Archive for the ‘canon of scripture’ Category

Someone hands you a crown; you test it for the correct weight, to see if it is pure gold or contains any dross; but you do not thereby create the value of the crown

December 23, 2011

Our opponents also put the authority of the Church above Scripture. Why? Because the church gave us the books of Scripture; therefore, they argue, the Church gave authority to these books. The Church rejected the Gospels of Nicodemus and Thomas, but accepted the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They glory in this argument, but actually it is merely a stuid and bare-faced example of the fallacy per accidens. Discerning the spirits and discriminating between them does not give the spirits their authority. Likewise, testing metals does not make the metals either good or bad. Or again, when citizens make a judgement about their king’s decree (that it is authentic, and that it means this or that), that judgement does not bestow authority on the decree, but rather seeks to accept without a mistake the actual authority that is in the king’s majesty, by being subject to his acknowledged decree. Someone hands you a crown; you test it for the correct weight, to see if it is pure gold or contains any dross; but you do not thereby create the value of the crown…The devil has mixed his own…books into the divine books; and the Church has sorted sorted out the divine from the diabolical. In so doing, the Church has not given authority to the divine books, but has withdrawn authority from the others, showing that they are not divine.

Martin Bucer, Commonplaces

 

Advertisements

Authority is the necessary precedent for canonicity

August 17, 2010

Long before the apostolic letters were recognized as elements in a canonical collection, they were recognized as authoritative by most of those for whom they were written. Authority is the necessary precedent for canonicity.

FF Bruce, The Book and the Parchments, p.105

Josephus and the Old Covenant Canon

August 16, 2010

We have not 10,000 books among us, disagreeing with and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books which contain the records of all time, and are justly believed to be divine. Five of these are by Moses, and contain his laws and traditions of the origin of mankind until his death…. From the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets who succeeded Moses wrote down what happened in their times in thirteen books; and the remaining four books contain hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life.

“From Artexerxes to our own time the complete history has been written but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets.” … “We have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine…

Josephus, Against Apion i.8