One of the questions that must be asked is: when did the work of the Spirit in inspiration stop? The obvious answer is: when the last Apostle finished writing their last book/died. However, it is not so easy. Does the Spirit only inspire writing? We might get this idea from 2 Timothy 3:16, but to do so would be to misread the text.
even holy and ecumenical Synods which were directed by the inspiration of the one and the same Holy Spirit" (text from the so-called Eight Ecumenical Council of 879/880). In some way, the Spirit continued to move and speak in the Church: not in the sense of adding to or augmenting or contradicting the ancient Deposit, but clarifying through the Fathers the language and the means used to teach it and apply it to the life of the Church. Many, I know, would object to this line of reasoning, especially if they are traditionally Protestant (i.e., icons had been exonerated in the 7th Ecumenical Council). There are disturbing questions that must be addressed if this is not the case, though. Did the Spirit cease His work with the death of the Apostles? The Lord Christ promised that the Spirit "would lead in all the Truth" in John 16:14 -- is this promise only for the Apostles? If so, what guarantees do we have that we (or the Reformation, for that matter) have access to the unadulterated truth? (Answer: none.).
And so, again, it comes down to which ecclesial tradition bears the Spirit? As should be plain by now, I cannot confidently answer that question.
Some of the corollaries of all this (being the actual reason I started writing tonight) concern what might be called "later" practices of the Church. To return to the Facebook discussion referenced in the last post, what about "prayer beads"? Can this practice, which seems to have arisen in the Egyptian monastic movement, be legitimate even though it isn't Scriptural? One Reformed who answered the question said a very interesting thing (paraphrased): we don't find prayer beads in the pre-Christian Jewish tradition, therefore they are a later pagan influence. This sort of thing is certainly heard often, especially in some Reformed circles (those influenced by Theonomy, for example). The assumption behind it is that the inspiration of the Spirit in praxis ceased with the Apostles. To truly discern appropriate practice becomes, then, somewhat conjectural and certainly a form of archaeology. It certainly runs the risk of Judaizing. It also vaunts an unrecoverable past over the historical practice of the Church (interesting to note that this same critique can be applied to the textual theory that centers inspiration in the non-extant autographa). However, there is no biblical reason to favor a reconstructed Jewish tradition over what actually happened historically: St Paul became a Greek for the Greeks, and so did the Church herself. It has, and I think this is probably most true in Orthodoxy, retained many aspects of her Jewish heritage, but the Tree has not been stunted at the roots. Rather, through the ingrafting that Paul mentions in Romans 12, the Tree is truly cosmopolitan: the standard by which praxis is judged is not by its Jewishness, nor even necessarily if it appears in Scripture (let us remember that Jesus did not condemn phylacteries, jus the enlargement of such), but by whether it accomplishes the goal of theosis, or becoming like Christ, or acquiring the Spirit (three ways of saying the same thing): inspiration, in other words.