Is the Canon closed?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by trying2understand, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. trying2understand

    trying2understand
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    So is the Canon closed?

    If a majority of Christians today decided that a particular writing not included in the Bible today should be...?

    Or that some particular Book in the Bible shouldn't be...?

    What is the authoritative basis for your answer?
     
  2. Frank

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    T2U:
    The Bible is the completed revelation of God's will. ALL THE TRUTH was promised to the apostles in John 14:26;15:26;16:13. The Holy Spirit was to teach and bring them to remembrance ALL THINGS to be taught. They received the promise of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Acts 2:1-4. This was prophesied and commanded in Luke 24:44-51. Again, ALL THINGS being fulfilled.
    The result of this miraculous effort by the holy Spirit through those inspired to write was proiclaimed by Peter in II Pet.1:3. Peter declared, according as his divine power hath given unto us ALL THINGS that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him who hath called you to glory and virtue. The Bible is the " perfect or complete law of liberty. James 1:25. The Truth that was handed down once for ALL TIMES. Jude 3. The divine record is so complete and perfect it needs no additions or subtractions. Rev. 22:18,19. The word of God abides forever. I Pet. 1:25. Mat. 24:35.
    Men have but two choices in this life. They must accept or reject Christ and his word. John 12:48. For the New Testament of Christ which is the perfect, complete and abiding will of God will be our standard by which Jesus will say," Come ye blessed of my father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Mat. 25: 34, or he will say depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Mat. 25:41.
    There will be no sliding scale or changing standard by which men will be judged. Men will be judged by the all-sufficient,perfect,everlasting static standard of truth which is the verbal plenary inspired word of God. James 1:25,II Pet. 1:3, Jude 3,Mat. 24:35, Rev. 22:18,19, I Pet. 1:25, II Tim. 3:16,17.
     
  3. Johnv

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    Unfortunately, all those verses refer to material that was written before the formulation of the 66 book canon. Also, some of those verses were written before other writings which are now in the NT were written or made known of.

    However, I believe that canon to be closed. It's simply a matter of faith for me. You simply have to get to a point where no more books should be added to the canon.
     
  4. Frank

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    JOHNV:
    The previously posted verses proclaim the undeniable fact God completed his revelation during the time of the apostles. Furthermore, These verses prove that all has been written as the promise of John 16:13 is no longer available. Unless, you know a living apostle or someone he laid hands on and thereby imparted the spirtual gift of writing by inspiration. SEE Acts 8:18.
    The whole counsel of God was proclaimed orally and also written down by those to whom the promise was made. Acts 20:27, Eph.3:1-6. It was also PASSED TO OTHERS in various parts of the world YEARS before it was collected or codified. SEE Col. 4:16, I Thes. 5:27, Rev. 1:11. God used the human mouth to proclaim his will II Pet.1:21. He also used the earthen vesssel to write it. II Pet.3:16. Therefore, the totality of the harmonious evidence proves to the rational mind the revelation of God's will is closed. If not, where is the inspired evidence to substantiate a belief the Bible is not complete. II Tim. 3:16,17.

    Unfortunately, some ignore the implications and rational conclusions that are to be made by the complete will of God.
     
  5. Johnv

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    The previously posted verses proclaim the undeniable fact God completed his revelation during the time of the apostles.

    I don't dispute that.

    What I dispute is when someone (not necesserily you) uses, for example, a quote from the Gospel of Luke, and say they were referring to a verse in the Gospel of John. THis would not have been Luke's intent, since Luke was written c 56AD and John was written c 96AD.

    A common misunderstanding is the verse from II Tim 3:16 (All Scripture is inspired by God...) I've heard many a preacher say that Paul was referring to the Bible as we know it today. But Paul was referring to the OT, not necesserily what we today call the NT. This is evidenced by the fact that II Tim was written c 65AD, at least 30 years before John penned Revelation, his Gospel, and three epistles. Also not known about were the second of Peter's Epistles, Jude, and probably the Gospel of Mark.

    Now don't get me wrong here, even though I don't think Paul was referring to the NT, I think the NT is inspired just the same. I simply try to be very wary about sticking to the intent of the writers when it comes to what is penned in the Bible (especially since the Bible warns us not to add or detract from it).
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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    The quote in the first post is mine and for clarification I would like to show the entire thought:
    I am not saying it doesn't belong there, just that I question it. Thanks.
     
