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Thread: Calvin's 66 book Canon

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    Calvin's 66 book Canon

    In searching the records of Protestant history, I have come to the firm conclusion that CALVIN HIMSELF was the author of the 66 book high-canon accepted by Protestants and other 'independent' non-Catholics. I do not believe that anyone can dispute this fact. From the French Confession of Faith in A.D. 1559 (which was later plagiarized in the Irish Articles of 1615 and the Westminster Confession of 1646):

    We know these {66} books to be canonical, and the sure rule of our faith, not so much by the common accord and consent of the Church, as by the testimony and inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to distinguish them from other ecclesiastical books upon which, however useful, we can not found any articles of faith. We believe that the Word contained in these books has proceeded form God, and receives its authority from him alone, and not from men. And insamuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for our salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it, or to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but, on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them. And therefore we confess the three creeds, to wit: the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian, because they are in accordance with the Word of God.

    So to Calvin; every word enshrined in the books of Esther, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, and James are as sacred and certain as the person and work of Jesus Christ himself. The 3 creeds are exalted to the same level in all practical purpose. The basis: the HOLY SPIRIT told me so! And all of Protestantism follows him. I fully believe that what he formulated here was in vengeance against Luther's demand for an OBJECTIVE standard of canonicity. To defeat Luther, Calvin proposes a 100% SUBJECTIVE standard: the self-authentication of the Holy Spirit as experienced by HIM {Calvin}!

    As all of Protestantism follows Augustine and Plotinus on the origin of evil, so all of Protestantism (including all the free-will sects denying Catholicism who claim not to be Protestant) follows Calvin on the high-canon.

    I'm sorry, I can't drop this topic because it is so crucial to an examination of what our real basis is for determining and discovering truth!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Thank you brother Bob. I have been greatly helped by your teachings and your research on this vital issue, and have come into full agreement on how the canon should be determined.

    I believe our position on this topic is more hated than any other position of ours by those influenced and controlled by churchianity. Many protestants can and will tolerate differing positions on justification, baptism, and other ecclesiastical practices. But they won't tolerate any deviation from their understanding of canonization. The notion of questioning the canon is considered as sacrilegious, and most will not consider it because of the ramifications that it would bring. In other words, men are lacking courage to seek the truth even if it opposes all of what history, tradition, and their respected men believe and teach.

    Look at how most people who answered their questions in their profiles, and you will notice that many of those who believe James is canonical answered that 1) It should be canonical because it testifies of Christ and His work or 2) Because it's been accepted as truth throughout history.

    The problem with the first answer is it does not testify of Christ and His work. Hopefully in time, these people who answered accordingly will be brought to see that they are indeed holding to tradition because James clearly does not speak of Christ and His atoning work (the Gospel).

    Those that answered that James is canonical due to it being held in high esteem throughout the centuries are really taking the roman catholic position. They need a good smack upside the head so that they can see their error. Folks, be brave and examine the Scriptures for yourself instead of depending on someone else to determine canonicity for you! If you are a Gospel believer, remember that you are a PRIEST in God's Kingdom, and you have the authority to judge what is truthful by the Gospel which was handed to you through the Apostles.

    Personally, if men want to include James in their canon, that is fine by me. I won't object too loudly. However, they better not include it as proof for their arguments before me, because I won't consider it.
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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Higby
    I'm sorry, I can't drop this topic because it is so crucial to an examination of what our real basis is for determining and discovering truth!
    Please, don't drop even if you can! I believe I see a calling in your quest!

    I could ascribe Calvin's self appointing himself as the "determiner" of the Canon to a firm desire to maintain a certain sense of unity; but that, unfortunately is the excuse of many a denomination to impose themselves as not only the only one who can determine the truth but also to impose their truths upon everybody else.

