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Posts Tagged ‘Canon’

Is the Existence of the NT Canon Incompatible with Claims of New Revelation?

January 12, 2016 1 comment

By Michael Kruger

“God has spoken to me.”

There are few statements that will shut down debate more quickly than this one. If Christians disagree over a doctrine, a practice, or an idea, then the trump card is always “God has spoken to me” about that. End of discussion.

But, the history of the church (not to mention the Scriptures themselves) demonstrates that such claims of private, direct revelation are highly problematic. Of course, this doesn’t mean that God doesn’t speak to people. The Scripture is packed with examples of this. But, these were typically individuals with a unique calling (e.g., prophet or apostle), or who functioned at unique times in redemptive history (e.g., the early church in Acts).

After the first century was over, and the apostles had died, the church largely rejected the idea that any ol’ person could step forward and claim to have direct revelation from God. This reality is probably best exemplified in the early Christian debate over Montanism.

Montanism was a second-century movement whose leader Montanus claimed to receive direct revelation from God. In addition, two of his “prophetesses,” Priscilla and Maximilla also claimed to receive such revelation. Such revelations were often accompanied by strange behavior. When Montanus had these revelations, “[He] became obsessed, and suddenly fell into frenzy and convulsions. He began to be ecstatic and to speak and to talk strangely” (Hist. Eccl. 5.16.7).

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Quiz on the Doctrine of Scripture

November 11, 2015 3 comments

by Tim Challies

God has spoken and God speaks. God has spoken and continues to speak through the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. How well do you know the doctrine of the Scripture? How well do you know what the Bible tells us about the Bible? This short thirty-three question quiz is designed to help you find out.

 

 

 

To take the quiz click here.

Categories: Scripture Tags: , , ,

What is the Earliest Complete List of the Canon of the New Testament?

by Michael J. Kruger

In the study of the New Testament canon, scholars like to highlight the first time we see a complete list of 27 books. Inevitably, the list contained in Athanasius’ famous Festal Letter (c.367) is mentioned as the first time this happened.

As a result, it is often claimed that the New Testament was a late phenomenon. We didn’t have a New Testament, according to Athanasius, until the end of the fourth century.

But, this sort of reasoning is problematic on a number of levels. First, we don’t measure the existence of the New Testament just by the existence of lists. When we examine the way certain books were used by the early church fathers, it is evident that there was a functioning canon long before the fourth century. Indeed, by the second century, there is already a “core” collection of New Testament books functioning as Scripture.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

 

Scripture Alone

scriptalone265Exploring the Bible’s Accuracy, Authority and Authenticity by James White

 

Details

Scripture Alone – Exploring the Bible’s Accuracy, Authority and Authenticity by James R. White

A Passionate Introduction to the Sufficiency of the Bible

If God’s Word is to be heard, we who love it must stand in its defense, says James R. White in his introduction to Scripture Alone. With clear teaching in an engaging, accessible style, this book lays a foundation for all Christians who desire a deeper understanding of biblical sufficiency. White presents Scripture as God-breathed in nature, as unparalleled and absolute in authority, and as the church’s infallible rule of faith in straightforward language to help believers apply these doctrines to their lives. In addition he addresses the timely issues of the canon, including textual and historical evidence.

The captivating dialogues used throughout the book help bring into focus the great truths of faith against the backdrop of error. Based on the author’s experience in public debates against leading apologists of varying ideology, they assist readers in discovering how to engage in conversation with those of differing beliefs.

“The Word comes first, and with the Word the Spirit breathes upon my heart so that I believe.” – Martin Luther

Author Information

James R. White is the author of several acclaimed books, including The King James Only Controversy and The Forgotten Trinity. He is an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization, an adjunct professor with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and a professor of apologetics with Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He and his family live in Phoenix.

Reviews:

“Scripture Alone by James R. White had me hooked at the Dedication page. The heart for Christ that is briefly exposed there is more full expressed in the subsequent pages. White states in his Introduction that he is passionate about theology and faith, and that passion is clear throughout the book. The Introduction also contains a helpful clarification of sola scriptura (and sola fide), which is laid out in more detail in Chapter 2; there are several useful historical references as well. Chapter 2 concludes with an assessment of the evangelical church’s view of Scripture and preaching, in theory and in practice.

