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Author Topic: The Authority of Scripture  (Read 8461 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2010, 07:57:20 PM »

how do you know that the Spirit was not "grieved" and the Church in error when it decided on the Canon of Scripture ...?

I'm not quite sure why you are asking, since we all agree (RC, Orth and Prot) that the canon was correctly recognised, defined and closed. Are you asking whether Protestants "know" this from a different source, or on a different basis, from Orthodox? Or are you asking how I personally, DMY, "know"? Or are you asking by what means and on what basis the early church, before there were divisions into RC, Orth and Prot, "knew" or at least decided? Or are you asking  because you wish to be convinced yourself, because as yet you are not sure you know what is scripture, or even whether there be such a thing? Or are you subtly leading me onwards in the hope or expectation I'll say, "I know, because I trust the church," and then ask me why I don't trust "the church" in other matters?

I'll try to answer, but I need to understand the question more clearly first.
What I am asking is this:
If it was the Church that decided what books should be included in the Canon of Scripture, what criteria do you use to determine that the Church was not in error when she selected those books? The answer cannot be "because it was the early Church", because, as I pointed out, the Church had already been rocked by the error of Arianism before she finally decided which books to include in the Canon, so no one can claim that "the early Church was free from error and therefore chose the correct books".
So if our criteria for determining whether or not the Church made an error in selecting the books of Scripture in the fourth century cannot simply be because it was the "early Church", then what are the criteria? I have an answer, but I am interested in hearing yours first.
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« Reply #46 on: February 08, 2010, 02:42:31 PM »

what criteria do you use to determine that the Church was not in error when she selected those books?... I have an answer, but I am interested in hearing yours first.

And I yours! The Holy Spirit is the inspirer, let us say "author", of scripture in a special, unique way. He also indwells God's people. So one might say, God's people know the author, and thus recognise the authenticity of his books, of scripture. In view of the unanimity and universality of this recognition, I believe it is part of - some might say the entirety of - what our Lord promised when he said the Spirit would lead the church into all truth. Whatever else it may mean, if it does include more, I believe it means this. I am aware that there have been comparitively short-lived, localised questions about the extent of the canon - excluding this, including that - but the consensus is sufficient to be persuasive.
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« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2010, 02:49:10 PM »

Do you still believe that the Church was being guided into "All truth around 400 AD"?

This is the hardest question (for me) yet posed on this thread. I do not have a clear answer in my head.

I do believe the church sometimes wanders from truth, and I do believe the Spirit still strives to bring her back.

However, I do not know what Jesus meant by "all truth". Surely not omniscience; nor yet pansophia. Did he mean the church would have an answer to every religious and theological question that would be asked over the years between Pentecost and the eschaton? I think not. Then how much truth is "all truth"?

And what did he mean by "will guide"? Did he have a time in mind by which the process would be complete? If so, when? The closing of the canon? of the age of the Fathers? Which Fathers, eastern or western? As far as Bede/ Gregory the Great? The ecumenical councils? If he did not have an end to the process in mind, then in what sense is it still continuing, and how does it operate?

Here, I suspect, is matter for a whole separate thread, for it is way outside the narrower matter of religious festivals and the church calendar.
It probably would make a good new thread. But I have to say this, if you accept that the Church was infallible when it determined the cannon of the scriptures, why is it not infallible when teaching other dogmatic issues? Remember, "What ever you bind on heave is bound on earth," and the Church is called "the Pillar and Foundation of Truth".
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« Reply #48 on: February 08, 2010, 02:51:41 PM »

what criteria do you use to determine that the Church was not in error when she selected those books?... I have an answer, but I am interested in hearing yours first.

And I yours! The Holy Spirit is the inspirer, let us say "author", of scripture in a special, unique way. He also indwells God's people. So one might say, God's people know the author, and thus recognise the authenticity of his books, of scripture. In view of the unanimity and universality of this recognition, I believe it is part of - some might say the entirety of - what our Lord promised when he said the Spirit would lead the church into all truth. Whatever else it may mean, if it does include more, I believe it means this. I am aware that there have been comparitively short-lived, localised questions about the extent of the canon - excluding this, including that - but the consensus is sufficient to be persuasive.
Not all that persuasive when you consider the fact that Protestants removed seven books from the Old Testament.
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« Reply #49 on: February 08, 2010, 04:59:40 PM »

if you accept that the Church was infallible when it determined the cannon of the scriptures, why is it not infallible when teaching other dogmatic issues?

