Apocrypha-Help Needed

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by CalvinG, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. CalvinG

    CalvinG
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    Hello, everyone. This seems to be the forum where folks debate the merits of the various denominations including Catholicism.

    I have posted in the Baptist section (on Bible study as I couldn't figure out a better place to put it) of this board regarding the Apocrypha for assistance to me in a debate I am having with a Catholic. The Catholic church seems to have its doctrine and sources on the net more easily accessible than we Protestants do. In fact, using Google, I often encounter sites that are better characterized as anti-Catholic than pro-Protestant and which do not appear to be run by people educated in semminary (not that this is a pre-requisite to having a valid criticism of the Catholic church).

    It seems that double posting is not allowed on this board. And as a newcomer I don't want to break the rules here. So I will ask the Baptists here who have knowledge of why we reject the Apocrypha (meaning the books included in the Septuagint and recognized as canon by the Catholics but not in the Hebrew Bible and not recognized as canon by the protestants) and who have time to perhaps add a comment or two to my questions.

    All help is greatly appreciated.

    CalvinG
     
  2. Abiyah

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    Calvin --

    Do you also want answers from those not Baptist?
    If so, this is the place to get those answers. I am
    not considered Baptist, but would give an opinion
    if you want it.
     
  3. dumbox1

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    Calvin,

    MattBlack's answer up on the other thread wasn't too bad (for a Baptist viewpoint ;) ), although I think he underplayed the "certainty" of Carthage, didn't mention some other local councils that also addressed the issue around the same time (e.g. Hippo and, I think, Rome), and misdated St. Jerome's Vulgate a bit. (Jerome was in roughly the same time frame as Carthage, etc. -- within about a decade or so -- not a generation later. He died around 420, if memory serves.)

    But I think three lawyers discussing this issue would be too many, so I'll leave it to others.

    Mark
     
  4. CalvinG

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    I would like opinions from other Protestants. But Catholics shouldn't feel they shouldn't respond. Rest assured that I am getting the Catholic view from the person with whom I am debating the issues. She is plugged in to what appears to be a vast resource...the Catholic doctrines are a lot easier to find on the web than the Protestant ones...at least compared to good, educated, tested Protestant beliefs.

    I think it's sad that semi-official Catholic doctrine is so much easier to find. This poorly serves Catholics who are considering the validity of Protestant beliefs.

    I don't think I have set up a Catholic "straw man" that will be easy to knock down. My training is not to understate what I perceive to be the opposing viewpoint. It is, of course, possible that I have misinterpreted Catholic sources in stating their position.

    CalvinG
     
  5. thessalonian

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    Seems odd to me that the very councils that the Protestants believe got the New Testament books right, made a mistake about the OT books.

    James Akin does a bangup job of explaining the Catholic viewpoint on the issue at:
    http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/deuteros.htm


    By the way this may be her vast source.

    http://www.angelfire.com/ms/seanie/deuteros/dindex.html

    I don't mind giving you it at all. Looks like a great site.

    Blessings
     
  6. thessalonian

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    "I think it's sad that semi-official Catholic doctrine is so much easier to find. This poorly serves Catholics who are considering the validity of Protestant beliefs.

    I don't think I have set up a Catholic "straw man" that will be easy to knock down. My training is not to understate what I perceive to be the opposing viewpoint. It is, of course, possible that I have misinterpreted Catholic sources in stating their position."

    What is your question or the Catholic position that you are countering? What sort of a straw man might you be setting up. As far as unofficial sources I am not sure what you mean. Seems like your saying these websites shouldn't be trusted by Catholics looking in to protestantism with presenting authentic Catholicism. There are sites out there like that but I think the one I gave you is just fine.

    Blessings
     
  7. Matt Black

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    Hello again. I've dug up a bit of 'stuff' from our church's website (not copyrighted) on the subject, which is pretty accurate:-

    "There existed a Greek volume of the Jewish scriptural writings called the Septuagint (from the Greek word for "seventy," a reference to the tradition that seventy scholars all came up with the same translation from Hebrew into Greek).

    The Septuagint includes all the writings now included in the Catholic Old Testament, including the books of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom or the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and portions of Esther and Daniel - these are not included in Protestant Bibles.

    These are called the "deuterocanonical texts" by Catholics, and the Apocrypha by Protestants. The terms protocanonical and deuterocanonical, of frequent usage among Catholic theologians and exegetes, require a word of caution. They are not helpful, and it would be wrong to infer from them that the Church successively possessed two distinct Biblical Canons. Only in a partial and restricted way may we speak of a first and second Canon. Protocanonical (protos, "first") is a conventional word denoting those sacred writings which have been always received by Christendom without dispute. The protocanonical books of the Old Testament correspond with those of the Bible of the Hebrews, and the Old Testament as received by Protestants. The deuterocanonical (deuteros, "second") are those whose Scriptural character was contested in some quarters, but which long ago gained a secure footing in the Bible of the Catholic Church, though those of the Old Testament are classed by Protestants as the "Apocrypha.