    I said before and I will say it again; God's Sovereignty caused certain things to remain hdden through the ages; then He revealed His Gospel; the the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to reveal to us, or at least to expand to us, on the notion of God's Grace; now I believe God is inspiring some thinkers to review certain notions and, as a good and Supreme Manager, by them, to bring us even more closely to the purity of His revelation. The question is are we going to give the same credit as we gave Calvin, all these years, to the thinkers that God is raising to question lingering unquestioned notions? Well, before we go on defending Calvin against the new thinkers, I propose that we keep ourselves sensitive to the voice of the Spirit because this is always beneficial to us and it will be even more beneficial as we learn to discern that which man made into a Godly truth from what God's ONLY truth.

    Note that there were many critics of Calvin in his day. The same is true of Luther and others. Alas if we had shut them off, and if it would not be for God's providence that we would indeed give them credit!

    As God was Sovereign to execute His wil through Calvin, can we tell for sure that God is not doing the same now with those who sincerely want to find what He reveals as His word?

    At the risk of being told that I am saying that God "kept error" for so long only to honor Calvin, let me tell you that Jesus also did not reveal certain things to the Apostles that they could not endure at the time He was among them. It was not "error" that Jesus kept them under; it was the measure of truth that they could take that was Jesus strategy. Perhaps the doubters and critics will realize that certain things, even judging by the responses in the thread Multi Level Canon, that we were not and perhaps are not capable of withstanding us questioning Calvin, let alone James! Is this evidence that God is "right again" in keeping certain questions away from us for a while? Is now the time to have our eyes opened? I think it is.

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill

    I believe our position on this topic is more hated than any other position of ours by those influenced and controlled by churchianity. Many protestants can and will tolerate differing positions on justification, baptism, and other ecclesiastical practices. But they won't tolerate any deviation from their understanding of canonization.
    The notion of questioning the canon is considered as sacrilegious, and most will not consider it because of the ramifications that it would bring. In other words, men are lacking courage to seek the truth even if it opposes all of what history, tradition, and their respected men believe and teach.
    Perhaps it is because it completely mirrors the likes of John Shelby Spong and John Dominick Crossan. THese 2 liberals do the exact same thing. You can keep your jehu knife and do what you will. One thing I have learned in life is the more attention and discussion one gives to a false thought, the more credibility you give them.
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Well the POPE HAS SPOKEN! Thank you Joe!
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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by lionovjudah
    Perhaps it is because it completely mirrors the likes of John Shelby Spong and John Dominick Crossan. THese 2 liberals do the exact same thing.
    Fallacies in your arguments for the canon....

    Appeal to tradition - trying to get someone to accept something because it has been done or believed for a long time.
    1. Example: James has always been regarded as Canonical, therefore we should accept it.
    Appeal to the popular - the hearer is urged to accept a position because a majority of people hold to it.
    1. Example: The majority of people think James is Canonical. Therefore, James is part of the Canon.
    Genetic Fallacy - The attempt to endorse or disqualify a claim because of the origin or irrelevant history of the claim
    1. Example: Liberals cut stuff out of the Bible they don't like. Brandan is cutting James out of the Bible just like a liberal (which I guess makes him a liberal - another fallacy). Therefore James is Canonical!
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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Those that answered that James is canonical due to it being held in high esteem throughout the centuries are really taking the roman catholic position. They need a good smack upside the head so that they can see their error. Folks, be brave and examine the Scriptures for yourself instead of depending on someone else to determine canonicity for you! If you are a Gospel believer, remember that you are a PRIEST in God's Kingdom, and you have the authority to judge what is truthful by the Gospel which was handed to you through the Apostles
    Regarding the answers to your questions, I thought there should have been an opportunity to answer in this way:

    "The jury is still out"

    Basically because it is a big issue and has taken Bob many years to research and to come to his own conclusions, I haven't had that experience.

    This was the first time I had ever heard of this and so it takes time to come to some convictions.

    Just my humble opinion! Study, study, study!!

    Eileen~
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    What's funny is those "liberals" would kill to keep JAMES in the Canon. Yet I believe James is not canonical. I guess that makes me a liberal according to Joe!
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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen
    Regarding the answers to your questions, I thought there should have been an opportunity to answer in this way:

    "The jury is still out"

    Basically because it is a big issue and has taken Bob many years to research and to come to his own conclusions, I haven't had that experience.

