I bring up this topic not because I think John is a Heretic but because of my studies of Early Church History and the discussions of this board. There are members who believe that "bible believing churches" have always been in existance since the founding of them by the apostles. These same people believe that certain early church fathers were heretical and that early in Christian History there has been a malignant conspiracy by the Catholic (possibly Orthodox) church to lead people astray. Now most of these people who believe this also hold that the Evil empire Church was instated by Constantine who just took ancient Mystery religions and call them Christian then forced (by pain of death) everyone in the empire to become Christian or Catholic based in Rome. Anyway that is their contention. The problem of course is that there was not a clear cut canon of the New Testament from the begining or from Apostolic time. Their contention will be that the 2 Peter 3:15-16 shows some knowledge of Pauline letters or the Gospel of John indicates the existance of the synoptic gospels. However, it is clear by the study of the New Testament that there was no clear plan to "distribute apostolic compositions". What is clear is that each of the writings were done by a cause or occasion for their need. Rather than an entire completed New Testiment given to each church. What we see is that Apostolic letters and writings were valued and sought out and Christian communities would "trade" these writings as they could to develope a better Library of works. It was many years before most churches had the majority of works now in the New Testament. Subsequently, there were other writings made and also valued (thus the ECF). The very Earliest chruches were composed of believers who received the Gospel orally from the Apostles who suplimented their teachings with Hebrew books of Scripture what we are now familiar with as the OT. However, we see use of Apocryphal books in such writings as Hebrews and Jude. Not that they were considered as authoritative as what the apostles themselves taught orally. However, by the time of 200 AD not all the churches agreed which writings were authoritative or inspired. Clement of Alexandria was the first to use the word Testament. Marcion was instramental in the development of the idea of canonization because he wanted his cookie cutter religion and excluded writings he did not like. Strangely enough he only wanted Paul's writings. The earliest list of an ordered New Testiment is by Athenasius in 367 AD. However, it wasn't a settled development for all the churches at that time. The Churches were already calling themselves Catholic which we see referenced to by the end of the 1st century. Most scholars speculate that the earliest acceptance of the New Testament as we know it now was at the council of Hippo in 393 but definately at the 3rd synod of Carhtage in 397. Which is after the edict of Milan. This is what history actually alludes to not the first premise. Here is where my thought is going. History to me seems clear on the establishment of the New Testiment and the entirel bible as we know know it. There are those who believe that some of the ECF who helped establish what we know now as the NT are heretics and that there was no tradition passed on in the Early church. However, these traditions are related to by the earliest christian compositions outside the New Testament. Such as 1 Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, Papias, Ireaneaus, Justin Martyr, whoever wrote the Sheperd of Hermas, etc... There are those here that have called many of these as holding heretical beliefs. As I read their writings I notice one other thing. They all (including Polycarp) claim to have recieved these tradition teachings from John in some fashion whether he gave it himself or by someone who knew him (like Polycarp or Papias). So this being the case did John lead everyone astray? Is he the conspirator that created the Catholic Church? Should we trust his gospel? If not then what evidence does anyone have to support the first premise mentioned?