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Canon of Scripture


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#1 Kremlin

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 02:15 PM

Thanks Ev, you've dealt fairly well with the main objections thrown up by Catholics. My question now is this:

If we do take Sola Scriptura, where do we define Canon? How do we know some of the other gospels (eg Gospel of Thomas, and others) are not Canon? How can we prove to someone when they ask as why we accept the bible but some things we do not?

:unsure:

#2 Evangelion

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 11:23 PM

Thanks Ev, you've dealt fairly well with the main objections thrown up by Catholics.


:D

My question now is this:

If we do take Sola Scriptura, where do we define Canon? How do we know some of the other gospels (eg Gospel of Thomas, and others) are not Canon? How can we prove to someone when they ask as why we accept the bible but some things we do not?

:unsure:


Textual criticism. :D
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#3 Evangelion

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 02:08 AM

Have you done this for every book in the Bible and the appocrypha, Ev? :unsure:


Nope, but I don't have to. :D

It's all been done boggins of times by many other people - and the sheer consistency of their conclusions is more than enough to confirm that the entire body of Scripture (as we know it today) is legitimate. :D
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#4 Flappie

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 02:18 AM

I also think it is safe to assume that God made sure His Word was really His Word. Makes a mockery of it all otherwise.
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#5 Evangelion

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 02:21 AM

Right on. :unsure:
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#6 Kremlin

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 04:17 AM

I also think it is safe to assume that God made sure His Word was really His Word. Makes a mockery of it all otherwise.

I don't like this line of reasoning per se, because it is the same one that is used by trinitarians, et al.

#7 Kremlin

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 04:27 AM

Textual Criticism

Have you done this for every book in the Bible and the appocrypha, Ev? :unsure:


Nope, but I don't have to. :D

It's all been done boggins of times by many other people - and the sheer consistency of their conclusions is more than enough to confirm that the entire body of Scripture (as we know it today) is legitimate. :D

Don't forget that the subject of textual validity is still a current one with modern theologians today. There are big arguments about the Gospel of Thomas, etc.

The reason I ask, is because many people have said that one particular movie, "The Last Temptation of Christ" is a good one in the fact that it really shows the human side of Christ (as opposed to films like The Passion, which seem to focus on his superhuman "Godlike" side (as they see it)).

However, it seems its interpretation is based on one of the dodgy gospels. For that reason alone it would make one think, however I'm wondering if it's worth anything at all.

Krem

#8 Fork

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 08:35 AM

Well, I just read a book called "The Five Gospels - What did Jesus really say", although I might have the subtitle wrong. It was a group effort by a large group of biblical scholars which tried to determine which sayings of Jesus were authentic and which were not. It's well regarded in many circles, although I doubt it would be well regarded in Fundamentalist Christadelphian circles.

It took the viewpoint that the Gospel of Thomas has some merit.

Anyone have any informed opinions on the book/topic?

Edited by Fork, 19 February 2004 - 08:36 AM.


#9 Evangelion

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 04:31 PM

However, it seems its interpretation is based on one of the dodgy gospels.


Sounds like this allegation is load of cobblers. :D

I'll be watching it as soon as it comes out here in the UK, so I'll let you know - but in the meantime, what has lead people to believe that it's based on the GOT? :D

I need a few facts before I can provide a comprehensive response. :unsure: Mere hearsay is a little difficult to work with. :D
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#10 Evangelion

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 04:43 PM

Well, I just read a book called "The Five Gospels - What did Jesus really say", although I might have the subtitle wrong. It was a group effort by a large group of biblical scholars which tried to determine which sayings  of Jesus were authentic and which were not. It's well regarded in many circles,


It's well-regarded in gnostic and anti-Christian circles, which should tell you everything you need to know about it. :D

although I doubt it would be well regarded in Fundamentalist Christadelphian circles.


I hope it wouldn'tbe well regarded in any Christadelphian circles. I'd hate to think that my brethren and sisters were so appallingly uneducated. :unsure:

It took the viewpoint that the Gospel of Thomas has some merit.


:D

Anyone have any informed opinions on the book/topic?


Sure.
  • In my debates with Peter Kirby, I have always found him sensible, objective and scholarly. You could do a lot worse than spend a little time @ his Website.




  • A few choice samples from the GOT may be found here.

    Thus:

    Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to something and tell me what I am like."

    Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a just messenger."

    Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher."

    Thomas said to him, "Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like."

    Jesus said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended."

    And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?"

    Thomas said to them, "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you."

Floats your boat does it, Fork? :D

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#11 Kremlin

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:13 AM

However, it seems its interpretation is based on one of the dodgy gospels.


