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mcgyver
Jan 7th 2008, 05:25 PM
First, I would ask that this thread not turn into a debate thread, PLEASE :)

In the midst of the "should_______be considered as canon" (i.e. Apocrypha, Gospel of Thomas, Shepherd of Hermes, etc.) and the questions "why was_____excluded"....

I have a question:

What is your own understanding as to the formation/acceptance of the current NT canon?

How do you think it came about?

Thanks :hug:

Slug1
Jan 7th 2008, 05:50 PM
This will be educating as I have no real clue :rolleyes:

SemperReformanda
Jan 7th 2008, 08:13 PM
From Robert Reymond's Systematic Theology:



Long have Christian scholars, after the fact, debated about what criteria the church employed during the third and fourth centuries to determine a given book’s canonicity. It has been urged that the early church applied such criteria as (1) apostolicity (Was a given book written by an apostle or by one so closely associated with an apostle that it received his apostolic endorsement?), (2) antiquity (Since only documents from the apostolic age should be considered as candidates for canonicity, was a given document written in that age?), (3) orthodoxy (Was a given book doctrinally correct, that is, in accord with the “apostolic faith,” particularly concerning the person and work of Christ?), (4) catholicity (Was a given book universally or virtually universally accepted throughout the church?), (5) lection (Was a given book being widely read and used in the churches?), and (6) inspiration (Was a given book inspired?), to judge whether any given book was to be viewed as “canonical” or not.

Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., has convincingly argued, however, and I think correctly, given the peculiar mix of books that make up the New Testament, that scholarship has not been able to establish a set of criteria for canonicity which does not at the same time threaten to undermine the New Testament canon as it has come down to us. According to Gaffin, the problems with the several suggested criteria are as follows: (1) The criterion of apostolicity does not account for Mark, Luke-Acts, Hebrews, Jude, and most likely James being included. To say that Mark and Luke/Acts are apostolic because the former is “Peter’s Gospel” (so Papias) and the latter is “Paul’s Gospel” is not sufficient, since we are given no reason to think that apostles could impart their apostolicity to others. Nor does this criterion explain why some of Paul’s other letters (see 1 Cor. 5:9; 2 Cor. 2:4, 9; Col. 4:16) were not included. (2) The criterion of antiquity is really a variation on apostolicity and fails to explain why Paul’s “previous” letter (1 Cor. 5:9) which was earlier than Hebrews was not included while Hebrews was included. (3) The criterion of inspiration, while certainly necessary to canonicity, cannot explain why Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans (Col 4:16), also apostolic and also inspired, was not included. This criterion also faces the insuperable difficulty of demonstrating the inspiration of such books as Mark and Jude. And (4) the criterion of lection cannot explain why documents such as the Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache, which were used and occasionally read in public worship, were finally rejected, while there is little to no evidence that such works as 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude were so used. While not denying that criteria such as apostolic authorship and conformity to apostolic orthodoxy were made use of in the early church as it moved toward a consensus on the New Testament canon, Gaffin contends that even the early church’s employment of its criteria, whatever they were, were at times defectively applied in reaching what eventually turned out to be right decisions. He has in mind here the book of Hebrews whose authorship the early church (he thinks incorrectly) ascribed to Paul. Furthermore, Gaffin contends, all attempts to demonstrate these criteria subject the absolute authority of the canon to the relativity of historical study and fallible human insight.

Regarding this last point Ridderbos also observes:

no matter how strong the evidence for apostolicity (and therefore for canonicity) may be in many instances and no matter how forceful the arguments in favor of the apostolicity of certain other writings may be, historical judgments cannot be the final and sole ground for the church’s accepting the New Testament as canonical. To accept the New Testament on that ground would mean that the church would ultimately be basing its faith on the results of historical investigation.

Of course, if this be the case, one may then ask, how can the church be certain, without a direct statement from God on the matter, that it was only these particular books that he intended should be canonical? How can one be certain that the New Testament does not include a book that should not have been included or that it fails to include a book that should have been included? How can one be certain that the New Testament canon is even closed? And would not the position espoused by Gaffin and Ridderbos, if endorsed, involve the church at the very foundation of its faith in a sort of “fideism”?