This is a book that is written for the layman, but I confess to getting a bit bogged down in Chapter 5, a discussion of the canon of Scripture. I am confident that this is a problem that can be easily overcome by a slower, more careful reading on my part. Throughout the book, White employs a dialogue technique that proves helpful in most places, but occasionally gets tedious. Chapter 6 provides a good preview of material that most Christians have not read firsthand in their entirety, but may have had to deal with recently because of the popularity of The Da Vinci Code. Though not primarily a rebuttal to that book, it is helpful. Chapter 7 has an excellent imaginary debate between a Christian and a Mormon about text corruption, as well as a transcript of an actual debate between White and a Muslim that was wonderful. White also addressed one of my pet peeves in ‘The Lord spoke to me, saying…’ However, the ending he portrays with George happily agreeing to consider Joshua’s points has been a rarity in my experience.

In his conclusion, White reiterates his goal, to stir up a passion in the believer for the Word of God and it’s sufficiency. He exhorts the reader to continued study, and to a renewed zeal for meditation on the Scriptures. It would be impossible to read this book and not be so moved.” –Christian Book Previews

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Chapter One: Three Arguments Related to Scriptural Sufficiency
Chapter Two: Definitions: More Than Half the Battle
Chapter Three: Forever Settled: The Nature of God’s Holy Word
Chapter Four: Inerrancy and Exegesis: Believing and Honoring God’s Word
Chapter Five: The Canon of Scripture Considered
Chapter Six: Did Thomas Write a Gospel?
Chapter Seven: Allegations of Corruption
Chapter Eight: Allegations of Contradiction
Chapter Nine: Tradition, the Church, and the Development of Doctrine
Chapter Ten: The Lord Spoke to Me, Saying
Chapter Eleven: Scriptural Sufficiency: Nothing New
Chapter Twelve: Conclusion: Forever Settled in Heaven . . . and for Me
Scripture Index

Regular Price: $16.00

Special Price $12.00

Buy the book here.

Free Ebook-The Canon of Scripture

October 22, 2014 2 comments

The Canon of Scripture by Samuel Waldroncanon_0

Available in ePub and .mobi formats

Is the idea of a canon, a list of sacred writings which are looked at possessing divine authority, itself biblical? In other words, Does the Bible teach the idea of a canon? This question is even more urgent to answer in light of the fact that the term canon, is never used of a list of writings possessing final authority in the Bible.

While the term, canon, is never used of a list of sacred writings in the pages of Holy Scripture, the idea it represents is present everywhere in the New Testament. This is another case where church history has properly given us a word to describe a biblical idea. Similarly, the term, Trinity, is not itself biblical, but it brings out and summarizes a biblical idea. The idea of a canon, an official collection of sacred writings, is logically implied in any view of Scripture which regards Scripture as possessing unique, one-of-a-kind authority. This view is especially suggested by any view of Scripture which regards the Holy Scriptures as divine, infallible, and inerrant.

This kind of view is, however, the Scripture’s own view of itself. The New Testament everywhere views the Old Testament not only as having unique authority, but as divine, infallible, and inerrant. This view of the Old Testament requires by the strictest logical necessity the idea of canon. The reason for this is that this view requires a clear distinction, an emphatic boundary between what is and what is not Scripture. A boundary line of this character is drawn by means of the canon, the list of those books which are different than all others in that they are divine and inerrant. Such a distinction, such a boundary line can be provided only by the idea of canon.

 

Table of Contents

 

PART ONE: THE APPROACH TO THE CANON

PART TWO: THE DEBATE OVER THE CANON

PART THREE: THE ATTESTATION OF THE CANON

PART FOUR: THE FORM OF THE CANON

PART FIVE: THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE CANON

II. The Early Heresies

 

 

Source [Monergism.com]

Charismatics are not Reformed

March 20, 2013 4 comments

Tom Chantry writes an excellent article explaining why those who hold Charismatic doctrines cannot reconcile those doctrines with Reformed Theology’s distinct doctrine of God’s sovereignty. God’s word is always to be the center of all worship. Once charismatic influences rise within the walls of a local church, God’s word will be replaced with an emotional experience.

I have firsthand knowledge of the truth of this fact concerning charismatic doctrines. I have sat in charismatic churches for 16 years and the focus was not exegesis of the word of God, but rather extra-Biblical utterances and supposed revelations that were always held in higher esteem than what the Bible teaches.

