I heard a pastor at a community forum on homosexuality point out that Christians interpret life in light of their authority structure. He used the acronym REST for the Lego-like components of authority:
R – reason
E – experience
S – scripture
T – tradition
The way you prioritize these sources and the weight you give to each will determine your definition of orthodoxy and heresy; your concept of sanctification and sin. Here is my assessment of how certain groups stack up.
Scripture & Tradition (the same thing)
If you grew up EVANGELICAL you’ll remember being taught that faith in the Bible is the engine while feelings are the caboose. You can’t put stock in experience because of your sinful nature. The mantra for right living: “God said it; I believe it; that settles it.”
A GOOD CATHOLIC knows the living Church has to interpret the written Word and that two thousand years of tradition trump subjective exegesis. The sheer number and diversity of Protestant denominations—38,000 and counting—proves an unfettered Bible produces nothing but chaos.
POST MODERNISTS apply the litmus test of experience before accepting truth. They’ve learned from history that absolute truth corrupts absolutely. From the medieval church to modern communism, authoritarian regimes have committed the bloodiest atrocities. PMs trust themselves, not the “system,” to know truth when they feel it.
Sincere people will disagree on important issues so long as they have differing authority structures. Remember this next time you’re at odds with someone. Ask about foundations before arguing about facades. You’ll generate more light than heat that way.
Good advice, but between you and me, is one authority structure better than the others?
The one I use.