Evangelical bishop Colin Buchanan has an interesting piece here on the relationship between scripture and tradition. His theme is the supremacy of Scripture over Tradition, and the necessity of constant reformation of worship, even long-standing worship traditions, in the light of Scripture.

One of the earliest changes in almost every part of Europe where the Reformation came was the restoration of the eucharistic cup to the laity. The contrast was stark and clear – the inherited tradition of worship was that the bread alone was given to the people (a pattern which spread quite fast in the wake of the decree of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 enforcing the doctrine of transubstantiation): but when people could read the scriptures they found that at the last supper Jesus had not only said ‘Drink this…’ but had even added (for the cup alone) as though in a particularly prescient way: ‘… all of you’. The issue presented itself once the Bible was read, and it pushed people into one of two camps – either the worship tradition was autonomous (in which case it had to be viewed as compatible with the Bible at whatever cost in logic, perspicuity or common sense – and there would be no excuse for altering it), or it was subject to judgment by the Bible (in which case it could be and should be altered). Men and women fell into two camps as they adopted one of two mutually exclusive principles.

The 1979 Prayer Book could stand some re-examination in the light of Scripture. What changes would you suggest?

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