What History Is

Sometimes in reaction to American naivete and historical groundlessness, various sectors of the Church will appeal to “history” and “tradition” as an antidote. I hope it is clear that I do in fact value tradition and want to listen to “the mind of the church,” however I am equally committed to being honest about what this means.

Somewhere along the way, the myth of the seven councils took an astonishing hold on the mind of various traditionalists. This myth basically states that back in the good ol’ days, the Church (the unified, holy, purest Church) held seven councils which defined true Christianity, and most of our problems today would be solved if we would just run back to these councils. Some people up the ante and say we should sign on to all of the lesser canons of the councils, and perhaps they will even say that these councils are infallible. Protestants are regularly challenged on why they don’t subscribe to Nicea II. “If you don’t subscribe to that one, what is stopping you from rejecting all the rest?” Continue reading