I think there is a difference from the church being infallible (which I don't think it is) and the Holy Spirit leading the church to make the right decision in certain matters, one of which we are discussing.
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« Reply #50 on: February 08, 2010, 06:52:12 PM »

if you accept that the Church was infallible when it determined the cannon of the scriptures, why is it not infallible when teaching other dogmatic issues?

I think there is a difference from the church being infallible (which I don't think it is) and the Holy Spirit leading the church to make the right decision in certain matters, one of which we are discussing.

Why would the Holy Spirit lead the Church in some decisions and not others? And which decisions was the Holy Spirit not present?
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« Reply #51 on: February 08, 2010, 07:00:25 PM »

David and Cleopas:

Why is it that your churches have chosen to delete several books from the Biblical canon which had existed from, at the latest, the fourth century, to the sixteenth century, without argument or controversy? Be honest here.
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« Reply #52 on: February 08, 2010, 07:17:48 PM »

David and Cleopas:

Why is it that your churches have chosen to delete several books from the Biblical canon which had existed from, at the latest, the fourth century, to the sixteenth century, without argument or controversy? Be honest here.

We didn't remove anything from the Scripture, the sixty six books of the Bible. However, typically, we prefer not to cumber or confuse the Scripture with other less than inspired or authoritative writings, however helpful and informative they may be otherwise.
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« Reply #53 on: February 08, 2010, 07:20:27 PM »

if you accept that the Church was infallible when it determined the cannon of the scriptures, why is it not infallible when teaching other dogmatic issues?

I think there is a difference from the church being infallible (which I don't think it is) and the Holy Spirit leading the church to make the right decision in certain matters, one of which we are discussing.

Why would the Holy Spirit lead the Church in some decisions and not others? And which decisions was the Holy Spirit not present?
Exactly the right question. Why would the Holy Spirit lead the Church in determing the canon of the scriptures and not in other dogmatic issues? Isn't the Church the "Pillar and Foundation of Truth"? David, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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« Reply #54 on: February 08, 2010, 07:21:40 PM »

David and Cleopas:

Why is it that your churches have chosen to delete several books from the Biblical canon which had existed from, at the latest, the fourth century, to the sixteenth century, without argument or controversy? Be honest here.

We didn't remove anything from the Scripture. The sixty six books of the Bible are the canon. However, typically, we prefer not to cumber or confuse the Scripture with other less than inspired or authoritative writings, however helpful and informative they may be otherwise.
LOL. Then why did you remove seven inspired books from the scriptures? The same councils that canonized the New Testament that you use also included the Deutrocanonicals. Your thinking on the matter is beyond inconsistent.
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« Reply #55 on: February 08, 2010, 07:28:10 PM »

LOL. Then why did you remove seven inspired books from the scriptures? The same councils that canonized the New Testament that you use also included the Deutrocanonicals. Your thinking on the matter is beyond inconsistent.

I couldn't care less what some council canonized, nor when. Honestly, I'm not trying to be flippant either. The Scripture was given as the books were given, and when the last uniquely inspired book of Scripture was written the "canon" was closed then once and for all, the faith once and for all delivered and preserved -- no ecclesiastical ruling can in reality change, diminish, or add to that. It may however affirm what heaven has already done. THAT is the true function of binding and loosing, the church seeking to recognize and affirm what Heaven has already settled. The dog wags the tail, the head directs the body, and not the other way around. What the church does or does not do has no bearing on the actual validity or authority of what Heaven has done.
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« Reply #56 on: February 08, 2010, 07:34:10 PM »

LOL. Then why did you remove seven inspired books from the scriptures? The same councils that canonized the New Testament that you use also included the Deutrocanonicals. Your thinking on the matter is beyond inconsistent.