To such questions no answers can be given that will fully satisfy the mind that desires to think autonomously, that is, independently from Scripture. For regardless of whether or not the Christian scholar thinks he possesses the one right criterion or the one right list of criteria for a given book’s canonicity, at some point—and if at no other point, at least at the point of the established number, namely, twenty-seven New Testament books, not twenty-six or twenty-eight—the Christian must accept by faith that the church, under the providential guidance of God’s Spirit, got the number and the “list” right since God did not provide the church with a specific list of New Testament books. All that we know for certain about the history of the first four centuries of the church would suggest that God’s Spirit providentially led his church—imperceptively yet inexorably—when it asked its questions, whatever they were, to adopt the twenty-seven documents that the Godhead had determined would serve as the foundation of the church’s doctrinal teaching and thus bear infallible witness throughout the Christian era to the great objective central events of redemptive history, and that this “apostolic tradition” authenticated and established itself over time in the mind of the church as just this infallible foundation and witness.

Teke
Jan 7th 2008, 09:26 PM
With all due respect I disagree with Mr. Reymond. “Fideism” is a belief without evidence. Evidence is the proof. The cannon of the New Testament is a testament to what has been tried and proven true. It is stored deep in the hearts of the saints.

"If all the sacred books and written records of the Christian religion including the bible were lost in an earthquake or fire, they could be rewritten because they are stored deep in the hearts of the saints and can be brought out anytime when conditions permit it."
St Silouan

walked
Jan 7th 2008, 10:00 PM
"If all the sacred books and written records of the Christian religion including the bible were lost in an earthquake or fire, they could be rewritten because they are stored deep in the hearts of the saints and can be brought out anytime when conditions permit it."
St Silouan

Amen! :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp :pp
When man is in an ongoing/continual relationship with God, Gods holy Spirit will reveal truth and bring to remembrance to mans mind truth and, comfort mans heart with truth. God is faithful and His will, will be revealed to those who seek (((Him))) earnestly.
God has revealed ways for His individual faithful servants who have been called out from the fallen world by Him, He has revealed ways and has given those His Spirit to discern what is from Him and what is not from Him.
The revelation by Him doesn't have to be validated by men saying this is inspired and this is not inspired by God. (all things work for the good of those that love Him)

Individual men, priest/pastors, popes, cultures, nations, mans institutions and denominations of faith do not determine what is or isn't inspired by God, there is not one thing in all of Gods creation that was created that does not have a purpose for being created.

TRUE wisdom and TRUE understanding is revealed by God in a relationship with God and not found in what men say nor is it found in what men decide to institutionalize!

mcgyver
Jan 7th 2008, 10:11 PM
So far, so good :)

Thanks for the replies!

Others?

Untamed
Jan 8th 2008, 08:33 AM
The books of the NT canon are the best of the best and represent the proper canon for those of the faith in Yehu'shuah (abrev. to Y'shuah)

That is not to say there are not many other excellent old and early christian and prechristian texts out there, but the NT is the tested and true account of Christ and his apostles and deservedly so is the canonical witness to us.

Untamed

ServantofTruth
Jan 8th 2008, 06:03 PM
First, I would ask that this thread not turn into a debate thread, PLEASE :)

In the midst of the "should_______be considered as canon" (i.e. Apocrypha, Gospel of Thomas, Shepherd of Hermes, etc.) and the questions "why was_____excluded"....

I have a question:

What is your own understanding as to the formation/acceptance of the current NT canon?

How do you think it came about?

Thanks :hug:

The question for me is spiritual, not human. As God inspired the writers, he inspired whoever put the whole bible together. It might be an interesting thing to look at, but this is God's work not mans, so the who is always God.

Buck shot
Jan 8th 2008, 07:03 PM
I know one thing for sure....

I am just as glad I was not Adam as I am that I was not in the group of churches that came together to put the canon's to God's spiritual test. I cannot imagine taking all of Paul's letters to the churches and deciding which one's were inspired and which one's were his (Paul's) views on what they should do. It could not have been an easy task for people. I have faith that they were inspired also.

Just as glad that people today are not blaming everything on me and my wife.

I know if you don't stand (rock solid) for something, you will fall for anything. I draw my line where my grandmother did just as Timothy had his grandmother's faith.