Catholic Church”. This is simply false. We know, for example, that a full 97% of the Protestant canon was in existence as testified by the Muratorian canon in A.D. 186. We know secondly, that there was no church hierarchy that “decided” the canon, formed the canon, or pronounced the canon. The canon of Scripture was *RECOGNIZED* over time by the people of God, not CREATED by them. The early fathers never, ever claimed to be giving authority to the Scriptures by placing a book in their “canon list.” They were all aware of their subservience to, and dependence upon, the Word of God. I do not owe by New Testament to the Roman Catholic church, nor to any church council, nor to any early church father. I owe my New Testament solely and completely to the author thereof–the Holy Spirit of God, who directed God’s people in their *recognition* of His revelation. Scott, if you want references, then deal with my canon paper, which I know you already have.
POINT 9: Again, Scott, both you and the author miss the whole point: first, it is false to say that the canon process did not begin until after 313; if this is so, why is there so much evidence of it *before* then in the writings of early fathers who died long before 313? Secondly, the fact that there was a time frame in which God’s people worked out the recognition of Scripture is no more of an argument against the sufficiency and sole authority of Scripture than saying that since there was a time lag of two to three hundred years in the recognition of the OT canon meant that the Jews could not believe that the Tanakh was the sufficient and sole source of authority! Have you not thought of the fact that the Lord Jesus, in subjecting Himself to the authority of the Word in His ministry, provides the ultimate refutation of your claims at this point? The ministry of Jesus comes about 400 years after the last OT book is written; Jesus clearly believed that the Scriptures were the sole authority and source of truth about God. Yet, He was up against a whole cadre of men who claimed to have *both* the Scriptures AND TRADITIONS OF EQUAL AUTHORITY! Jesus spent much time pointing out their errors. What if they had said, “but you are obviously wrong, since *we* have the priesthood authority, and *we* have the unwritten traditions of our elders, and you don’t!” Indeed, they tried more than once to kill Him for violating their “traditions”, just as Romanism has killed so many hundreds of thousands for the same thing. Seems we really *don’t* learn from history, do we?
POINT 10: Again, it is simply historical fiction that some delegation of “Biblical scholars” were sent to the Holy Land to study these books. That’s just silly. If they are referring to Jerome (who went to Bethlehem, studied Hebrew, translated the Vulgate, and completely opposed the Apocryphal books being included since he learned while there that the Jews had *never* accepted those books as authoritative, and neither had the Lord or the Apostles), then they are wrong again. Hence, Scott, Jerome is not a side issue–I was *trying* to give the benefit of the doubt to the author and find *some kind* of historical basis for his comments– before you accuse someone of “not sticking to the issues” try finding out what they are referring to, first.
POINT 11: Scott, you say I was wrong in stating that the author was saying that the NT was “given authority” by the Church, yet how in the world can you escape this obvious conclusion when the author specifically wrote, “If the *Church* was not infallible then, in that case the New Testament is not worth the paper it is written on…” What blasphemy! Such a person simply is not a Christian, Scott! Is this person so daft as to not realize that, from his perspective, the same council “decided” the OT canon as well, and hence when the Lord Jesus quoted Scripture as utterly authoritative, its authority was dependent upon the decision of a council yet 400 years future?? Ridiculous! He is saying that unless the council that decided the canon (there was no such thing of course, we’ve already seen this is simply fiction) was infallible, then the NT is worthless–useless–garbage! Scott, if every single person on God’s green earth denied the validity and truth of the NT, that would not for a second change its truthfulness or authority! GOD’S WORD IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON THE APPROBATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF MAN!
You then said, “The Church *was* the organization that decided which books were inspired…” OK, you have my canon paper. All the sources in that paper are in my library. Document your claim. Show me where my citations from the early fathers (that you didn’t know existed until last week) are in error; show me the citations that prove your case. You asked for documentation–I’m asking for it back, too.
And, of course, I do not accept the claimed infallibility of your church; it would have surprised greatly those who attended even the councils of Hippo and Carthage to which you refer to find that people much later would think that they were infallible! Augustine would laugh in the face of a modern Roman Catholic on this issue! My acceptance of the NT is based upon the infallibility of the Spirit of God, not the pretended infallibility of pretenders to the Christian name.
POINT 12: First, Scott, this was not a restatement of 11. The writer of this pamphlet claims that we “can’t go back and check out” these other books that were in the running for the canon. That’s not what point 11 said at all. Hence, I did not come up with an “entirely new answer” as you say.
Scott, in the beginning of my replies, I pointed out that being ignorant is OK, as long as you don’t flaunt it. In this point, you flaunted your ignorance to the nth degree. What books do I have access to that “the rest of us don’t”? Well, you may be *ignorant* of what these books were, but the rest of us aren’t. Rod has them. Rod has taught classes on them. They can be purchased at local bookstores. *IF* you had read my canon paper, you would know what books they were, and would have a bibliography that would provide you with the information you seek. Christian scholars *do* know all about these things–you just don’t know anything about Christian scholarship, and hence have the audacity to write, “I would be *very* interested to have some other Bible scholars say the same thing you just did! You stated that you have had access to (and I assume have read or seen) these “all” the books that “were accepted by various of the early Christian fathers”,) so why not share it with the rest of Christianity?” The rest of Christianity that has studied the issue is well aware of these books, Scott. We know all about the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, and Barnabus. We have the texts of these books (that were included by some early fathers as books that were accepted as canonical by some), we have read these books, etc. Do you really need a list of Bible scholars? Try “all” as a good substitute. Not only is your own abject ignorance of the topic glaringly portrayed for all to see, but your author’s complete error is seen as well. This man doesn’t know his historical facts, and, sadly, you dived right in behind him–right into the big, deep vat of error. Now you are faced with a question, friend: either admit the error and make it a “BIBONLY.24” file, or stand proud and strong in your error and falsehood. Which it shall be will be very instructive.
I will pick up with point 13 later, and continue on to provide the initial replies to points 20-25 as well.
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add unto his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)