In theological circles these days there is a push to recover the so-called Great Tradition, of the type of thinking, in regard to the Trad, or also, the so-called Consensus Patrum, that we get in Vincent of Lérins. That is, a type of generalization a flattening out of a perceived consensus of the faithful that has some type of agreed upon core of the core of orthodoxy that ostensibly the majority of Christian theologians, “orthodox” ones, have affirmed and submitted to as regulative for their own respective theological offerings. Contemporaneously, we have movements by Reformed theologians, particularly Baptist ones currently, who are appealing to the so-called Great Tradition, as if it represents some sort of static basis for Christian orthodoxy that can simply be recalled, and reiterated for all that is sacrosanct in a so-called (and self-asserted) classical Christianity. Maybe something like Craig Carter’s work Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition, or his forthcoming book, Contemplating God with the Great Tradition comes to mind; at least it does for me. There are others in Carter’s mood, like Matthew Barrett, and a whole host of like evangelical and Reformed theologians attempting to signal that the only hope for the evangelical churches is to return to this static body of theological development, in the history, called the Great Tradition.
But the above largely represents mythology. Jason Radcliff helps to point out how this type of appeal to some sort of Great Tradition becomes so subjective, as far as determining what in fact is entailed by this Great Tradition, that it becomes a useless endeavor. Radcliff writes:
Cf. Thomas Oden, D. H. Williams, and others who propose a return simply to the “Tradition” tend to cast their nets extremely wide. For example, Oden’s list of paleo-orthodox writers found at the end of one of his earlier books. Oden noted that this is a much bigger list than in his “Agenda for Theology” in 1979 when he listed Pannenberg, von Balthasar, and Congar. See Oden, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy, 165-66. The problem with a simple return to the general “Tradition” is indeed that there is no such thing and thus the list of people returning to it can be huge (as Oden’s was). Torrance and others who return to the classical evangelical tradition of Trinity and Christology offer a more “objective” method which allows differentiation between different traditions in the history of the church. The problem with the approach of Oden is that the list of relevant authors becomes deceptively long on account of the fact that basically anyone returning to historical sources can be considered “paleo-orthodox” without differentiation.
What Radcliff helps to clarify is that what is needed, for the historical theologian, is some type of regulative lens by which the confessional history itself can be read and ordered; not unlike what the theological task is entailed by to begin with. For those who would attempt to simply throw a notion out there like a Great Tradition, as if some anomalous group of erstwhile theologians have agreed upon as such, is to engage in a type of appeal to the people from an argument from silence. This is not to say that there is no historical theological depth and doctrina to appeal to, but it is to say that an attempt to appeal to an abstract notion of a Great Tradition ends up only reflecting the subjective desires and wishes of the contemporary theologian attempting, really, to marshal some static body of truth, in an anonymous way, that simply is not there. The reality, of course!, is that the theologian who makes such appeals must first have some type of clear, “objective,” regulative lens that will help them cull the riches of the theological past in a way that ends up magnifying Jesus Christ. Radcliff believes TFT offers this type of lens by TF’s deployment of the homoousion as the canonical lens through which to constructively engage with the past in order to bear fruit for the present iteration of the church catholic.
At the very least what should be taken from this is that we ought to be wary of anyone who simply asserts some type of Great Tradition, and then proceeds to use that as a theological cudgel to beat others up with who departs from their subjective interpretation of whatever they deem to be representative of the Great Tradition, Consensus Patrum and/or Consensus fideilium.
 Jason Robert Radcliff, Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers: A Reformed, Evangelical, and Ecumenical Reconstruction of the Patristic Tradition (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014), Loc. 5487 n. 845 Kindle Edition.