  7. Frank

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    JohnV:
    I have no doubt II Tim. 3:16,17 refers to the old testament. However, it also refers to the new as well. Peter proclaimed Paul's writings were scripture. II Pet. 3:16. And scripture is scripture.

    It is apparent to me that II Tim. 3:16,17 was a guide to direct man in every aspect of his spiritual life. Paul states this is indeed the purpose of scripture in Eph. 4:12-16 and I Cor. 13:8-13.

    I ask this question to those who deny the all-sufficiency and completeness of the Bible: What spiritual need of man is NOT addressed in the Bible? As of this writing, NONE seems to be the answer as I have not recieved any response to the question. And, I say this humbly, because of The all-sufficiency of God, i will not receive one either.

    In regards to II Tim. 3:16,17, I have sasked the following:
    According to II Tim. 3:16,17, does the scripture make a man throughly furnished unto:
    a. Many good works
    b. Few good works
    c. Most good works
    d. Every good work.
    Again, no takers on this one from the anti "sola" crowd. Imagine that!!!

    I will close with this question. Is it the case that spiritual man may be completed throughly furnished unto every good work by that which is incomplete and imperfect? If yes, How do you know?

    You have asked some good questions and made some points to ponder. I appreciate your candor in this matter.
    Frank
     
  8. Frank

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    Clint:
    Questioning matters of faith is a good thing. II Cor. 13:5. It is a fact that some books of the Bible have more evidence than others. I accept Jude by one of the criteria you mentioned in your last post. It is theologically sound or harmonious with the rest of the inspired writings. By the way, I was not quoting you. I was making a implication from your post. If I am wrong, I will be corrected.
     
  9. Clint Kritzer

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    No problem, Frank. I just wanted clarity on my quote in the starting post to this thread. [​IMG]
     
  10. Ben W

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    Jude does quote the book of Enoch, I have been told that 2 Peter refers to it also.

    Interestingly enough, it is likely Jesus does also. When He calls himself the "Son of man", this is a term used frequently in the book of Enoch.

    I think there is a case to look at including the book of Enoch. Now befor you all jump on me, note that I said look at, not to include.
     
  11. Bible-boy

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    It's closed and has been for a long long time.

    I disagree with the idea of even considering an apocryphal work for inclusion in the canon. Just because the Holy Spirit inspired Jude to reference a sentence or two from an apocryphal work does not mean that the entire work contains sound doctrine and is therefore inspired. It simply indicates that the Holy Spirit led Jude to point out the slight bit of truth that the work contains.
     
  12. trying2understand

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    Thanks for all the responses, but I am still left wondering why any non-catholic believes the canon to be closed? That does seem to be the opinion expressed thus far.

    If the canon was simply recognized by the majority of early Christians as many non-Catholics believe, when did it stop?

    Why can't the majority of Christians today do the same?

    W Putnam posted two very long lists of other writings from the early Church, many of them seemingly written by the Apostles. Why don't today's Christians read through them and "recognize" some more Scripture?

    Why don't today's Christians get together and decide that Jude isn't Scripture and boot it?

    When did the standard for "recognizing" Scripture change? By what authority?
     
  13. trying2understand

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    When was it closed?

    How do you know this?

    How was it closed?

    How do you know this?

    How do you know if it is inspired or not?

    What "unsound doctrine" do you find therein?

    What is your basis for saying it is not sound doctrine?

    If the Bible is your sole and final authority in matters of faith, these are important questions, are they not?
     
  14. Johnv

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    What I'm curious about is whether or not Jude considered it scripture. Obviously, he was aware of it (since he quoted it), and had read it.
     
  15. Frank

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    JohnV:

    I will respond to your question of why men believe the cannon is closed. I am not speaking for others. I will provide scriptural evidence for my position.

    1. The purpose of the miraculous was to confirm the revelation of God. Mark 16:17-20.

    2. This miraculous power was given to the apostles as a sign they spoke as the oracles of God. II Cor. 12:12.

    3. Miracles, according to Jesus, were to create faith in that which is written. John 20:30,31. If Men today had the power to proclaim new revelation, Jesus would have said in reference to the miraculous power, just wait and look around and you will see one. He did not say this. He said but these things are written that ye might believe.