Sounds like this allegation is load of cobblers. :D

I'll be watching it as soon as it comes out here in the UK, so I'll let you know - but in the meantime, what has lead people to believe that it's based on the GOT? :book:

I need a few facts before I can provide a comprehensive response. :bye: Mere hearsay is a little difficult to work with. :shrug:

Ermm... It's already out, and has been for a while. Since 1988, to be exact. I don't know where it would be available from but its most certainly already out.

And the reason people would probably say its based on the GOT, is because (from what they have said) Jesus comes down off the Cross and marries Mary Magdalene, and has a family. Or something.

That sounds rather Gospel-Of-Thomasy to me.

Why'd you roll your eyes at me? :cry:

Krem :book:

Edited by Kremlin, 25 February 2004 - 06:18 AM.


#12 Evangelion

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 03:08 PM

Ermm... It's already out, and has been for a while. Since 1988, to be exact. I don't know where it would be available from but its most certainly already out.

And the reason people would probably say its based on the GOT, is because (from what they have said) Jesus comes down off the Cross and marries Mary Magdalene, and has a family. Or something.

That sounds rather Gospel-Of-Thomasy to me.

Why'd you roll your eyes at me?  :yep:

Krem  :shrug:


:book: :D I didn't read that very well, did I? :cry:

I thought you were talking about The Passion! :bye:

Yes, it's entirely plausible that The Last Temptation of Jesus Christ had a GOT influence of some sort. But again, I'd need a few more specifics. :book:

Edited by Evangelion, 25 February 2004 - 03:11 PM.

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#13 Kremlin

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 03:28 AM

Actually, from reading some reviews, It turns out it's not actually based on any dodgy gospels (as far as I can tell). Apparently the whole thing with Mary Magdalene is actually a scene in his mind, showing what exactly would happen if he chose to disobey God and come down from the cross. In the end he gives up his life on the cross anyway.

Naturally a lot of Fundamental Christians were very angry about the movie, (many without having even seen it) but it sounds like it would really hilight the temptation of Christ (and thus his humanity), whereas many other films seem to portray him as the suffering God.

#14 Fork

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 07:53 AM

Ev, I certainly don't regard the Gospel of Thomas as inspired, and neither did the authors of the book I read (AFAIKT). They apparently did regard is as having some historical value (obviously with added sillyness) in a similar way to many Christadelphians regarding the Epic of Gilgamish as having some historical merit in the form of the Flood.

As for Peter Kirby, he is a smart cookie, but I doubt many of us would agree with most of his work. I've read a lot of his stuff, and had some correspondance with him. His site is at http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/.

I'm not planning on seeing The Passion. I don't like the idea of the death of Christ being movieified, and certainly not by Mel Gibson.

#15 Cool Spot

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Posted 07 March 2004 - 02:39 AM

I'm not planning on seeing The Passion. I don't like the idea of the death of Christ being movieified, and certainly not by Mel Gibson.

I was reading this past week, perhaps in USA Today (?) that the movie actually did quite well in its opening week, something like $72 million.

In an editorial, a writer was saying that finally the conservative Christians have a movie that they can watch, to the liberals chagrin. And, if the liberals don't like it, they can watch something else. I cheered when I read that comment. Take that, all you elitist, left-wing, smarter-than-thou liberals! :D :D

#16 ebola

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 05:19 AM

We have our 'canon of scripture'

Translated from extremely accurate historical documents, I might add.
The King James Version (KJV) being (I believe) the most accurate TRANSLATION

The translators may make a few errors (considering the monumental size of the task that they had), but the bible is inspired.

Josephus is not inspired. The Strongs Concordance is not inspired. If you have a wide margin bible, the margin is not inspired.

So, the 'Gospel of Thomas' could (I say could, not having read it) be said to be a little like the book of maccabees.

Macabbes, I do not - cannot - believe to be inspired. just reading it, it seems... different.
(or perhaps I am too sceptical...)

There is no harm in just reading them...
just remember, that the material you are reading can be a whole lot subtler than you think.

I would reccomend that you read Christadelphian works critically. Anything else, well, to say 'be more critical' would be like saying 'this candle is hot. the sun is more hotter [sic]'

if you doubt that you should be critical of these works (and I HIGHLY reccomend you read books written by our pioneering bretheren), look at the example of hte bereans.
yes, I'll trundle out that old argument, simply because it is true, and they are the perfect example. The made sure that what they were told was true. whether it was from an apostle, or not.

so please, check up on what I say. If it's wrong, I'd like to know - after all, my life is at stake here. And if you intend to read/watch/review any third party works, please, please, check up on what they say as well.

ebola

#17 Kremlin

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 02:23 AM

We have our 'canon of scripture'

Translated from extremely accurate historical documents, I might add.
The King James Version (KJV) being (I believe) the most accurate TRANSLATION

I would probably beg to differ, but then every translation has its faults. It's best to check a range of translations, and a few lexicons for good measure.

