Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
Kingwood, Texas
 
 
Scripture, Tradition and Reason

Episcopal Sources of Authority: Scripture, Tradition and Reason

 What is the basis for our Episcopal identity? How did we become this way? How do we know what is good, true or right? What do we use to make decisions or decide on a course of action? To answer these questions we look to three Sources of Authority: Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

Scripture

We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain everything necessary for our salvation. We believe that the Bible is the living Word of God. The Bible was compiled over many centuries by individuals who were inspired by their own experiences of God. Episcopalians are not strong on concepts of literal interpretation, verbal inspiration or the inerrancy of Scripture. We interpret Scripture in light of the historical traditions of the Church using our God given human reason. Context and purpose have always been important in interpreting and discerning the Word of God.  We believe that looking at issues of language, form, content and history are essential to right use of Scripture.

Tradition

We take an historical approach to Christianity. Our theology, worship and other practices  are shaped by the traditions of the Church of the first five or six centuries and the Church of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Prayer books, liturgical practices and the historical sacraments of the Church all figure into this. Tradition was used for the promotion of toleration and stability in the midst of the chaos of the English Reformation.

 

Tradition (Cont.)

We seek a middle way or path of understanding that incorporates tolerance and diversity. The Episcopal Church strives to live within the tension of being both Catholic and Protestant and seeks to be faithful to the traditions in ways that speak to contemporary men and women.

Reason

When we speak of reason we also include human experience as a part or source of reason. Theologically, Episcopalians think of reason as that rational, critical capability which is a significant part of what it means to be created in the image of God. Reformation theologian Richard Hooker described this as God-given “right” or “holy” reason. We see historic and contemporary theological thought as being a product of human reason.

 We believe that human reason is damaged and distorted by sin, but not totally or hopelessly corrupted by sin. It is possible for us to discern God’s will and purposes for us. However, we are dependent upon God’s grace to accomplish the good we seek.

We invite you to join us on a spiritual journey. A journey guided by Scripture, Tradition and Reason through Bible study, fellowship, discussion, service and worship. Regardless of who you are and where you are in your own journey; The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!