(Not sure if this comment will eventually be released from "moderation" there -- at least one subsequent comment has published since the comment was submitted -- but I figured I can post it here, and if Mr. Stewart wants to reply here, he's welcome.)
Having posted a longer reply to your post here:
Let me briefly address two of your points:
1) Amos 9:11-12 does answer the question of whether circumcision is
necessary, because it refers to Gentiles who are called by the name of
the Lord. That may not be perspicuous to you, but it is the reason that
James quoted it.
2) In fact, the assembly did take a stand on the Scriptures
(especially Amos 9:11-12) against the traditions of men (namely the
traditions of the Judaizers – the men who came from James, but whose
tradition was inauthentic). This demonstrates the weakness of oral
tradition. If there was already phoney oral tradition in the mid-first
century, how much more opportunity there was for such phoney oral
tradition later on. A wise God could address this problem by providing
for the Scriptures to be written (well – completed – the bulk of the
Scriptures were already written) and widely disseminated rapidly.
In fact, God did use this approach. The Scriptures are able to
throughly furnish the man of God unto every good work. That’s why were
able to reject claims that the papacy was a divine institution even
before RC historians (such as Robert Eno and Francis Sullivan) and
non-RC historians (like Peter Lampe) demonstrated historically that the
papacy was a development.
Tradition of man or Scriptural teaching? Those are the options you
have today, since you cannot summon a council of the apostles to ask
them whether they transmitted an oral tradition of the bodily assumption
of Mary, of her immaculate conception, of her perpetual virginity, of
transubstantitation, of purgatory, of prayers to Mary, or prayers to the
saints, of worshiping of God by images, and so on and so forth — and if
you make an historical inquiry, you will find it clear that at least
some of those things do not extend back to the apostles.
So, will you hear Scripture and tradition? Or will you reject history and tradition in favor of the teachings of Vatican I?