I couldn't care less what some council canonized, nor when. Honestly, I'm not trying to be flippant either. The Scripture was given as the books were given, and when the last uniquely inspired book of Scripture was written the "canon" was closed then once and for all, the faith once and for all delivered and preserved -- no ecclesiastical ruling can in reality change, diminish, or add to that. It may however affirm what heaven has already done. THAT is the true function of binding and loosing, the church seeking to recognize and affirm what Heaven has already settled. The dog wags the tail, the head directs the body, and not the other way around. What the church does or does not do has no bearing on the actual validity or authority of what Heaven has done.
How do you then know what books go in the bible? I have never heard a sufficient answer from a protestant on this matter.
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« Reply #57 on: February 08, 2010, 07:37:35 PM »

Quote from: Cleopas link=topic=19524.msg407099#msg407099
I couldn't care less what some council canonized, nor when.  

There, friends, is the crux of the problem. Yet the sola scriptura adherents still claim authenticity of faith.... ignorance of history?
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« Reply #58 on: February 08, 2010, 07:41:41 PM »

LOL. Then why did you remove seven inspired books from the scriptures? The same councils that canonized the New Testament that you use also included the Deutrocanonicals. Your thinking on the matter is beyond inconsistent.

I couldn't care less what some council canonized, nor when.

Orthodox Christians do care.  YOU don't care.  I use YOU to make a distinction between YOU, as a Church, and the 7 Ecumenical Councils, which gave us the Scriptures used in Old and New Testaments.

Honestly, I'm not trying to be flippant either. The Scripture was given as the books were given,

Who did the giving?  YOU don't care per the above answer.

and when the last uniquely inspired book of Scripture was written the "canon" was closed then once and for all, the faith once and for all delivered and preserved -- no ecclesiastical ruling can in reality change, diminish, or add to that.

Whose ecclesiastical ruling? YOU don't care about that per the earlier answer.

It may however affirm what heaven has already done. THAT is the true function of binding and loosing, the church seeking to recognize and affirm what Heaven has already settled.

YOU don't care who did the binding and loosing unless it is YOU and others like YOU who are doing the binding and loosing.

The dog wags the tail, the head directs the body, and not the other way around. What the church does or does not do has no bearing on the actual validity or authority of what Heaven has done.

If YOU call yourself a Church, YOU refuse to acknowledge what has already been done by others before YOU, see my point?   Huh
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« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2010, 09:38:27 PM »

David and Cleopas:

Why is it that your churches have chosen to delete several books from the Biblical canon which had existed from, at the latest, the fourth century, to the sixteenth century, without argument or controversy? Be honest here.

We didn't remove anything from the Scripture, the sixty six books of the Bible.

You're short a couple.

Quote
However, typically, we prefer not to cumber or confuse the Scripture with other less than inspired or authoritative writings, however helpful and informative they may be otherwise.
Too bad for you the Church did not....

LOL. Then why did you remove seven inspired books from the scriptures? The same councils that canonized the New Testament that you use also included the Deutrocanonicals. Your thinking on the matter is beyond inconsistent.

I couldn't care less what some council canonized, nor when.

Problem for you is that EVERY CHRISTIAN Biblical manuscript, without exception, agrees with the councils, and against you and the Jews. EVERY-LAST-ONE.

In fact, the first printed Bibles had them too: not until 1826 would someone dare to try to pass off a Jewish canon as a Christian Bible.

You can turn your back on the Apostles and walk in the way of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes.  But there are problems with that: the B'nei Noach, Gentiles for Judaism, took that to its logical conclusion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Council_of_B%27nei_Noah

And that's not even touching your problem of where you get your New Testament from. Shocked

Quote
Honestly, I'm not trying to be flippant either. The Scripture was given as the books were given, and when the last uniquely inspired book of Scripture was written the "canon" was closed then once and for all, the faith once and for all delivered and preserved -- no ecclesiastical ruling can in reality change, diminish, or add to that. It may however affirm what heaven has already done. THAT is the true function of binding and loosing, the church seeking to recognize and affirm what Heaven has already settled. The dog wags the tail, the head directs the body, and not the other way around. What the church does or does not do has no bearing on the actual validity or authority of what Heaven has done.
The Head does direct the Body, which is why the Church decided.  But if you are not part of the body, you have no connection to the Head.

You've skirted the issue: no one says that the Church decides Truth. We witness to it, e.g. Heaven has already decided that Christ's physical presence resides in the Eucharist.
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« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2010, 12:06:22 AM »

Guys,

Not that it will likely change very much, but when I said I couldn't care less what some council said or when, I wasn't saying councils aren't important or authoritative in every sense, nor that what they say can not be valid and true -- only that whatever councils say (be it ecumenical, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God, etc.), good or bad, right or wrong, doesn't change the reality of what is, of what God has done, and is doing. It is in that sense that I am dismissive of ecclesiastical rulings -- believing they can and do err (while they can and also do get it right), realizing that whatever they get right, or wrong for that matter, isn't the real barometer for truth -- rather it is what God has inspired, preserved, and affirmed by the Spirit's work in confirming the word.

