I'm not sure whether this is the right forum, as even though I'm discussing this with Protestants on a Christian apologetics group, I'm only playing "Orthodox's Advocate." Please give suggestions on how to proceed and/or more information on why the deuterocanon is canonical. I'm not that good at debating! TT__TT
Well, Mackenzie wants me to ask you guys what you know about how canonical the deuterocanonical texts ("Apocrypha") are. First, I had better tell you what I know.
1. The deuterocanonical texts were part of the Jewish canon in the Apostolic times. It was included in the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint (LXX), the primary Old Testament during Jesus’ day, the Apostolic era, and the early Church. Accordingly, many of the quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament are from the deuterocanons.
For example: In Matthew 22:23-28, the Sadducees tried to mock the resurrection of the body and the larger Old Testament that other Jews recognized. (Remember, the Sadducees only recognized the five books of Moses). So they used the story in Tobit about a woman being married seven times to mock the truthfulness of the resurrection and the larger Old Testament, which included the Apocrypha.
This is how Jesus answered the Sadducees: “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
2 Corinthians 9:7: Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Sirach 35:11: With every gift show a cheerful face and dedicate your tithe with gladness.
Proverbs 22:8a (Septuagint only): God blesses a cheerful man and a giver …
2. The Apocrypha was removed from the King James Bible in 1885 by the Scottish Presbyterians as well as the English and American descendants of the puritans, perhaps because it would be cheaper to print. Martin Luther also included the deuterocanonical texts in his Bible (admittedly, as a text secondary to the Protestant Bible, but sacred text nonetheless)
3. The Dead Sea Scrolls include several of these books (full and partial, IIRC) in Hebrew/Aramaic. These scrolls pre-date the Septuagint, and often favor the Septuagint's rendering of the text, rather than the later Masoretic (Protestant)Text.
4. The later reformers looked to see what the Jews were doing with the Old Testament Scriptures in their time and began utilizing the Masoretic Text, assuming the Jews maintained the earlier translations and canon. This is even though, as has already been pointed out, the earlier Reformers still utilized the Apocrypha in some way.
5. The early church fathers, those who were taught by the Apostles themselves and/or lived when the Apostles lived, referenced the deuterocanons in their writings. For example, quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas. Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache cites Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon [i.e., the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel], and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is extremely frequent.
6. The canon that was implicitly affirmed at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, II Nicaea (787), included the ceuterocanons. This affirmed the results of the 419 Council of Carthage, and did not just represent the views of only one person, but what was accepted by the Church leaders of whole regions.