Category: Bible alone

Sacred Tradition, milk and honey

On Craig’s blog, THOUGHT ON “MILK, HONEY, BAPTISM, AND THE DEATH OF TRADITION”, I made the following comment:

De Maria said:

  1. Craig said;  If Catholicism and Orthodoxy have preserved “Tradition,” why isn’t there milk and honey used during baptism?

    Because it is the Pope and the Church which holds the keys to the Kingdom. Not individual priests or Bishops.

    Believe it or not, tasting a delicious concoction of milk and honey used to be a very important baptismal tradition.

    I believe it.

    First, why is this a big deal? It is because they claim that a Sola Scriptura view leaves out important traditions and teachings that are not found in the Scripture, but rather in tradition.

    That is correct.

    To prove this viewpoint the will point to quotes from Fathers such as Basil of Caeserea that say something to the following effect:

    Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church, some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the apostles by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force
    If such traditions have the “force” of true religion, why isn’t drinking milk mixed with honey something still required as part of the baptismal rite?

    Let’s talk about something a bit different. Just to make a comparison. God said, in His Word,

    Exodus 20:8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    Those words and that Tradition was set forth by ALLMIGHTY GOD. Right?

    Do Christians still keep the Sabbath? Not in the eyes of the uninitiated. They see us keep the first day, that is, Sunday. Not the Sabbath. However, the word Sabbath has two meanings. One is 7 and is a reference the seventh day, which is Saturday in our calendar. The other is OATH. And we still keep the oath, except we keep it on Sunday Mass as a day of obligation and are free to make the oath on a daily basis in the daily Mass.

    So, why was it transferred, if God commanded us to keep it on Saturday? Because of the authority which Jesus Christ, (aka God) vested in the Catholic Church when He said, “the gates of hell will not prevail against it and I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. What you lock on earth will be locked in heaven. What you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    Therefore, the day of worship was changed to the first day of the week and you see no objection in the Scripture. In fact, the Scripture only mentions it in passing:

    Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

    Some apologists will say that maybe milk and honey was never quite so serious. However, it was.

    Do you think that the command to keep the Sabbath was serious? or not?

    Ok, now let’s examine what St. Jerome has to say. First, you are essentially like the Luciferians (No, it is not a reference to Satan). You are questioning the authority of the Catholic Church. So this is an excellent document to study. Let’s begin a bit earlier than you did, though.

    8. L. Thirsty men in their dreams eagerly gulp down the water of the stream, and the more they drink the thirstier they are. In the same way you appear to me to have searched everywhere for arguments against the point I raised, and yet to be as far as ever from being satisfied.

    And to me, you appear to be in the same situation as these men.

    Don’t you know that the laying on of hands after baptism and then the invocation of the Holy Spirit is a custom of the Churches?

    You do know that this is a reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation, right? Note how he calls it a custom or what we, today refer to as SacredTradition of the Church.

    Jerome writes Against the Luciferians:

    Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in the Acts of the Apostles.

    I doubt that you would accept that proof today. If you did, you would be Catholic.

    And even if it did not rest on the authority of Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of a command.

    Now, he refers to the authority of the Tradition which is being practiced by the whole world at that time.

    For many other observances of the Churches, which are due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as for instance the practice of dipping the head three times in the laver,

    We still do that. Notice that he is not referring to full immersion. The Church has ever practiced pouring, sprinkling and immersion. And it has always been three times. And there is Scripture proof for all three.

    and then, after leaving the water, of tasting mingled milk and honey in representation of infancy; 

    We don’t do that anymore in the West. But it is not forbidden, as far as I know.

    and, again, the practices of standing up in worship on the Lord’s day,

    A reference to Sunday Worship, which before the invention of the “pews” by Protestants, was always standing.

    and ceasing from fasting every Pentecost; 

    You probably understand that to mean that we cease from fasting on the day of Pentecost. But, that is because Protestants celebrate single days, such as Christmas day, Easter Sunday, and perhaps, some, the day of Pentecost.