    Rivalry was sharp and acrimonious amongst the Jews of the time, and different rabbis had followers of their different points of view, with a result that was very close to forming "denominations". The Jewish Council of Jamnia in A.D. 90 effectively terminated the disputes between rival rabbinic schools concerning the canonicity of the Jewish books of Scripture. In addition, there seems to have been a movement to discredit the new Jewish sect (Christians) who were using, primarily, the Greek texts. Books whose only existing editions were "mere" translations in Greek were stated by this Jewish council to be "less authentic", and were not included in the "official" Hebrew Canon. These are what came to be called the "Deuterocanonical books" by the Christians. These number seven books: Tobias (Tobit), Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, I and II Maccabees, and three other documents - the supplement to Esther, from chapter 10:4, to the end, the Canticle of the Three Youths (Song of the Three Children) in Daniel , chapter 3, and the stories of Susanna and the Elders and Bel & the Dragon, forming the closing chapters of the Catholic version of the Book of Daniel.

    Note that the Council of Jamnia took place nearly sixty years after the death and resurrection of Christ, and after the time of all the Apostles except John. The early Christian Church had used the Greek-language Scriptures as did the Jews of the time of Christ (some of whom spoke no Hebrew), which was the Septuagint, which consisted of the books of what we now call the Old Testament and the disputed Deuterocanonical Books. The Council of Jamnia effectively drew the line between Jewish Scripture and Christian Scripture once and for all.

    During the early centuries of the Church, there were many documents that claimed to hold "true" Christian teaching. Due to misinterpretation of various teachings, it became important to identify which were truly canonical and "inspired", and which were not. For instance, the very first version of the "New Testament", in AD 140, was written by an anti-Semite, Marcion, who deleted all references to Jesus' Judaism. This convinced the leaders of the Church that there was a dire need to authoritatively decree which books were to be considered truly inspired.

    Marcion was the first to have published a formal canon list in about 140 A.D.. It consisted of Luke and ten of Paul's letters. A number of other letters, Acts of various apostles, and other writings began to circulate at this time. Some supported various groups of the time including the Montanists, Gnostics, Docetists, and others who were later declared to be heresies. Irenaeus declared that there could only be four gospels and the Muratorian Canon was soon published which included the four Gospels, thirteen letters of Paul, two letters of John, Jude, Revelation, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Revelation of Peter (somewhat contested). The book of Hebrews was not included, although widely used and discussed even by Clement much earlier. The list of books in the canon continued to be debated throughout the third century until Eusebius published a list at the beginning of the fourth century. Books still in question included James, II Peter, II and III John, and Jude. Another canon was released by consensus in 367 A.D. which names the 27 books we know today. Additional books, the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, I Clement, and the Letter of Barnabas were considered suitable for study but not as scripture. This last list of books was finally accepted by the Council of Hippo in 393 A.D. and the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D

    The general rules to be included in the later canons were:

    It had to be written or sponsored by an apostle.
    It had to have orthodox content.
    It had to be publically used by a prominent church or a majority of churches.
    Some books which appeared to meet these rules were later dropped when proved to be forgeries, such as the Acts of Paul. Approximate dating of the development of the New Testament: AD 200 AD 250 AD 300 AD 400

    Selection of New Testament books as canonical was slow, the present Canon appearing for the first time in the Festal Epistle of Athanasius (A.D. 367). Ironically, it was not the deuterocanonical books that were the stumbling point, initially, but apparently the NT Scripture of the Book of Hebrews. Once this agreement on Canon was reached in it's final version, all major Christian churches used the same Canon. Basically, the Canon proclaimed in AD 367 by Athanasius is the same exact version of the Bible that the Catholic Church uses today.