    This was the first time I had ever heard of this and so it takes time to come to some convictions.

    Just my humble opinion! Study, study, study!!

    Eileen~
    Eileen, thanks for your comments! Agree STUDY STUDY STUDY!

    I want you to know that right now you stand outside of Churchianity as I firmly believe that modern day protestantism would burn you at the stake if possible. To answer "the Jury is still out" would mean that you are actually questioning the Canonicity of James! That is a mortal sin!!!!

    Eileen, I will add that answer so you can modify your profile. Thanks for the post.

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Thanks to all of you for your most pertinent obervations!

    I do not want to go back to making this a mere 'James' issue; that would be a mistake. I am actually trying to move away from a polemic related exclusively to certain books. My attempt here is to ACTUALLY move the discussion not to an argument over certain books but to a HERMENEUTIC for determining the high canon of scripture! So this thread is not about whether certain books are in or out, it is about the fundamental motif as to WHY certain books are in or out! Liberal skeptics will either accept or reject certain books (such as James) based on their own biases or presuppositions. In actual fact, they accept NO books as the infallible word of God entirely! We do not care about such arguments. We are interested in the basis of why we should or should not include certain writings based on a hermeneutic centered on the person and work and Jesus Christ! No well-published teacher of today 'conservative' or 'liberal' has the SLIGHTEST interest in such matters.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    What's funny is those "liberals" would kill to keep JAMES in the Canon. Yet I believe James is not canonical. I guess that makes me a liberal according to Joe!
    Darth, it is funny, if not tragic that some ot these liberals who'd kill to keep James in the Canon, would live and give a second life, dying to take everything else out of the Bible. To compare us to them is akin to a personal offense, that is, if the source would be one worth giving heed to...

    Our motivation to doubting James is because we strive to keep a Christocentric approach and a pure line of biblical revelation without disputes among those who recorded the revealtion through the ages. We indeed want the Word of God and nothing else!

    The liberals we could be compared to want nothing of the Word of God! I really resent any hint that my position in James resemble the position of the liberals!

    I would rather say that those who support James are, in fact, EQUAL to the liberals in that they seek to water down the Word of God , to a very stale and tasteless and useless broth by adding the need for works in justification.

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    I answered James has always been regarded as Canonical, therefore we should accept it, without knowledge of the RCC's take on it. Scripture states that God promised to preserve His word and it is hard for me to contemplate that God would allow so many of the historical elect to be 'deceived' regarding the contents of His Word for so many years. I am leery of 'throwing' out a book that many learned men have honored and cited. Are we not running the risk of adopting humanist attitudes when we begin to think that we are 'more knowledgeable' than the divines that God has gifted to the church through the ages? I am not as studied as most here, but when the foundation of our faith begins to be questioned, I get concerned about turning foundations into shifting sand.

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby
    My attempt here is to ACTUALLY move the discussion not to an argument over certain books but to a HERMENEUTIC for determining the high canon of scripture! So this thread is not about whether certain books are in or out, it is about the fundamental motif as to WHY certain books are in or out!
    Hi Bob,

    I am interesting in this topic, though probably have little to offer. Over the past year the Lord has graciously led me to the knowledge that truth is only available via propositional revelation, and that by the Holy Spirit through Scripture (Scripturalism). The first principle that the Bible is the inspired Word of God requires that the term "the Bible" be defined. I have accepted the first principle, but apparently with some ignorance as I have yet to define this term sufficiently.

    In order to remain a first principle, the terms must be self-justified. This seems to create quite a problem for "the Bible", but not for "God". I am convinced that the answer to the question of the canon must come from the canon, though this seems less than logical.

    One might claim that the Holy Spirit will lead us to the true canon by direct revelation, yet this same canon tells us to "test the spirits to see whether they are from God", and the Word of God is that measure. Another problem it seems, as we cannot verify the leading of the Spirit by the object to which we are led.

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    I spent 15 years of my Christian life afraid to step out of a box and ask a question. With all humility and awe I don't believe that God is displeased with any who ask hard questions and look further than the norm or tradition!