    But we don’t. We celebrate seasons. The Christmas season is 12 days long. Before that is the season of Advent. After Christmas is the season of Lent, which is forty days and we fast during that time. Then comes Easter and Easter Sunday is the first day of the Easter season which is simultaneously the first day of Pentecost. The day of Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. And we cease to fast during those 50 days. We begin to fast again, afterwards.

    and there are many other unwritten practices which have won their place through reason and custom.

    Yes sir. But, you don’t follow those. Because you make up your own mind how you will worship the Lord. Even though Scripture says:

    Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

    So you see we follow the practice of the Church,

    Notice how he keeps repeating this phrase. Why? Because he recognizes the authority which Jesus Christ vested in the Church.

    although it may be clear that a person was baptized before the Spirit was invoked.

    What is he talking about? He is advising rebaptism of heretics. Do you know that the Catholic Church does not, usually, follow his advice on this matter? If you read the entire document, he is advising to rebaptize heretics. But, for the most part, the Church doesn’t follow and has never followed that advice. Yes, even Doctors of the Church have erred in their advice.

    The Church has always recognized that some heretics have a valid baptism. For instance, today, the Church does not recognize the Baptism of the Mormons. But recognizes all others of which I’m aware, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, etc.

    But that wouldn’t bother St. Jerome. In fact, he may well be aware of that fact but is simply not thinking about it at the time that he is writing this document.

    Over 150 years previous, Tertullian wrote on another continent in De Corona in reference to baptism that “we taste first of all a mixture of milk and honey” and that is
    “sufficiently plain that you can vindicate the keeping of even unwritten tradition established by custom; the proper witness for tradition when demonstrated by long-continued observance.”

    Yep.

    Elsewhere, Hippolytus records the practice in his book “The Apostolic Tradition.” Doesn’t that mean it is Apostolic Tradition to have milk and honey with baptism? Or is he lying?

    Nope.

    Clement of Alexandria is an early, Eastern witness to the practice, just as Chromatius is a later western witness.

    Ok.

    Isn’t it clear that all of these men attest to the practice over centuries and that it was precisely the sort of extra-biblical tradition Basil was talking about. So, this begs the question, why do we not do it anymore when it was so clearly practiced as Apostolic Tradition in both the east and the west?

    Because the Church which the Holy Scriptures describe as the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15) and the teacher of the Wisdom of God (Eph 3:10) no longer requires it.

    Yet, the tradition died. Christ states that “[h]eaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33). Clearly milk and honey could not be originally his words.

    Lol! That is because you don’t understand the “spiritual” meaning of the words. Now, let’s go back to the example of the Sabbath. Do we continue to hold that God given Tradition, or no? I say, “Yes!” Because we still hold to the day of the OATH. It is mandatory for Catholics to come to the Sunday Mass on pain of mortal sin.

    Do we still drink milk and honey? Yes. Spiritually. Because we enter the land of milk and honey when we are baptized.

    Of course, all of this begs the question: how do we know that another tradition attested to by such a wide witness is actually legitimate? The truth of the matter is, apart from the Scripture (which is defined as “God breathed” in 2 Tim 3:16), no tradition can be held with the same degree of certainty. You heard straight from the horse’s mouth, milk and honey had “the authority of the written law.” Yet now, it doesn’t.

    All law is subject to the authority of the law maker. In this case, God speaking through His Church. But you don’t believe that. But the Scriptures attest to this truth:

    2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

    This is because there is not a single extra-biblical tradition that defines itself as literally breathed out by God. If God Himself did not breath it out, then how do you even know it is actually true with the same degree of certainty? Plain answer: you don’t.

    Now, let’s go through the Scriptures to find more defunct laws. You say you are guided by Scripture alone, right?

    Ok, do you, as a Christian, follow the Kosher laws?

    Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain…. from blood.

    And again, do you, keep the Saturday Sabbath?

    And, do you, require women to cover their heads in church? do you, baptize for the dead? do you consider the commandments mandatory?

    Those requirements are in Scripture. But Protestants no longer hold to them. They don’t have any excuse not to hold them since they claim to hold the authority of Scripture alone. Whereas, we understand that Christ placed His authority in the Church.

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