    The New Testament canon developed over a period of time and those of the early church fathers were as follows:-

    Muratorian Canon
    Four Gospels, Acts, Pauls Letters: Romans, I & II Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Col. I & II Thess., I & II Tim., Titus, Philemon, James, I & II John, Jude, Revelation of John, Revelation of Peter, Wisdom of Solomin. Additionally the 'Shepherd of Hermas' was recommended for private study.
    Origen's collection
    Four Gospels, Acts,Pauls Letters: Romans, I & II Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Col. I & II Thess., I & II Tim., Titus, Philemon, I Peter, I John, Revelation of John.
    Disputed texts were:-
    Hebrews, James, II Peter, II & III John, Jude, Shepherd of Hermas, Letter of Barnabas, Teaching of Twelve (Didache), Gospel of the Hebrews.
    Eusebius's collection
    Four Gospels, Acts, Pauls Letters: Romans, I & II Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Col. I & II Thess., I & II Tim., Titus, Philemon, I Peter, I John, Revelation of John.
    Disputed texts were:-
    Hebrews, James, II Peter, II & III John, Jude.
    Purposely excluded: Shepherd of Hermas, Letter of Barnabas, Teaching of Twelve (Didache), Gospel of the Hebrews, Revelation of Peter, Acts of Peter
    Council of Carthage
    Four Gospels, Acts, Pauls Letters: Romans, I & II Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Col. I & II Thess., I, & II Tim., Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, Revelation of John.
    Pope Damascus I, at the Council of Rome in 382, stated the canon of Scripture, and listed exactly the same books the Catholic Church uses today. In the Synod of Hippo (A.D. 393) this same Canon was officially stated and adopted for all the Church, both East and West. However, it is evident that it found many opponents in Africa, since three councils there at brief intervals--Hippo, Carthage, in A.D. 393; Third of Carthage in A.D. 397; and Carthage in A.D. 419 - found it necessary to reiterate again and again the official catalogues. This canon, containing the Deuterocanonical books, was once again by the Second Council of Nicaea in 787; and then by the Council of Florence in 1442.

    In about the 4th Century CE, as Greek began to die out of the Western Empire, it became evident that there was a need for translation of the Christian Scriptures into Latin, which, as you may remember, was at that time the tongue of the common people of the West. The scholar Jerome undertook the task. Jerome used the best texts he could find (including Hebrew when available), and produced the so-called "Vulgate" (Common) Bible. Again, this translation, considered the most authoritative translation for centuries afterward, included the Deuterocanonical books. Jerome did indeed question including them, on the basis of the Council of Jamnia's decision. But the Pope insisted, based on their cannonicity, as declared by the Christian Councils.

    When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, it was the entire Catholic Bible that he translated. In fact, the composer Brahms set some of Luther's deuterocanonical texts to music in his "Vier Ernste Gesange." Luther placed the deuterocanonical books at the end of his Bible, with comments. Luther, however, later decided that since Jews wrote the Old Testament, the canon of the rabbis of the Council of Jamnia is the correct canon; he puts the extra 7 books in an appendix without page numbers that he calls the "Apocrypha." and comments that they are "useful".

    Luther stated that he was opposed to the OT Deuterocanonical books on the grounds that the Jewish council of Jamnia rejected them. This was not considered a "legitimate" argument by Roman Catholics, citing acceptance by various councils of the early Church.

    No copies of the apocryphal books were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Essene community which, if they reflected mainstream Jewish thought, anticipated the rejection of the Apocrypha by the Jewish council of Jamnia by perhaps some sixty years."

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  8. dumbox1

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    Calvin,

    Once again, I'd say Matt is pretty much on the money.

    I would dispute his last statement, though -- Tobit and Sirach (at least) were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Possibly others -- I don't know).

    Here's a link -- look around 1951-52 for mention of those two:

    Dead Sea Scrolls

    The site's compiler, an associate prof. at Rutgers, is apparently a Methodist, lest you suspect foul play!

    Also, the ex-newspaper editor in me wants to clarify that Marcion put together the first list of NT books -- he didn't actually write the first version of the NT! (I know that's what Matt meant).

    God bless,

    Mark

    P.S. -- Also, I've seen various folks dispute whether Jamnia/Javneh was really a "council" or something else -- a "rabbinnic school," etc. But I don't think that really matters much -- and, not having been present, I personally have no idea!
     
  9. BobRyan

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  10. BobRyan

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    (1) When the destruction of the city and Temple in Jerusalem was imminent, a great rabbi belonging to the school of Hillel in the Pharisaic party—Yochanan Ben Zakkai called a meeting to discuss whether canonical recognition should be accorded to certain books. The upshot of the Jamnia (AD 75) debates was the firm acknowledgment that Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Esther were indeed canonical. This event started the process of putting the OT Scripture into one book. Apocryphal books were not included.

    (2) The Oldest known reference to all 39 books of the OT came from a letter that was written around 200 BC. It is known as the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus. This letter was addressed to the writers grandfather and referred to the books of the Scripture (namely, the Law, the Prophets, and hymns). Jesus made reference to the two fold division in Mt. 5:17.