    4. Revelation was to cease. I Cor. 13:8-13.

    5. It ceased when the Bible was completed. Eph. 4:12-16.

    6. It was to cease when the apostles were guided into all truth. John 16:13.

    7. It ceased when they died as they no longer could lay hands on others to pass miraculous gifts to others.

    8. John said do not add to or subtract from the book. If John had anticipated future revelation,Rev. 22:18,19 would not be truth.

    9. The extra-biblical writings under dicussion fail to meet the criteria of inspiration. These writings were not confirmed by the miraculous. Mark 16:20.

    The man writing them did not confirm he was sent as a messenger to proclaim inspired revelation as he did not perform miracles. II Cor. 12:12.

    The men writing these books did not have the hands of an apostle placed upon them. Therefore, they did not have the ability to write by inspiration. Acts 18:8.

    Have a good day.
     
  16. rufus

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    The term "canon" in Christianity refers to a group of books acknowledged by the early church as the rule of faith and practice. Deriving from the Greek kanon, which designated a carpenter's rule (possibly borrowed from a Hebrew term, qaneh, referring to a measuring reed six cubits long), the word has been used to identify those books considered to be spiritually superlative, by which all others were measured and found to be of secondary value in general church use.

    Both Jews and Christians have canons of scripture. The Jewish canon consists of thirtynine books; the Christian consists of sixty-six for Protestants and eighty for Catholics (whose canon includes the Apocrypha, regarded by most as of deuterocanonical status).

    The process by which these books came to be generally regarded as exclusively authoritative is not known for either the Hebrew or Christian canon. That it transpired under the influence of the Spirit of God is commonly accepted among Christian people. Inspiried literature formed only a part of the total religious literature of God's people at any time in their history, and only a portion of the inspired literature finally emerged as canonical in all parts of the ancient world. All inspired literature was authoritative, but it was not all equally beneficial to local groups and thus did not achieve universal or empire-wide acceptance. That is to say, local lists of books were not necessarily identical with the general list, the canon, which eventually consisted of the books common to all the local lists.

    OT Canon. The faith of Israel existed independently of a book for hundreds of years between the time of Abraham and Moses. None of the patriarchs before Moses is recorded as having written sacred literature, although the art of writing was well developed at that time in the homeland of Abraham, as the recently discovered Ebla tablets have dramatically reaffirmed. The Sumerians and Babylonians already had highly developed law codes, and accounts of such events as the great flood appear in their literature. Moses, however, was the first known Hebrew to commit sacred history to writing (Exod. 24:4, 7).

    Subsequent to the composition of the Pentateuch, it is recorded that Joshua wrote in the book of the law of God (Josh. 24:26). The law was always considered to be from God (Deut. 31:24; Josh. 1:8). The other two divisions of the Hebrew canon, the prophets and writings, were eventually selected out of a larger literature, some of which is mentioned in the OT itself ("book of the Wars of the Lord," Num. 21:14; "book of Jasher," Josh. 10:13; "book of the Acts of Solomon," 1 Kings 11:41; "book of Samuel the seer, book of Nathan the prophet, book of Gad the seer," 1 Chr. 29:29, etc.; fifteen or more such books are named in the OT).

    The oldest surviving list of the cannonical scriptures of the OT comes from about A.D. 170, the product of a Christian scholar named Melito of Sardis, who made a trip to Palestine to determine both the order and number of books in the Hebrew Bible. Neither his order nor his contents agree exactly with our modern English Bibles. There is no agreement in order or content in the existing manuscripts of Hebrew, Greek, or Latin Bibles. The modern English Protestant Bible follows the order of the Latin Vulgate and the content of the Hebrew Bible. It is important to remember that the OT was more than a thousand years in writing, the oldest parts being written by Moses and the latest after the Babylonian exile. During the entire period of biblical history, therefore, the Jews lived their faith without a closed canon of Scriptures, such a canon therefore not being essential to the practice of the Jewish religion during that time. Why then were the books finally collected into a canon? They were brought together evidently as an act of God's providence, historically prompted by the emergence of apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature in the intertestamental period and the increasing need to know what the limits of divine revelation were. By the time of Jesus the OT, called Tanaach by modern Judaism, consisted of the law, prophets, and writings (the first book of which was the Psalms, Luke 24:44).