Here is some of what Tom chantry states,

 

“Reformed Christians have therefore consistently affirmed the importance of the preached Word. As our own Confession puts it, following Westminster,

“The Grace of Faith, whereby the Elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the Ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, Prayer and other Means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened. (Second London Confession, xiv:1)”

This conviction is a necessary consequence of any consistent adherence to the principle of sovereignty. If God is truly sovereign over all gracious work in the soul, then He must control the means by which that work progresses, and further, those means will be the ones identified in His Word.

In contrast to the Reformed consensus on the means of grace, charismaticism has always and inevitably engaged in the belittlement of the ministry of the Word. What has been observed in charismatic churches for decades continues to hold true; no matter what is said of the importance of preaching, the real moment of communion with God comes when there is a prophetic utterance – no matter how banal. Wherever the church adopts charismatic doctrine, emotions must increase and thoughts decrease.”

 

Read the entire article right here.

Confession statement 8

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

VIII THE rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the worship of God, in which is contained the whole duty of man, is (not men’s laws, or unwritten traditions, but) only the word of God contained in the holy Scriptures; in which is plainly recorded whatsoever is needful for us to know, believe, and practice; which are the only rule of holiness and obedience for all saints, at all times, in all places to be observed.

Col.2:23; Matt.15:6,9; John 5:39; 2 Tim.3:15,16,17; Isa.8:20; Gal.1:8.9: Acts 3:22,23.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

Chapter I : Of the Holy Scriptures

1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible (a) rule of all saving Knowledge, Faith and Obedience; Although the (b) light of Nature, and the works of Creation and Providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will, which is necessary unto Salvation. (c) Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that His will unto his Church; and afterward for the better preserving, and propagating of the Truth, and for the more sure Establishment, and Comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the World, to commit the same wholly unto (d) writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of Gods revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

a 2Ti_3:15-17; Isa_20:1; Luk_16:29-31; Eph_2:20

b Rom_1:19-21; Rom_2:14-15; Psa_19:1-3

c Heb_1:1

d Pro_22:19-21; Rom_15:4; 2Pe_1:19-20

2. Under the Name of Holy Scripture or the Word of God written; are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament which are these,

Of the Old Testament.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

Of the new Testament.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Pauls Epistle to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Phillippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second and third Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, the Revelation. All which are given by the (e) inspiration of God, to be the rule of Faith and Life.

e 2Ti_3:16

3. The Books commonly called Apocrypha not being of (f) Divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon (or rule) of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority to the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of, then other humane writings.

f Luk_24:27; Luk_24:44; Rom_3:2

4. The Authority of the Holy Scripture for which it ought to be believed dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon (g) God (who is truth it self) the Author thereof; therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

g 2Pe_1:19-21; 2Ti_3:16; 2Th_2:13; 1Jo_5:9

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church of God, to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the Doctrine, and the Majesty of the stile, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God) the full discovery it makes of the only way of mans salvation, and many other incomparable Excellencies, and intire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence it self to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding; our (h) full perswasion, and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our Hearts.

h Joh. 16. 13,14. 1 Cor. 2. 10,11,12. 1 John 2. 2.20.27.

6. The whole Councel of God concerning all things (i) necessary for his own Glory, Mans Salvation, Faith and Life, is either expressely set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new Revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the (k) inward illumination of the Spirit of God, to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church common to humane actions and societies; which are to be (l) ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

i 2 Tim. 3. 15,16,17. Gal. 1. 8,9.

k John 6. 45. 1 Cor. 2. 9,10,11,12.

l 1 Cor. 11, 13,14. & ch. 14. 26. & 40.

7. All things in Scripture are not alike (m) plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for Salvation, are so (n) clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.

m 2 Pet. 3. 16.

n Ps. 19. 7. and 119. 130.

8. The Old Testament in (o) Hebrew, (which was the Native language of the people of God of old) and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the Nations being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and Providence kept pure in all Ages, are therefore (p) authentical; so as in all controversies of Religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them (q) But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read (r) and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every Nation, unto which they (s) come, that the Word of God dwelling (t) plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.

oRom. 3. 2.

p Isa. 8. 20.

q Act. 15. 15.

r John 5. 39.

s 1 Cor. 14, 6.9.11,12.24.28.

t Col. 3. 16.

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the (u) Scripture it self: And therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold but one) it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.

u 2 Pet. 1. 20,21. Act. 15. 15,16.

10. The supream judge by which all controversies of Religion are to be determined, and all Decrees of Councels, opinions of antient Writers, Doctrines of men, and private Spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which (x) Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.

x Mat. 22. 29.31. Eph. 2. 20 Acts 28. 23.

 

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith