsaken for the "gospel" of free will. (How few professed Protestants today "stand fast, and hold" this apostolic tradition!) Rome also rejects the faithful tradition of the best teachers of the church (e.g., Augustine, Luther and Calvin).

However, II Thessalonians 2 does apply to Rome and her tradition. It is not verse 15, though. Rome is embraced in the "falling away" (3), idolatry (4), false miracles (9), ingenious deceits (10) and "strong delusion" (11) which softens the world up to receive the "man of sin" (3), who brings the apostasy of the centuries to its culmination. At "his coming" (8) on the clouds, Christ will destroy "the son of perdition" (3).

While many are "falling away" (3), our calling is to "stand fast" (15) by "hold[ing] the traditions" as we "have been taught" (15). Obviously, this includes the truth of this chapter (II Thess. 2). Hold fast to the truth of Christ’s bodily return in great glory to destroy the man of sin who is the culmination of the working of the mystery of iniquity. Hold fast to the truth that God sovereignly orders all of this for the salvation of His elect and the destruction of the wicked (11-14). Indeed, hold fast to all of God-breathed Scripture: OT and NT; every book, chapter and verse.

Every professedly Christian group has its tradition (a received body of doctrine), whether its tradition is large or small, or whether or not it even realizes that it has its tradition. But how are we to judge between the various traditions of Rome or the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Reformed churches, etc.? Scripture, of course, is the infallible rule which judges all tradition (Acts 17:11; I John 4:1).

We in the CPRF believe that the Three Forms of Unity (the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt) faithfully set forth and summarize what the Scripture teaches about the Trinity, Creation, the Person and natures of Christ, the doctrines of grace, etc. Thus we stand fast to the Three Forms of Unity as a concise and accurate presentation of the truth of God’s Word.

We ought also to notice that the command of II Thessalonians 2:15 to hold the traditions is not addressed to church officers (pastors, elders and deacons) but to all the "brethren." For the Bible is given to all God’s people, for they all have the Spirit of Christ to enable them to understand and cling to the truth of God’s Word.

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Additional Info

  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 15
Stewart, Angus

Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)

Ordained - 2001

Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001

Website: www.cprf.co.uk/

Contact Details

  • Address
    7 Lislunnan Road
  • City
    Ballymena
  • State or Province
    Co.Antrim
  • Zip Code
    BT42 3NR
  • Country
    Ireland
  • Telephone
    (01144) 28 25 891851

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