    I look forward to further study and some solid teaching on the hermeneutics that you use Bob in defining the canon.

    Eileen~
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    I am not as studied as most here, but when the foundation of our faith begins to be questioned, I get concerned about turning foundations into shifting sand
    Hello Brother!

    Would you explain to me why (consider it, please, an honest question) to question the book of James a "questioning of the foundations of our faith"?
    Please, include in your explanation what faith foundation the book of James proposes. Would you?

    I explain:

    Show me where James speaks of the doctrine of the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Death and Resurrection of Christ, His Divinity and where it speaks of eschatological foundation or anything that you deem to be foundational in our faith.

    The answer to the above is REALLY what we question when we dispute James' canonicity. In fact, some of us believe that even if we would remove James from the Bible, none of the accepted foundations of our faith would be affected. We are not saying that this is the meter by which we measure or determine whether a book is canonical or not, but since you mentioned what I quote above, I decided to ask of you these questions.

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Look at how most people who answered their questions in their profiles, and you will notice that many of those who believe James is canonical answered that 1) It should be canonical because it testifies of Christ and His work or 2) Because it's been accepted as truth throughout history.

    The problem with the first answer is it does not testify of Christ and His work. Hopefully in time, these people who answered accordingly will be brought to see that they are indeed holding to tradition because James clearly does not speak of Christ and His atoning work (the Gospel).
    (Brandan Kraft)


    According to this criterion of Brandan Kraft (et.al.) also other writings of the New Testament will not, in the name of consistency, pass the test of canonicalness, because they neither explicitly testify of "Christ and His atoning work". Such as along with James do not explicitly testify of "Christ and His atoning work" are e.g. Paul's epistle to Philemon, the 2nd epistle of John the apostle, the 3rd epistle of John the apostle, and the epistle of Judas. In fact I spoke respecting this arbitrary criterion in the Canon thread, in post #273, and I think nobody of the multi-level people bothered to answer my words:

    >> The book contains no clear teaching on the person and work of Jesus Christ or the way of salvation in him. Yet it is five chapters long. (R R Higby)

    This is no valid criterion for excluding from the canon. If following this criterion also Judas epistle would be excluded, because it does not have explicit teaching on e.g.

    1. Christ's blood
    2. Christ's substitutionary death on the tree
    3. Christ resurrection from among dead ones
    4. a heavenly hope
    5. Christ's impeccable humanity
    6. Christ's sitting as permanently risen and enthroned Lord on high at His Father's right hand
    7. Christ's being the Son of God
    8. Christ as the one Mediator between God and men<<<


    These above points are all explicit points of doctrine belonging to the Pauline good message as found in his epistles, which message you apparently acknowledge to be "THE gospel" for today.

    In light of this I ask Brandan and those with him, When will you say "We will not allow Philemon, 2John, 3John, and Judas, as canonical because they contain no clear teaching on the person and atoning work of Jesus Christ" ? Would it not be a proper time right now for you to be consistent and in this thread also declare these writings non-canonical? Because according to this your above criterion neither do these pass your test of canonicalness. If you dis-allow James' epistle you will in consistency's name have to do the same with these others. Or else change your criterion for determining canonicalness. And in light of your above criterion, and in light of the Pauline gospel, How many OT books will be unmercifully dis-allowed from your canon if you would be consistent? It seems at least one of you is already dis-allowing Esther, Koheleth, and the Song of Solomon. Be consistent and apply your criterion to every OT book and see how many books you will have remaning after such a procedure. With this in mind I just took a quick look at Numbers, written by Moses, and according to your criterion of canonicalness Numbers is out. No blood of Christ, no death of Christ, no burial of Christ, no impeccability of Christ, nothing about Christ as Son of God, no resurrection of Christ, no heaven mentioned, no heavenly hope, nothing about Christ's third-heavenly enthronement as Lord and Head over one body, nothing about Christ's being the only mediator between God and men. So, Numbers is not according with (nor measuring up to) the Pauline gospel, which gospel you apparently use as "the gospel" when it comes to your standard (clear teaching on the person and atoning work of Christ) of determining canonicalness.