    NT Canon. The earliest list of NT books containing only our twenty-seven appeared in A.D. 367 in a letter of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. The order was Gospels, Acts, General Epistles, Pauline Epistles, Revelation. In the first century Peter spoke of Paul writing "in all his letters" (II Pet. 3:16), and by the early second century the letters of Ignatius were being collected. Evidence of exclusive collections being made in the second century is seen in the writings of Justin Martyr, who argues for only our four Gospels. Discussion about authorship and authority of various letters appears in writers of the second century, and one canonical list which has been dated from the second to the fourth century, the Muratorian Canon, differentiates between books that are suitable to be read in worship and those that should be read only in private devotion.

    The fact that other books formed a larger deposit out of which the twenty-seven eventually emerged is seen in the reference to a prior letter to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 5:9, a letter to the Laodiceans in Col. 4:16, and the inclusion of 1 and II Clement in the fifth century manuscript of the Greek NT, Codex Alexandrinus, as well as Barnabas and Hermas in the fourth century Codex Sinaiticus. Eusebius cited a letter from the second century Bishop of Corinth, Dionysius, stating that Clement's letter was read in the church there "from time to time for our admonition" (Ecclesiastical History IV.23.11).

    The formation of the NT canon was not a conciliar decision. The earliest ecumenical council, Nicaea in 325, did not discuss the canon. The first undisputed decision of a council on the canon seems to be from Carthage in 397, which decreed that nothing should be read in the church under the name of the divine Scriptures except the canonical writings. Then the twentyseven books of the NT are listed as the canonical writings. The council could list only those books that were generally regarded by the consensus of use as properly a canon. The formation of the NT canon must, therefore, be regarded as a process rather than an event, and a historical rather than a biblical matter. The coming of the Word of God in print is only slightly more capable of explication than the coming of the Word of God incarnate.

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  17. BobRyan

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    Thess
    Why can't the majority of Christians today do the same?

    W Putnam posted two very long lists of other writings from the early Church, many of them seemingly written by the Apostles. Why don't today's Christians read through them and "recognize" some more Scripture?


    These are really good questions!!

    We all know the Canon is closed - but how can we sustain that without doing damage to scripture itself?

    Frank's answers show "one solution" that doesn't work. "Stop God from inspiring people". Or "make up a new text that says after 100 AD God stopped doing that".

    However the "test" is obviously not of the form "Are they Inspired, Are they a Prophet of God? Then they must get included in the Canon". We know that from the list of "prophets" mentioned in both NT and OT for which there is NOTHING included in the Canon of OT or NT scripture. Inspiration alone would not get them into the Cannon of scripture.

    It is "more" than the fact that the document's source is TRUE "inspiration". Scripture is not ONLY inspired - it is "God's INTENT" that it be incorporated into the "RULE" of all Faith and Doctrine. It is a collection of inspired writing that is intended as the "rule" for all of God's people.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. BobRyan

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    rufus,

    Nice summary post! Thanks!

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  19. trying2understand

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    How do you know that the Canon is closed?
     
  20. Frank

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    Bob:

    Bob [/QB][/QUOTE]Frank's answers show "one solution" that doesn't work. "Stop God from inspiring people". Or "make up a new text that says after 100 AD God stopped doing that".

    I have provided the evidence that revelation ceased after the death of the apostles. John 16:13, Luke 24;44-51, Acts 2:1-4;8:17,18, Mark 16:17-20, ICor. 13:8-13, Eph. 4;12-16.
    If men today are inspired, then they should have the same credentials of inspiration. II Cor. 12:12. If not, why not?
    Furthermore, if the credentials are not the same for men who are inspired today, who changed the requirements and how do we know this to be the case.
    Bob, all you have to do to prove me wrong is to find one inspired man to raise someone from the dead, make the blind see, the lame walk. If he has what the apostles had; he can do what they did.
     

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