Like I said, I wasn't meaning to be flippant. I was merely trying to be honest and brief.
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« Reply #61 on: February 09, 2010, 12:19:56 AM »

Guys,

Not that it will likely change very much, but when I said I couldn't care less what some council said or when, I wasn't saying councils aren't important or authoritative in every sense, nor that what they say can not be valid and true -- only that whatever councils say (be it ecumenical, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God, etc.), good or bad, right or wrong, doesn't change the reality of what is, of what God has done, and is doing. It is in that sense that I am dismissive of ecclesiastical rulings -- believing they can and do err (while they can and also do get it right), realizing that whatever they get right, or wrong for that matter, isn't the real barometer for truth -- rather it is what God has inspired, preserved, and affirmed by the Spirit's work in confirming the word.

In other words, the Ecumenical Councils.

And you still haven't explained why you are not guilty of plagerism and copyright infringment.
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« Reply #62 on: February 09, 2010, 12:22:07 AM »



And you still haven't explained why you are not guilty of plagerism and copyright infringment.
Huh?  Huh

Quote
In other words, the Ecumenical Councils.
I had no implication toward any ecumenical councils in mind, no. Rather I had gospel preaching, gospel experiences, and the virtual Christian consensus along with the blessing of the Spirit on the use of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.
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« Reply #63 on: February 09, 2010, 12:37:37 AM »

sorry wrong thread
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« Reply #64 on: February 09, 2010, 12:57:27 AM »



And you still haven't explained why you are not guilty of plagerism and copyright infringment.
Huh?  Huh

Quote
In other words, the Ecumenical Councils.
I had no implication toward any ecumenical councils in mind, no. Rather I had gospel preaching, gospel experiences, and the virtual Christian consensus along with the blessing of the Spirit on the use of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

Yes, so you keep saying. But that 66 book Bible didn't come off the press until 1824, around the time Evangelicalism was coming into existence.  And it was plagerism to take the Pharisees who formed the Masoretic text, a Jewish text formed nearly a millenium after the birth of the Church (and hence NOT the text the NT quotes), and pass it off as a Christian Bible. No.  Give credit where credit is due: you've decided to walk according to

Of course, there's the problem that the Masoretic text is mangling the previous Hebrew canon: the Talmud itself comments on Sirach, the Jews celebrate Hanukkah based on the Scriptural warrant of Maccabees, etc.  The Jew Theodotion translated Daniel from a text that resembles the LXX and not the Masoretic text (it includes, Susanna, the Song of the Three Youths and Bel and the Dragon) in the second century AD.  Wouldn't know that from the Masoretic text.  But if one is going to take the Rabbis as one's authority, one has to follow their error I guess.

Where did you get that text for your NT?  Copyright infringment: the Church did the heavy work of sorting through those other Gospels, and you don't want to give credit where credit is due. ALL manuscripts of the NT are coupled with the Church's canon of the OT.  You take the Rabbis' OT, why not their NT? You can't have ours.
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« Reply #65 on: February 09, 2010, 12:58:23 AM »

Guys,

Not that it will likely change very much, but when I said I couldn't care less what some council said or when, I wasn't saying councils aren't important or authoritative in every sense,

If the roof caves in at your Church, who makes the important and authoritative decisions to restore the church?  Do you have a Church council?  Are you the sole member of the Church Council?

nor that what they say can not be valid and true -- only that whatever councils say (be it ecumenical, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God, etc.), good or bad, right or wrong, doesn't change the reality of what is,

If you can restore the roof of your Church or pay a company to restore the roof with insurance money, may God Bless you for your wisdom and judgment.  Jesus had the 12 and 70 available to preach the Gospel when Jesus ascended into heaven....  BTW, Jesus quoted from the scriptural texts that your Church has arbitrarily excluded; therefore, your Church must be far superior to Jesus to arbitrarily remove Scriptures.

of what God has done, and is doing. It is in that sense that I am dismissive of ecclesiastical rulings -- believing they can and do err (while they can and also do get it right), realizing that whatever they get right, or wrong for that matter, isn't the real barometer for truth -- rather it is what God has inspired, preserved, and affirmed by the Spirit's work in confirming the word.