    Bob
     
  11. dumbox1

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    Hi Bob,

    I think you're inadvertently giving the impression that the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach) actually listed 39 books by name, or number. Instead, I believe it merely mentioned some types of writings: "the Law, and the Prophets, and others that have followed them."

    (If you've seen a version that actually lists books, please let me know).

    Interestingly, although the Prologue is not considered canonical, it's generally published in Catholic Bibles at the beginning of Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) prior to the beginning of Chapter 1.

    God bless,

    Mark

    P.S. -- Time for me to end my lunch break and get back to work -- so I'll now start abiding by my original intention not to get drawn into this thread!
     
  12. thessalonian

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    At least I haven't seen any of the nonsense so far on this thread and the links about the Council of Trent adding 7 books to the canon. What a joke. Talk about revisionist history.

    What I find ironic is that you Sola Scripturists just can't avoid history for "finding the truth". You have to go to history because the Bible itself doesn't tell you which books should be in it. Not in the text that is the inspired word of God. sheeeee. It's a TRADITION. Opps. Sorry for shouting. [​IMG]

    Blessings
     
  13. CalvinG

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    Thessalonian,

    Agreed that we cannot avoid history for finding the truth. If we start with the doctrine of Sola Scriptura but with no Scriptura we have nothing.

    We ask how God revealed Himself to man. Through the Jews (Old Testament), through Jesus, and through Jesus' appointed Appostles (that is, Apostles chosen by Jesus himself, lest you mistake my meaning).

    Even the Catholic church appears to have a closed canon, although tradition is recognized as authoritative.

    Jesus approved of some of the early churches when he asked John to write letters to them. So if we practice our faith in accordance with the churches Jesus approved of, it would seem that Jesus would likely approve of our practices.

    I find it interesting that Jesus did not ask John to write to the Bishop of Rome and have him send the letters. Or that Jesus did not appear to the Bishop of Rome rather than to the Apostle John. (Assuming you agree that this book is of Apostolic origin...some Catholics have told me they do not believe the author to have been the Beloved Apostle.)

    I think we use history only to find the most reliable sources of written Scripture. Then we reason from that Scripture.

    Otherwise, if any living people are given authority to change or "interpret" authoritatively the Scripture, we might end up with doctrine that resembles Scripture as much as constitutional law in the USA resembles the Constitution after about two centuries of "interpretaion" by an "authoritative" Supreme Court. (I am not saying that the Catholic church has necessarily done this...merely pointing out a possible consequence of accepting human authority rather than Scripture.)

    But I would rather anyone who wishes to debate the merits of tradition vs. history vs. Scripture start a new thread and leave this one for my answers. I will try to post in the other thread.


    To everyone who has helped,

    Thank you very much. I'm not much of a historian. And any further help answering the questions posted on the Theology/Bible Study section of the Baptist portion of the board continues to be appreciated.

    God Bless you all. (You can tell I'm "Souther." [​IMG] )

    CalvinG
     
  14. thessalonian

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    "I find it interesting that Jesus did not ask John to write to the Bishop of Rome and have him send the letters. Or that Jesus did not appear to the Bishop of Rome rather than to the Apostle John. (Assuming you agree that this book is of Apostolic origin...some Catholics have told me they do not believe the author to have been the Beloved Apostle.) "

    This comment show a lack of Catholic understanding about the Papacy. You are correct. The Catholic canon is closed. Both oral and written tradition is not added to. Oral Tradition is passed down by word of mouth as Paul states in 2 Thes 2:15 and in 2 Tim 2:2 among other places. Oral tradition is the glove that fits scripture to the truth. It is proper interprutation of scripture. Divine inspirtation leading to the writing of the Scriptures is done. Tradition (of which scripture is a part of ("Hold fast to the TRADITIONSSSSSSS you have recieved, whether BY WORD OF MOUTH or in WRITING from us." Scripture and Oral teaching are traditions..). Now why would God give us perfectly transmitted scriptures with no means of perfectly knowing what it in them? We in Catholicism believe in a differnt charism of the Holy Spirit than divine revalation. A lesser one but an important one no less. It is called infallibility. This Charism is given to the Bishops when they come together in council or by their unamimous voice (this as indicated in the binding and loosing given to all the Apostles in Mt. 18). It is also given to the Pope when he speaks on faith and morals intending to bind the whole Church for Christ said "WHATEVER you bind on earth shall be bound....." (mt. 16:19) God does not bind lies so we know that he protects the successor of peter from lies. But this does not mean that encyclicals that bind are new scripture because they do not bring new truth but only expound, clarify, and properly interprut what has already been laid down. Thus your example about John is a straw man. Papal decrees are not Divine inspiration but divine guidance in interprutation of what the Holy Spirit has already inspired. The Pope comes about his conclusions the same way as you or I. By study and prayer. Yet we can be assured that God protects him from teaching error because he as I said before cannot bind a lie.

