Over time, a church's teachings grow. I'm not talking about the space of mere years, but the course of centuries. Every once in awhile, though, as the church keeps adding to its teachings, the old doctrines and the newer ones don't blend well.
I'll start by picking on my own group: Lutherans. Originally Lutherans were a plain-spoken people, taking straightforward approaches to Scriptures, and being open about the fact that the early church held some Scriptures in higher regard than others. There were books in the Bible that the early church accepted from the beginning, and others that were only accepted gradually or reluctantly. Lutherans had no problem saying that the books of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation "had a different reputation" in the early church, in ancient times -- a more uncertain reputation, to be exact, than the well-accepted books such as the gospels, or most of the letters in the New Testament. To this day a well-trained Lutheran theologian will handle some books of the Bible with more caution than others out of respect to the earliest church's different opinions of them.
Over the long years the idea of "attested by the early church" was assumed and was no longer the central focus; "inspiration" started to gain in importance. Is Scripture inspired? Does inspiration have levels? Does "inspiration" allow for treating books differently depending on whether or not the early Christians received them? If all the books are "inspired" in the same way, on the same level, then does that leave any room to say "no doctrines are based on the books that the early church did not receive from the beginning"?
How can a book of the Bible be "inspired" (and possibly inerrant, according to some groups) -- but not suitable for forming doctrines?
I've noticed that some other groups have "Catch 22" scenarios in their teachings, areas where there is tension (to say the least) between different teachings.
If any fellow-Lutherans read the blog -- what do you think?
For the non-Lutherans out there -- have you seen any "Catch-22" doctrines around?