The Holy Spirit can't restore the roof on your Church.

Like I said, I wasn't meaning to be flippant. I was merely trying to be honest and brief.

As if you really cared, which you said earlier, you don't.

Edited for content.
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« Reply #66 on: February 09, 2010, 01:02:52 AM »

Scripture doesn't give a definitive list of books included in either the OT or the NT, but does give some insight into what is included in the OT.

Acts 16:1
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Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

2 Tim 3:15-16
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And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
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« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2010, 03:51:15 AM »

Folks! I fear I must bow out of this discussion. I have a series of Mission meetings in the south of England; I must hasten away, and shall not be home till Saturday p.m.

Best wishes,
DMY
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« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2010, 04:43:36 AM »

Oh Boy, Isa hasn't even started talking about the Targums and Peshitta Tanakh which resemble more the LXX than the MT.
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« Reply #69 on: February 09, 2010, 04:43:36 AM »

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why not their NT?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toledot_Yeshu

If Protestants keep going the way they are this will be the protestant "NT" soon enough.
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« Reply #70 on: February 09, 2010, 04:43:53 AM »



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Problem for you is that EVERY CHRISTIAN Biblical manuscript, without exception, agrees with the councils, and against you and the Jews. EVERY-LAST-ONE.

In fact, the first printed Bibles had them too: not until 1826 would someone dare to try to pass off a Jewish canon as a Christian Bible.

You can turn your back on the Apostles and walk in the way of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes.  But there are problems with that: the B'nei Noach, Gentiles for Judaism, took that to its logical conclusion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Council_of_B%27nei_Noah

And that's not even touching your problem of where you get your New Testament from.


http://www.amazon.com/Incredible-Scofield-His-Book/dp/1879998440/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1265682305&sr=8-3-fkmr1
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« Reply #71 on: February 09, 2010, 05:24:33 AM »

Guys,

Not that it will likely change very much, but when I said I couldn't care less what some council said or when, I wasn't saying councils aren't important or authoritative in every sense, nor that what they say can not be valid and true -- only that whatever councils say (be it ecumenical, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God, etc.), good or bad, right or wrong, doesn't change the reality of what is, of what God has done, and is doing. It is in that sense that I am dismissive of ecclesiastical rulings -- believing they can and do err (while they can and also do get it right), realizing that whatever they get right, or wrong for that matter, isn't the real barometer for truth -- rather it is what God has inspired, preserved, and affirmed by the Spirit's work in confirming the word.

Like I said, I wasn't meaning to be flippant. I was merely trying to be honest and brief.

It's my understanding that the Ecumenical Councils did not propogate new doctrine.  They were not there to sit around and figure out what they were supposed to teach their faithful as if they didn't know.  Instead, they gathered together to declare in no uncertain terms what they had already been teaching, practicing and believing.  It's for this very reason- the role of the Holy Councils in properly articulating what the Church Catholic believed, confessed and taught- they are of the utmost importance.  I think it's true that the Church did not propogate a new doctrine when it formalized the canon or anything else, but it didn't propogate a new doctrine at any other Ecumenical Council either.  That's not what's supposed to happen at an Ecumenical Council or any other council for that matter.  The Church gathers in council to recognize and clarify what it has been teaching from the beginning, not to add to the deposit of the faith.

To set up a dichotomy between "what God has done, and is doing" and that which is promulgated by an Ecumenical Council is a false dichotomy.  Heretics may throw the Church into confusion from time to time about what exactly it is that she had been teaching, but when she gathers together in Council, the Holy Spirit leads her into right recognition of just what it is that "God has done, and is doing".

In short, the Church's action in an Ecumenical Council is not an action of creative thinking and novelty but an action of remember who She is and always has been.
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« Reply #72 on: February 09, 2010, 09:42:01 AM »

what criteria do you use to determine that the Church was not in error when she selected those books?... I have an answer, but I am interested in hearing yours first.
And I yours!
I asked first!  Cheesy LOL! What I'm interested in is your assumptions and the reasons behind them.

