If a Holy Spirit indwelt person were stranded on a desert island with nothing but the Bible for ten years, would he come off that island with sound doctrine?
I believe he would.
Church tradition, although a helpful thing at times, is not necessary for sound doctrine.
If you have the Holy Spirit and the Bible, you’re good to go.
When Jesus spoke of the coming age–when all believers would be indwelt by the Spirit–He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”
What most don’t know about that verse is the first part of it!
“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.“
The “that day” is the age we currently live in, the age of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of believers. In that day, we won’t question Jesus! The Greek uses two separate words for “ask” in this verse.
Perhaps the reading is this: In that day, you won’t question me, because you’ll have everything I can give you simply by asking.
There are many such promises for us in this age in the Bible. Here are a couple of my favorites.
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;”
“And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.“
Jesus also made promises to His disciples that when they receive the Spirit they will know all things and their understanding will be complete. That’s cool.
We should trust God to teach us more than other people. At the same time the Bible tells us to trust God’s Word and His Spirit, it tells us to be careful of human tradition.
Perhaps the best one is 1 Peter 1:18
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers“
Agreeing with old guys doesn’t mean you’re saved!
Paul does throw in a couple verses in Thessalonians about holding “the traditions which ye have been taught” and later clarifies that these are the traditions “which he received of us”
Paul was not pointing them to church tradition, but to the teaching of the apostles, which makes up our New Testament now.
Church History and Church Tradition are fascinating subjects. They repeatedly show the error of listening to men! Knowing Church tradition can keep you from some errors, and more than likely, lead you into errors.
I’ve been to seminary. I know people who know all there is to know about church tradition. Institutions of higher learning, especially Christian ones that major on human tradition and not much on the Bible, are seldom known for sound doctrine.
You really don’t need church tradition.
I know this is a minority opinion, but alas, it’s the church who has made a church tradition of telling people they need church tradition! It’s a nice way to keep power.
I say–trust the Spirit, read the Word, and don’t be afraid to think.