    Now the interesting thing about your question about John is that in about 80 AD a man named Clement of Rome wrote a letter to the Corinthian Church. In it he rather authoritatively told them to reinstall some Bishops and priests they had ousted. There is no indication that they did not obey him. Further the whole Church at the time seemed to hold his letter as having a high degree of authority for it was widely quoted and looked on favorably. What is interesting about all of this is that John was still alive in Ephusus which is 200 miles from Corinth (Rome is 600 miles away) at the time. Now why didn't the Corinthian Church leaders appeal to John? Why didn't John mention some usurping of authority by Clement in his letters by Clement? Now this is an arguement from silence. But I think it is a much better one than your arguement of silence. John would not have had to say anything about appealing to Rome when the Church clearly new about it from the very earliest of days. Ireanaus, Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Athanasius and many more appealed to Rome. Far and wide even the heretics appealed to Rome. Pelagius, Sergius, Celestius, Arius. Emporers recognized and tried to manipulate its authority on the worldwide Church. Schismatics claimed it's seat when they disagreed with it long before Constantine legalized Christianity. Where were the anti-patriarchs of Constantinope and Antioch? So from my perspective your questions are simply from lack of understanding because you do not in fact have the traditions that go along with scripture. You have the understanding of Baptists passed down in the tradition of Baptists by Baptists. Lutherans believe what they have been taught about scripture that has been passed down by Lutherans. Calvinsts.... You get the picture. There are many traditions but only one Tradition. It is in the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The other traditions do contain some truth. But it is only when it is in concert with true Tradition.

    Sorry to clutter your thread.

    Blessings
     
  15. CalvinG

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    Thessalonian,

    No need to apologize for "cluttering" my thread.

    It seems that there was no completely settled OT canon at the time of Jerome, and that there was disagreement in the early church, by someone as important as Jerome, seems to be adequate support for the Protestant position with regard to the Apocrypha. Never mind that there are some very fanciful tales and what we consider bad theology in there.

    There was also not general acceptance of these books by Jews at the time of Jesus. And that really settles the matter. Jesus did not appear to address this debate. And I don't think anyone has ever pointed to a situation wherein Jesus, who quoted Scriputre often, made a reference to these books as authoritative Scripture. Jesus could not have been unaware of the debate as to the canon.

    This, combined with respect for the Levites as keepers of the OT Scriptures, seems an adequate reason to use the Hebrew Bible for the OT Scripture even without the motivation of discarding Catholic practices with which Protestants disagree.

    Non-Catholics do not see oral tradition as a glove that fits Scripture to the truth but rather as a malleable and fluid doctrine used to make Scripture mean what the papacy wants it to. (I am, of course, speaking only for myself.) It is not wrong for anyone, including the pope, to try to interpret Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    I think Thessalonians dates to A.D. 52 or 53. And at that time much of the new testament had yet to be written. Therefore, much teaching was oral. 2 Timothy 2:2 says "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." This refers to Paul's preaching and teaching, which timothy had heard repeatedly on all three missionary journeys. Timothy dates to about 66 or 67 A.D. And it appears to merely tell Timothy to preach and pass on what Paul was preaching. Given how prolific Paul was, I imagine that most or all of this found its way into the New Testament.

    I thought that Jesus was speaking to Peter in Matt 16:19 and not about all future claimants to be his successor under the tradition of the RCC.

    You say,

    By the way you phrase this, I it appears that there is no indication that the Corinthian Church did obey Clement of Rome. Also, even if they did, this could be as one Christian heeding the wisdom of another Christian brother and not as a subordinate required to recognize superior authority.

    If John and Clement are Christian brothers and what Clement is telling the Corinthians is correct, then why would John be displeased? Do you have any indication that John saw the letter?

    Might the tradition of "Appealing to Rome" have become established because of the legal tradition of appealing to Rome with regard to legal matters and then doing the same with respect to spiritual matters rather than because its biship is the "Heir of Peter" or the "Vicar of Christ?" That would seem as reasonable as using LXX because the early Christians spoke Greek and it was already translated and available rather than because the Apocrypha are reliable as canon.

    Do you have any firm, historical record of general appeal to Rome to settle disputes in churches far away (over 1,000 miles) at any time before Constantine?

    Blessings,
    CalvinG
     
  16. thessalonian

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    Calvin,

    May not get to your post today. I will try. Much to say of course. I have several examples of disagreemetns where rome was appealed to. Your very own friend Jerome even did as much. More later.

    Stay tuned.