The Holy Spirit is the inspirer, let us say "author", of scripture in a special, unique way. He also indwells God's people. So one might say, God's people know the author, and thus recognise the authenticity of his books,
That is true. The people of God, that is, the Church, had to recognise what was inspired as Scripture. What I am asking is, how is this recognition itself recognised, and your answer seem to be consensus:

In view of the unanimity and universality of this recognition, I believe it is part of - some might say the entirety of - what our Lord promised when he said the Spirit would lead the church into all truth. Whatever else it may mean, if it does include more, I believe it means this. I am aware that there have been comparitively short-lived, localised questions about the extent of the canon - excluding this, including that - but the consensus is sufficient to be persuasive.
This still leaves three questions:

1) How is this consensus which decided the Canon of Scripture expressed? Is it simply the majority view of the Church? How does the Church voice its decision?

2) What constitutes the boundaries of the Church whose opinion we should accept as Christian teaching?

3) Did the Church exist in it's fullness in the centuries before the New Testament Canon was written and decided on? And which came first, the Church or the Scriptures of the New Testament? And which, therefore, is the higher authority- the Church or the Scriptures?
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« Reply #73 on: February 09, 2010, 10:32:57 AM »

I wasn't saying councils aren't important or authoritative in every sense, nor that what they say can not be valid and true -- only that whatever councils say (be it ecumenical, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God, etc.), good or bad, right or wrong, doesn't change the reality of what is, of what God has done, and is doing.
And no one is saying that they do change them. What they do is clear up confusion, inform and clarify our understanding of what the reality is, of what God has done, and is doing.

Quote
It is in that sense that I am dismissive of ecclesiastical rulings -- believing they can and do err (while they can and also do get it right), realizing that whatever they get right, or wrong for that matter, isn't the real barometer for truth -- rather it is what God has inspired, preserved, and affirmed by the Spirit's work in confirming the word.
But isn't it also true that Christians can and do err in interpreting or understanding Scripture in the same way. Sincere, intelligent, and devout Christians disagree on many interpretations of the same portions of Scripture, as we see on this forum. So how do you know? What makes anyone's understanding or interpretation of Scripture any "more correct" than any other?
So if I understand your and david's position, you believe that the Church got Scripture right (well, except for the books that you later on decided were wrong) but nothing else?
Or if you decide on a case-by-case basis, what is the criteria for deciding if the Councils got it right?

Btw, Holy Tradition cannot contradict or diverge from Holy Scripture because they are the same.

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« Reply #74 on: February 09, 2010, 10:35:19 AM »

the virtual Christian consensus

Isn't this an oxymoron? Would you mind defining what you think a "virutal Christian consensus" is?
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« Reply #75 on: February 09, 2010, 10:38:50 AM »



And you still haven't explained why you are not guilty of plagerism and copyright infringment.
Huh?  Huh

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In other words, the Ecumenical Councils.
I had no implication toward any ecumenical councils in mind, no. Rather I had gospel preaching, gospel experiences, and the virtual Christian consensus along with the blessing of the Spirit on the use of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.
That "virtual Christian consensus" that you speak of also confirms belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the importance of oral tradition, the need for Bishops, priests and deacons, a sacramental understanding of the Chirstian faith, baptismal regeneration, etc. etc. etc. Again, your thinking is inconsisetent.
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« Reply #76 on: February 09, 2010, 10:41:01 AM »

I wasn't saying councils aren't important or authoritative in every sense, nor that what they say can not be valid and true -- only that whatever councils say (be it ecumenical, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God, etc.), good or bad, right or wrong, doesn't change the reality of what is, of what God has done, and is doing.
And no one is saying that they do change them. What they do is clear up confusion, inform and clarify our understanding of what the reality is, of what God has done, and is doing.

Quote
It is in that sense that I am dismissive of ecclesiastical rulings -- believing they can and do err (while they can and also do get it right), realizing that whatever they get right, or wrong for that matter, isn't the real barometer for truth -- rather it is what God has inspired, preserved, and affirmed by the Spirit's work in confirming the word.
But isn't it also true that Christians can and do err in interpreting or understanding Scripture in the same way. Sincere, intelligent, and devout Christians disagree on many interpretations of the same portions of Scripture, as we see on this forum. So how do you know?

Because our Protestant friends say so, e.g., a one man ecumenical council.