The translators may make a few errors (considering the monumental size of the task that they had), but the bible is inspired.

I assume by this you mean that scripture is inspired, not the KJV translation of it.... any more than the NIV is inspired. Can inspiration even be applied to translation of an inspired work? :thumbsup:

Josephus is not inspired. The Strongs Concordance is not inspired. If you have a wide margin bible, the margin is not inspired.

So, the 'Gospel of Thomas' could (I say could, not having read it) be said to be a little like the book of maccabees.

Agreed, anything not in the correct Canon of scripture is not inspired. The question really is - is the present canon we have (66 books of the bible) all that is inspired? Did they perhaps miss out a few?
Regardless of inspiration or not, I believe that many of the older manuscripts (such as GoT, Didache, etc), whilst not being inspired, provide a great snapshot of Christian and social life back in those times, and for that reason, are valuable.

Macabbes, I do not - cannot - believe to be inspired. just reading it, it seems... different.
(or perhaps I am too sceptical...)

Yes, reading the apocryphal works always seems such a mouthful... like the language is rather convoluted or trying to say too much.... like the book of mormon :yuk:

There is no harm in just reading them...
just remember, that the material you are reading can be a whole lot subtler than you think.

I would reccomend that you read Christadelphian works critically. Anything else, well, to say 'be more critical' would be like saying 'this candle is hot. the sun is more hotter [sic]'

if you doubt that you should be critical of these works (and I HIGHLY reccomend you read books written by our pioneering bretheren), look at the example of hte bereans.
yes, I'll trundle out that old argument, simply because it is true, and they are the perfect example. The made sure that what they were told was true. whether it was from an apostle, or not.

so please, check up on what I say. If it's wrong, I'd like to know - after all, my life is at stake here. And if you intend to read/watch/review any third party works, please, please, check up on what they say as well.

ebola

:surf:

Yes, there is no sense in re-inventing the wheel. Although, in some places the wheel is sadly deficient. I remember one elder sister telling me that "If you have the Pioneers, you don't need all of these modern books". I told her that I would prefer studying the bible instead of the pioneers. She was taken aback for a second, then replied "Yes, as long as you come to the same conclusions as them". I think this is a rather dangerous thing to assume, since not all of what they said was correct, or even necessarily agreed with each other.
The next time someone trots out with the pioneers as being the source of the Christadelphian faith, ask them if they believe in a Localised flood and that Enoch went to heaven.

:coffee:

#18 itinerant

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 03:08 AM

The next time someone trots out with the pioneers as being the source of the Christadelphian faith, ask them if they believe in a Localised flood and that Enoch went to heaven.

Surprisingly smart fellows at times those pioneer chappies. :coffee:
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#19 Fortigurn

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 10:29 AM

The next time someone trots out with the pioneers as being the source of the Christadelphian faith, ask them if they believe in a Localised flood and that Enoch went to heaven.

Surprisingly smart fellows at times those pioneer chappies. :coffee:

:surf:

Full of surprises. :thumbsup:
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Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

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#20 Guest_chairete_*

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 10:44 AM

that Enoch went to heaven.


I was pretty shocked when I read that suggestion in EI - but no-one I've spoken to seemed to have noticed....

#21 Fortigurn

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 10:49 AM

that Enoch went to heaven.


I was pretty shocked when I read that suggestion in EI - but no-one I've spoken to seemed to have noticed....

People tend to get rattled when I point out that Brother Roberts believed in (and argued for), a local flood. :thumbsup:
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

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target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#22 Guest_Johanan_*

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 01:46 PM

People tend to get rattled when I point out that Brother Roberts believed in (and argued for), a local flood.  :thumbsup:

He actually does a good job of it too - it help persuade me. The article is here

As for the EI quote, it is pretty bizzare:

Beyond our atmosphere is the ether; through which they only can pass, who, like the Lord Jesus and the angels, possess a nature adapted to it. This is the case with the Spiritual nature. Jesus was changed into a Spirit, and was therefore enable to pass through it to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. Enoch, Elijah, and Moses, are also cases to the point.

Perhaps it has been left in so that even the most pro-pioneer Christadelphian can demonstrate his independence of thought by using this as an example when he says "I don't agree with everything John Thomas wrote"

(Sorry, that is a bit cynical of me)

#23 Flappie

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 09:18 PM

Thought the Maccabees were slightly more based on truths than Bel.

I just look at it like I'd look at any other human written history. Talking specifically about Maccabees here, not the rest.
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#24 Huldah

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 09:35 PM

:thumbsup: Maccabees is good for finding out about what happened in the intertestamental period.

Edited by Huldah, 17 March 2004 - 09:36 PM.

"Dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing to him. Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment. And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us"
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#25 JesusMyWisdom

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 02:58 AM

If we do take Sola Scriptura, where do we define Canon? How do we know some of the other gospels (eg Gospel of Thomas, and others) are not Canon? How can we prove to someone when they ask as why we accept the bible but some things we do not?


Actually you can't prove it.

I would like to see someone prove Esther and Jude should be in the Bible but the Didache and the Gospel of Peter should not.

The usual answer to this problem is that "God must have made sure we had an inspired canon." Really? How does anyone know all the books in their canon are most certainly inspired? Simply because they like it that way? The Bible does not identify itself and it is anachronistic to suppose it does. How does anyone know that God decided no one needed a canon until the fourth century and left Christians debating which books should be accepted and which should not? And how does anyone know that God decided in the fourth century we should have a 46ish book OT canon and a 27 book NT canon? And how do we know that God decided to make sure to modify the Old Testament canon to 39 books from 46 in the 16th century. Where is the evidence that God decided ANY of this? There isn't any!

I will tell you where their evidence is. It is here: "this is what we like for a canon and so we are going to tell everyone this is what God intended all along to do."

Uh huh.

Jesus My Wisdom

Edited by JesusMyWisdom, 27 March 2004 - 03:48 PM.


#26 Kremlin

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 12:12 PM

Got any ideas or suggestions on how we could scrutinise possible works for the canon? It seems that the tests the compilers applied to the books were pretty thorough, although one could possibly question the consistency.

For example, James and Jude nearly got chucked because the writers did not claim to be apostles, but rather "elders" or "servants" (especially in the case of Jude). So they were questioned, because if the writer admitted that he was not an apostle, then why should his work be taken as inspired?

As far as the Old Testament Canon goes, that was compiled beforehand by the Jews, and as such the NT Canon compilers just ran with what the Jews already had. Esther was of course questionable due to not even mentioning God, but then I guess being a history book, does inspiration really even matter in the case of this book?

Another thing to consider would be the book of Job, or Acts - even if we say they are inspired, when people are recorded as saying things, are what they say inspired? Was Elihu inspired? Were his mates? Was Job himself inspired? Or should we only prooftext from what God is recorded as saying? What about Acts - is what Peter said in the conference inspired? Do we as Christians really have to abstain from things strangled, and from blood, just because James found it repulsive and said so?

A lot of questions there - sometimes we have to wonder if it really matters? Does our foundation clause provide a complete cornerstone to our faith, or is it merely functional?


Lots of questions I don't have the answers to. Perhaps you do? Post away! :oops:

#27 Flappie

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 04:29 PM

Think you'll have to see Acts just as inspired as Luke.

James probably found it repulsive because he was a Jew. Even Peter had to be told 3 times not to reject anything unclean.
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#28 Evangelion

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 05:53 PM

I would like to see someone prove Esther and Jude should be in the Bible but the Didache and the Gospel of Peter should not.

Gospel of Peter and The Didache? When has anyone ever said that they are inspired? I dont think they have.

For that reason, this statement is as good as saying "someone give me proof that The Hobbit is not in the Bible". :rofl1: Fact is, no ones ever regarded it as inspired, so instead you have to review the evidence for why you think it should be in the Bible.

I'd be interested to know first of all why you regard The Didache and Gospel of Peter as inspired. Then we can talk. :oops:


He's not saying that they're inspired - he's simply presenting a hypothetical. :harp:

He means "If you're going to include certain books, on what basis do you exclude others?" :first:

It's a fair question, but easily answered. :coffee:
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#29 Cool Spot

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 11:26 PM

He means "If you're going to include certain books, on what basis do you exclude others?"  It's a fair question, but easily answered.

Yes, what's that rule of thumb... if you don't like what your interpretation of the book is saying, then leave the book out list of approved ones. When in doubt, throw it out! (That's also the rule of thumb when checking your refrigerator to see if any food has expired).

Even Martin Luther, the founder of sola scriptura, relegated Revelation, James and 2 Peter to his "outer" canon of Scripture.

#30 Kesaph

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 02:26 AM

This question was presented to me tonight when I attended a lecture on the Dead Sea scrolls and other discovered ancient texts.
My conclusion was that the only way to see if a text would be acceptable as part of a a revised canon would be to compare it to the existing canon. We use scripture to interpret scripture and that is the only way I figure you would ever get close to something new.

We should reject it if it doesn't marry with what we already read in the Bible.
Prov 25:2
" It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."


Prov 27:17
" Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."





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