Is Tradition static? The Tension between Tradition and Innovation

“Tradition and innovation: the tensions of a maturing Internet“ – when I twittered I was leaving for the conference and mentioned title I got an immediate reply and a question:

Could we say that theologically it’s a question of the redefinition/reworking of tradition, with innovation as a guide?

Theologically, we can answer the question regarding innovation with a reference to 1. Thess 5,21:

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Innovation is no value in itself but it must serve a purpose, it must foster the sharing of the Good News. Innovation is dynamic.

Is there a tension between innovation and tradition? Is tradition static?

The term “tradition” is an important concept in the history of salvation. Traditio in Latin, the Greek New Testament uses the paradosis, means handing over or handing down, deliver. The same word is used to denote both handing over of Jesus to be crucified and handing over or delivering the good news of the story of Jesus’ crucifixion to us.

Taking the two-fold meaning of tradition, it is clear that tradition is not only static, it is also dynamic  because it denotes an action, the handing over of Jesus. Without that action, there would not have been the crucifixion and without crucifixion there would not have been the resurrection, the Good News would not have been completed.

Tradition links us back to the story of Jesus. Therefore we need tradition and as Christians we cannot live without that tradition. Innovation is a tool to promote that story of salvation but it is not the content of that tradition.

Is there a tension between tradition and innovation. I hope there is productive tension and I am very much looking forward to exploring this tension during the next days at #ECIC18

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.