Monday, October 27, 2014

The Biblical Canon

Question:  How do we Know  #1. the Bible is the ancient word(s)?  and #2.  it is accurate and complete?
How do we know we have the right words?

This is the question of a Biblical Canon.

We started this series with General Revelation and Natural Theology ==> 1) a case for God 2) apart from Scripture

BUT, Christianity is more than General Revelation or natural theology.
Christianity is General Revelation plus Special Revelation.

Special Revelation = knowledge and information about God that is not generally available; cannot be gleaned from nature (our surroundings)
Example:  the Gospel

The means of Special Revelation?  Heb. 1:1-3 - "exact representation of His being"

The record of Special Revelation? = the Bible

So, the Question.  Given Special Revelation AND given that it was written down, still

How do we know we have the Right Record??

This is the question of a Biblical CANON.

CANON - a rule or measuring stick.  Point:  these are the writings by which and with which we measure all things!! - truths, morals, ethics, person of God, information about God, etc.

The test(s) of Canon - (how it was formed)

#1.  A call - Isa. 6:1-9  Ezek. 2:1-5 - GOD chose the individual - could never get revelation from God without a call from God.

#2. Accompanying miracles - examples:  Moses, Elijah, Elisha, etc.- not to prove existence of God, but to prove the message/messenger was from God.

#3.  Fulfilled prophecy - example:  Jeremiah - fall/return

#4.  Acceptance by the people - (often in retrospect)

So,  Old Testament Canon closed 400 years BC - until John - Mark 1:1-5


#1.  Apostolic Authorship - because they were companions & eyewitnesses  - 1 John 1:1-3
Question?  Mark & Luke? - ans. Mark wrote on behalf of Peter, Luke wrote on behalf of Paul
James and Jude? - answer:  Jesus' half brothers
Paul? - 1 Cor. 15:3-8

#2.  Acceptance by the early church
because = close to the Apostles SO were able to question and verify!!
= recognition, CirculationPreservation 

#3.  Compatible doctrine
questionable books *measured against undisputed books - Matthew, John, Galatians, ...

Question?  "Lost Books" ?

Note:  New Testament - Canonical process.  If didn't meet all three tests, were not accepted .  (formal) Finalization - 397/Carthage

(*Canonization doesn't grant authority, it recognizes authority!!)

The historic and orthodox Christian faith is built on:
General Revelation plus Special Revelation

Question - What's the most common form of faith n America today?  My guess is a form of Christianity built on General Revelation plus Speculation .
ie:  doesn't openly, explicitly, verbally reject the Bible, simply doesn't use the Bible!!!

"I believe in God and it seems to me...  I think, etc...

Question:  if = General Revelation plus My Notion, how is this different from ancient paganism and idolatry.
Answer:  we don't make a physical idol!!!

When we reject Special Revelation and substitute Speculation, have made god of own design.  "Neo-Paganism" - new world pagan.

When we come to the conclusion that all the prophets, apostles, Jesus Christ, had it wrong, and WE are right, it is the height of arrogance!!!!

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