    Blessings
     
  17. gb93433

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    Of the NT Apocrypha and the OT Pseudepigrapha. Even the Catholics had to decide which books to include in their canon and as their deuterocanonical books.
     
  18. BobRyan

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    Good point - I meant only to point out the division of the 39. You are correct - they are not listed there.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  19. thessalonian

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    Calvin,

    "No need to apologize for "cluttering" my thread. "

    gratcia!


    "It seems that there was no completely settled OT canon at the time of Jerome, and that there was disagreement in the early church, by someone as important as Jerome, seems to be adequate support for the Protestant position with regard to the Apocrypha. "

    This seems to be very problematic for another position of Protestantism. Sola Scriptura. If they didn't even know what the canon was how could they be passing out Bibles to everyone. There was disagrement about the canon. So how did it get settled is the question. You put it all in jerome's hands. The fact of the matter is that the scriptures themselves tell us the Church is the "pillar and support of the truth" thus, I would much rather go along with the Church. Further the body of evidence that the Deutero's were accepted by the Church is much less ambiguous. We know of Damusus's acceptance of the canon. We know of Hippo and Carthage's ratification of his words. We even know that Jerome himself looked to the papacy for direction for he says in his letter to Pope Damasus which I will speak more of below.


    So tell me. If the Canon was not settled then, by your point, Luther should have been able to remove Hebrews, James, and Revelations which he questioned the canonicty of. Second Peter, the Second and Third John, Jude have been questioned by highly regarded people with regard to their canonicity in the early days of the Church. I have even heard Protestants openly reject the last chapter of Mark's Gospel. So do we rip them out of our Bibles also? It is the Church that is the "pillar and support of the truth " 1 tim 3:15. Not St. Jerome. I would much rather go with the consensus opinoins of councils rather than even Jerome, a man who's opinion I highly regard but none the less a fallible human. Further, that Jesus and the Apostles clearly were using the Septuigiant which included the Duetero's is a much better indication of their canonicity. Further, there are events spoken of by the Apostles that are only found in the Duetero's. So it is quite apparent that the Aposltes and Jesus read them and highly regarded them. Further, I give much more credibility to Pope Damasus including of them in the canon that was ratified by hippo and carthage than Jerome as he was the successor of Peter upon whom the Church is built. Jerome himself recognized the authority of the Pope when he said:

    ," I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have received the garb of Christ." Jerome, Letter 15. To Pope Damasus (376 or 377 CE)

    If you want to see it in context you can go to www.newadvent.org. Click on Church Fathers and it has Jerome's alphabetically listed. One thing you cannot guarantee is that Jerome did not accept the Deutero's in the end. And there is evidence that he actually did accept them as canonical.


    Does not the SCRIPTURE say: 'Burden not thyself above thy power' [SIRACH 13:2] Jerome, To Eustochium, Epistle 108 (A.D. 404), in NPNF2, VI:207


    "I would cite the words of the psalmist: 'the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,’ [Ps 51:17] and those of Ezekiel 'I prefer the repentance of a sinner rather than his death,’ [Ez 18:23] AND THOSE OF BARUCH,'Arise, arise, O Jerusalem,’ [Baruch 5:5] AND MA

    And with his clear respect for the Papacy I think it likely he did.

    "There was also not general acceptance of these books by Jews at the time of Jesus."

    Fact. Jesus used the Septuigiant. They included the canon.

    " And that really settles the matter. Jesus did not appear to address this debate. And I don't think anyone has ever pointed to a situation wherein Jesus, who quoted Scriputre often, made a reference to these books as authoritative Scripture. Jesus could not have been unaware of the debate as to the canon."

    First of all Jesus settled very little that divided the various groups of Jews. "New wine cannot be poured in to old wineskins."

    No books were bound together in a bible at this time. There are other books that Jesus did not quote or authenticate the canonicity of. 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, nor Nahum are quoted by Jesus. He did use concepts that can only be found in the Apocrypha. Jesus did not come to settle all of our debates. Finally your arguement is baseless. The Jews didn't settle their canon until around the year 100. Also if Jesus purpose was to settle all arguements that would come up how come he left the issue of cirucumcision of the gentiles to be settled by the Council of Jerusalem a dozen or so years after his death. Could have saved quite a few people some pain it seems to me.

    "This, combined with respect for the Levites as keepers of the OT Scriptures, seems an adequate reason to use the Hebrew Bible for the OT Scripture even without the motivation of discarding Catholic practices with which Protestants disagree."

    Desire not to have the stress of a dozen kids motivates many to maim their sexual reproduction. So if it is motivation you want you can find it for about anything these days. Fact. The Church is the pillar and support of the truth. How can your invisible Church that can't agree on birth control or baptism fullfill this function. It can't. Own up to it. We know that Jesus viewed the leaders of the Jews as wolves who "will scatter the sheep". We know that the OT canon was not settled by the Jews until late in the first century. So your arguement doesn't hold.

    "Non-Catholics do not see oral tradition as a glove that fits Scripture to the truth but rather as a malleable and fluid doctrine used to make Scripture mean what the papacy wants it to. (I am, of course, speaking only for myself.) It is not wrong for anyone, including the pope, to try to interpret Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. "

    I know you don't. But you should. If Tradition is always maluable then why did Paul praise the Corinthians for how well they held to them:

    1 Corinthians 11:2
    I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you.

    Don't you think that the Holy Spirit can accomplish the passing on of authentic understanding. After all Jesus comand was that "all that I have commanded" be passed on. Your system allows it to get watered down because it can only be interpruted. Interprutation is easily as maluable as tradition. In fact far more so. That is why there is a Church with a different name on every block it seems these days.
    And if you were honest you would admit that most Protestant teaching is passed on as a tradition. Baptists today believe what Baptists yesterday passed on to them regardless of whether it is right or wrong.


    " I think Thessalonians dates to A.D. 52 or 53.
    "And at that time much of the new testament had yet to be written. Therefore, much teaching was oral. 2 Timothy 2:2 says "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." "

    Here you admit to oral teaching. The problem you have is you cannot say when it was ended. Even by the time Timothy wrote his famous verse that everyone says confirms Sola Scriptura (2 Tim 3:16) not everything was written. If this verse confirms SS and you say they were still in the Oral phase at 2 Tim 2:2 then I see problems with the interprutation of 2 Tim 3:16. Especially since it was talking about the OT.

    "This refers to Paul's preaching and teaching, which timothy had heard repeatedly on all three missionary journeys. Timothy dates to about 66 or 67 A.D. And it appears to merely tell Timothy to preach and pass on what Paul was preaching."

    ORALLY.

    " Given how prolific Paul was, I imagine that most or all of this found its way into the New Testament.""

    "I imagine". So in 2 thes 2:15 and 2 Tim 2:2 he says they are to accept some oral teaching. But where does he tell them that at some point he guarantees that it will all be inscripturated so his words in 2 Thes 2:15 and 2 Tim 2:2 are no longer true. Further, up above you admitted that the canon of scripture was in flux until 400 AD. Even the NT canon was in question until then. So were they still in the oral phase in that time?


    "I thought that Jesus was speaking to Peter in Matt 16:19 and not about all future claimants to be his successor under the tradition of the RCC."

    You thought wrong. Key's are the key. I got keys to my house that grant me access and authority over that house. When I pass this house on I will give those keys to another. Further if you look in Is 22:22-23 you will see that Jesus closely parrels Matt 16:18 with that verse. He hands over authority of a office of succession, the steward, shebna, who holds the keys of the house of David, to a new and faithful steward, Eliakim. Now the steward was the spokesman for the king. Read Is 22 closely. Note the opening and shutting, similar to the binding and loosing of mt. 16:18. Now Shebna was the steward in long line of stewards. This also shows succession. Yes, I know, you don't agree. But it is true.



    "By the way you phrase this, I it appears that there is no indication that the Corinthian Church did obey Clement of Rome. Also, even if they did, this could be as one Christian heeding the wisdom of another Christian brother and not as a subordinate required to recognize superior authority."

    The fact is that the whole church looked upon this letter authoritatively. Clement also never excomunicated the corinthians which is an indication that they did obey. No further action was taken by Clement. I know it won't be good enough for you. Read Clements words. They are quite emphatic and authoritative. Hardly what would be written as an equal to another equal as you try to paint it. They are words that would be resisted by those who recieved them if they didn't have God-given authority behind them. That the rest of the Church so highly regarded them is a clear indication that they did.

    Pope Clement I


    "Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy" (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).


    Your "could be" is alot of hand waving considering your lack of study of the times. Bishop Sheen said "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant". Ignatius and others recognize the authoirty of the see of Rome. Irenaus while disagreeing with Victor about his imposing a date for Easter on the Quadramecians, does not deny his authority to excommuncate them. Noone does. St. Stephen declares that sins can be forgiven and a serious sinner can re-enter the Church by confession and penance for those sins in the mid 200's. A stance that has stood the test of time. This actually causes a couple of anti-popes to claim the papacy unlawfully, Hippolatus, who later reconciled, and Novatian. If he didn't have the authority to do this long before Constantine, why did some who disagreed feel the need to claim his own authority in Rome? The anti-popes ironically from my view clearly confirm the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

    "If John and Clement are Christian brothers and what Clement is telling the Corinthians is correct, then why would John be displeased? Do you have any indication that John saw the letter?"

    You miss the point. The authoritative tone is the point. Whether John saw the letter or not is immaterial. Your conjecture and speculation is no better than your conjecture and speculation on why Paul gave credibility to oral teaching at one point but then later at some point guaranteed that SS was the way to go. He simply doesn't.

    "Might the tradition of "Appealing to Rome" have become established because of the legal tradition of appealing to Rome with regard to legal matters and then doing the same with respect to spiritual matters rather than because its biship is the "Heir of Peter" or the "Vicar of Christ?" That would seem as reasonable as using LXX because the early Christians spoke Greek and it was already translated and available rather than because the Apocrypha are reliable as canon."

    So it wasn't because of Constantine. Once again more speculation to excuse you from accepting Jesus plain words that were often quoted in the Early Church regarind the link between the primacy of Rome and Mt. 16:18. Irenaus in 150 recognizes it. So should we.

    "Do you have any firm, historical record of general appeal to Rome to settle disputes in churches far away (over 1,000 miles) at any time before Constantine?"

    You can look up the Quadrametion heresy and the issue of readmission of sinners yourself on the internet. You likely won't accept my understandings of it anyway. As long as you have not read them yourself and do not understand the context of the Church in which they happened you are doomed to every man and his Bible when God says "I will give you shepherds after my own heart who will give you knowledge and understanding" Jer 3:15. You are doomed to the whims of personal interprutation of which Martin Luther even complaind that men are being "blown about by every wind of doctrine" with regard to the explosion of denominations after his beloved but very divisive reformation.

    Blessings,
    Thess
     
  20. CalvinG

    CalvinG
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    Thessalonian,

    Thank you for your reply. You are correct in many of your assumptions about what I would think.

    Surely you would agree that Matt 16:18-19 could be plainer. Opening and closing are similar to binding and loosing but not identical. You will probably disagree with what I say, but as I see it the Apostles were given the power to perform wonders, signs, and miracles in Jesus' name as a sign of their authenticity. Anyone who is a successor to Apostolic office who cannot perform similarly...doesn't have a sign from God that they speak on His behalf.

    It has been argued that the "bedrock" of this passage does not even refer to Peter. But if it does...it still does not clearly state that Peter's authority is heritable or can be passed on to successors. It was traditional for some offices to be passed from father to son. Was such not the case with the office of Steward you mention in Isaiah?

    Did not the king have to periodically ratify and affirm that this was his spokesman, by reference, by action consistent with the person's authority as steward, or otherwise? Or did this steward just go out proclaiming what he thought the king would want without consulting the king? Here is another instance in which your analogy appears to fail. I do not see any periodic ratification of the actions or authority of the Bishops of Rome by Jesus, the King for whom they claim authority to speak. Some might argue that in the middle ages the church recognized this and decided to exercise rulership in its own right.

    One problem with the succession is that it does not appear to me that Jesus even stated how succession of Peter, if such existed, was to occur.

    It would be wonderful if there were an infallible person to tell us conclusively what God means in the Scriptures. I think this is part of what makes Catholicism so appealing to some. Because of the proliferation of doctrines which results from "every man and his Bible."

    I agree with you that Luther might have had some justification for removing the NT deuterocanonicals. But I prefer that we as Protestants do not do that. Because the early church fathers (not speaking about the bishops exclusively but more so about the early scholars) and the early church should be held to have had particular knowledge and inspiration with regard to the NT canon. Protestants would do well to examine the Catholic positions with respect to moral issues when such positions are backed by clear Scripture (e.g. the position on homosexuality).

    It is also nice to accept the full NT Scripture and not have any unambiguous indication that one as a Christian is obligated to accept the spiritual authority of the Bishops of Rome. Jesus could have told us this with clarity and did not. It would have taken Christ very little time to tell Matthew and Peter that this must be included in their later writings. Surely they would have obeyed the Lord.

    Protestantism is in the unique position of having accepted the entire NT adopted by the RCC and being able to say to Catholics that there is no clear obligation therein to accept the authority of the Bishops of Rome AND having adopted only the Jewish OT and being able to say to Jews that their Scripture clearly points to Jesus even without the parts they reject.

    I do engage in speculation. Because where there is a reasonable alternative explanation for result than a particular proposition, that proposition is not adequately demonstrated and proved.

    "I will give you shepherds after my own heart who will give you knowledge and understanding" Jer 3:15. Any reason to believe that Biblical Protestant pastors are not among these shepherds? I think they are. But I expect you to tell me otherwise.
     

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