- On page 1, Dr. Kearley asserts that some books "lay claim" to being a part of Canon. Very few of our books of the Bible make any kind of claim that they are the inspired word of God and many books claim to be inspired that are not really (Book of Mormon). This is really shoddy evidence.
- On page 2, he comments about Jerome, Origen, and the Jews at the time. Jerome originally questioned the authenticity of these books but after careful study and consideration decided they were inspired and included them in the Vulgate. Origen quotes extensively from these books in his writings as being inspired. The list he leaves them out of was what the "Hebrews" used at that time. For a discussion of this and why the Jews stopped using these books, see this informative post and read his link off it. Perhaps the best information that these books were accepted by the Jews in Christ's time and by the early Church is all the references about these books in the New Testament. For an extensive list, see here. (Note that the lower portion of that will deal with early Church Fathers and their opinions on the other books of the Old Testament that Protestants want to neglect.)
- On page 3, (and used in later arguments), he asserts that a) books must contain "holy and pure doctrines" to be canonical and b) they must have "accurate geograpy, astronomy, science, etc.". We'll deal with a in point number 4. Along with b, he is going to reject certain things he picks out of the so called "Catholic books" by saying they have bad science. Unfortunately for him, many of the books in his Old Testament make reference to the world being flat, the history presented even in the Protestant version of Daniel of the kingdoms of the time is sketchy at best, and Joshua "makes the sun stand still" even though it is already standing still. Sometimes the list of kings and enemies isn't consistent between Chronicles and Kings. All of this I am not saying to attack the integrity of the Bible. I know a lot of these things can be explained in a satisficing way for me, but we have to remember that the Bible is not a history book, a science book, or an astronomy book. Sometimes things are said in poetic or symbolic ways to make a theological point (see Job, the Psalms, Matthew's gospel, the Apocolypse , etc.)
- As per doctrine, take this example. This is exactly what Martin Luther does. He will reject certain books just because they don't synch with his interpretation of scriptures and the doctrine that his Church teaches. For instance, Maccabees teaches prayers for the dead, Baruch teaches that God can hear the prayers of the dead, Maccabees teaches about purgatory, etc. etc. etc. These are rejected because they don't fall in line with doctrines that their individual Church teaches, thus they cannot be inspired by definition. Talk about putting tradition OVER the Bible!
- On page 9, we begin to see the circular logic that traps so many sola scriptura thinkers. It says "The Old Testament bears witness to itself of being inspired". This can be lumped in with statements about Jesus quoting scriptures from the Old Testament, that using a book that you havn't proven to be inspired to prove the inspiration of other books! That's exactly what I experienced in my study when I was told that Paul's epistles were inspired because Peter said so!
- Page 9: Here the good doctor points out that a canon is really a "recognized standard of faith and action". Assuming that his point is that the Jewish tradition was to reject those books (again I believe to be fallacious), he asserts that this tradition dictates in some way which OT books are inspired. So if I get this straight, Christian tradition and history (that the Church has consistently used all the "Catholic" books since the canon was formally decided for the first time) are put on a side burner because of what Jewish tradition dictates?!
- Page 11: "The earliest Christians had no need to list the inspired books. They knew because they knew the writers." First, is he saying that somehow if the early Christians did list the books that would be binding? Because they did much closer to 400 A.D. Secondly, he's wrong here because most people didn't have most of the books. There were no printing presses, and even the four gospels themselves (with the exception of John) were not even present in all the Churches. Most had one gospel and if they were lucky one or two letters to work with. The teachings were passed down (as well as traditions about who wrote them, when they were written, etc.) orally through Sacred Tradition of the Church and settled in finality close to 400 A.D.
- The discussion of the New Testament and why books are taken as inspired is so pitiful that I don't even think I need to comment on it.
- So, after reading this article, I don't believe anything was said to convince me (distorted historical facts, appeals to Jewish Tradition, and circular logic) that Protestants have a good understanding of why they use certain books. I should say that at least groups like Lutherans and Anglicans have some solid reasons for what books they read, but these too all boil down to Traditional holdings of their Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
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