Pelikan on tradition vs. traditionalism

Today our pastor used this excellent quote by Jaroslav Pelikan about “tradition” in his sermon.

Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name (The Vindication of Tradition, 65).

In the study of Colossians, for example, I think this perspective is very relevant. Paul was not criticizing that the Colossians philosophers were ritualistic, but specifically that they relied on their rituals as rituals to obtain wisdom and ward off evil. For Paul, all activity and thought must be directed at Christ. That is the only way, for Paul, it will continue to be a LIVING faith.

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