What makes anyone's understanding or interpretation of Scripture any "more correct" than any other?
So if I understand your and david's position, you believe that the Church got Scripture right (well, except for the books that you later on decided were wrong) but nothing else?
Or if you decide on a case-by-case basis, what is the criteria for deciding if the Councils got it right?

Btw, Holy Tradition cannot contradict or diverge from Holy Scripture because they are the same.

If one can arbitrarily define Holy Scripture, one can also arbitrarily define Holy Tradition (the corollary is also true) - if such a thing exists in the understandings and/or "virtual Christian consensus" of our Protestant friends here.   Smiley
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« Reply #77 on: February 09, 2010, 10:46:01 AM »

You hit a string of nails on the head:

The Holy Spirit is the inspirer, let us say "author", of scripture in a special, unique way. He also indwells God's people. So one might say, God's people know the author, and thus recognise the authenticity of his books,
That is true. The people of God, that is, the Church, had to recognise what was inspired as Scripture. What I am asking is, how is this recognition itself recognised, and your answer seem to be consensus:

In view of the unanimity and universality of this recognition, I believe it is part of - some might say the entirety of - what our Lord promised when he said the Spirit would lead the church into all truth. Whatever else it may mean, if it does include more, I believe it means this. I am aware that there have been comparitively short-lived, localised questions about the extent of the canon - excluding this, including that - but the consensus is sufficient to be persuasive.
This still leaves three questions:

1) How is this consensus which decided the Canon of Scripture expressed? Is it simply the majority view of the Church? How does the Church voice its decision?

This is always the problem with non-Magisterial Protestants (i.e. other than Lutherans, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Calvinists, who have their own problems): they can never explain how they got their canon, it just is.  Well, no.  History shows that the canon never just was.  There were plenty of "other gospels" being preached.  Radical (Anabaptist etc.) Protestants reject the Protestant label, claiming that they did not take part in the Protestant Reformation.  Well, they weren't around for the foundation of the Church nor the canonization of Scripture: why not eschew the label "Christian?"  And out of this group came the Mormons: why reject Joe Smith's "gospel?"

Quote
2) What constitutes the boundaries of the Church whose opinion we should accept as Christian teaching?

Another problem the Radical Protestants, which they try to evade with the "Invisible church." But their "Invisible Church" was quite visible in the NT, which bears witness to that Church (i.e. us), and what they claim is the church is visible now: as Euan Cameron point out in "The European Reformation "Although the proportion of the European population rebelling against both Catholic and Protestant churches was tiny, the literature on the Radical Reformation is vast, partly as a result of the proliferation of the Radical Reformation teachings in the United States." In the United States, they are quite a political force.  Why have they been hiding for over a millenium?  What ever happened to not putting your light under bushel? Let that little light of mine, "I'm going to let it shine"?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnei94grw8k&feature=fvw
That city shinning on a hill?...no, if they haven't been shouting their opinion from the rooftops as the Orthodox (and indeed a myriad of heretics) have over the last two millenium, we should not take their teaching as Christ's.

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3) Did the Church exist in it's fullness in the centuries before the New Testament Canon was written and decided on? And which came first, the Church or the Scriptures of the New Testament? And which, therefore, is the higher authority- the Church or the Scriptures?

That of course is the problem of sola scriptura: the earliest scriptura (I Thessalonians) witness to an already existing Church (it is addressed to the "Church of the Thessalonians") preaching our Gospel (1:5) before any of the four were penned, having "received the [yet unwritten] word in much afflication" but "from [that Church] the [yet unwritten] word has sounded forth."  The second oldest writting (I Thessalonians) explicitely tells us (2:15) to "stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us [Apostles], whether by word, or by letter [i.e. only I Thessalonians]."  (said Epistle (3:6) also warns us to withdraw from those who do not live "according to the Tradition that they received from" the Apostles). And although St. Paul has criticisms of the Church at Corinth (from which he wrote Thessalonians) he also did have praise (11:2): "Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you."

The Protestants take the Bible formed neither by them or for them, and then decide to create a church from their understanding of it.  Scripture itself demonstrates that the Church of Christ did NOT (and does not) operate that way.  This isn't a chicken or an egg question: scripture bears witness to which came first.  The Church has (and if need be, could) existed without the scripture, but scripture has never (nor can it ever) existed without the Church.
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