    (I have partly spoken as a fool because the situation demands it)

    Now, in light of the above impossibility of accepting your proposed criterion for determining canonicalness as valid I would propose another one as more viable. Not that there is really any necessity to propose any criterion. So, a wise criterion would rather be to ask:

    Does this writing contain teaching(s) which
    a) bear error-free witness concerning the particular good message (in its entirety, or partially) pertaining to that one or those to whom the writing was originally addressed
    and/or
    b) bear error-free witness concerning the excellency and pertinency of the particular household law of that one or those to whom the writing was originally addressed ?

    If some one says this criterion of mine is arbitrary I can say the same applies to that of others. But at least my proposed criterion is closer to what Paul says in 2Tim. 3:16-17. By "my" criterion Numbers will stay in the canon. So will James, Philemon, Judas, 2John, 3John, etc. But if "my" criterion is applied to commonly rejected writings like the epistle of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians it will not let such a writing pass through. It is not error-free. The same applies to Barnabas' epistle, and to others. And "my" criterion rests on the given foundation that the Hebrew canon, the OT, has already been authenticated by Christ Himself in the gospel accounts, so there is no need whatsoever to take any issue with that canon.
    When it comes to James' epistle there is nothing in there which conflicts with Israel's household law or good message. It is in complete harmony with Christ's sayings in the gospel accounts and with e.g. the Torah. It does not have to be in 100 per cent agreement with the totality of what Paul sets forth in his epistles, because Paul primarily addressed saints of the Body of the Christ, which organism has another household law and good message, viz. the Pauline ditos. James on the other hand wrote his epistle to the circumcision, not to the Body of the Christ, the uncircumcision. I am pretty convinced by now that James wrote his epistle in 62 or 63 AD, or about the time John wrote his first epistle. Partly to combat the newly risen gnôsis/antinomian faction among the Jewish believers, which faction Peter in 2Peter prophecied about. "The gnôsis/knowledge" faction arose to prominence within Body circles, about 60 AD. A little later it began infecting circumcision circles.

    Harald

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    [Milt] Would you explain to me why (consider it, please, an honest question) to question the book of James a "questioning of the foundations of our faith"?

    As others, I adhere to the principle that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is the foundation of a proper world-view. The Bible has been historically defined and used by the faithful for centuries --ostensibly in complete trust and assurance that it is the Word of God. I don't believe any question shakes the foundations; however, the answers one arrives at or promotes might (maybe my initial comment could have been worded better--sorry). To contemplate that God would allow His church to wallow in error in regards to inspired writings does shake the foundations of sola scriptura does it not?

    [Milt] Please, include in your explanation what faith foundation the book of James proposes. Would you?

    This is more a question of content versus canonicity and seems to imply that inspiration relies upon content. I am not sure I subscribe to this implication (I have not studied the current thoughts and conclusions in these areas). However, James does promote a definition of 'saving faith.' I do believe that some have used James to justify looking at oneself and one's 'apparent good works' for evidence of one's salvation instead of looking solely at Christ, however believers are admonished to examine themselves and James does assist believers in this regard.

    [Milt]In fact, some of us believe that even if we would remove James from the Bible, none of the accepted foundations of our faith would be affected.

    This may very well be true. However, regardless of the content of any book, I think the issue is one of God's faithfulness to believers in keeping His word--or am I too uninformed on this topic to be making any sense in relation to a pertinant discussion of the issues?

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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by rlhuckle
    This is more a question of content versus canonicity and seems to imply that inspiration relies upon content.
    Well, why do you reject the Apocrypha? It has been accepted for centuries. Yet the reformers rejected it due to its content. Why were the reformers free to reject the apocrypha due to its content, but others since the reformers are not free to reject other books due to content?
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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Quote Originally Posted by melted
    I am interesting in this topic, though probably have little to offer. Over the past year the Lord has graciously led me to the knowledge that truth is only available via propositional revelation, and that by the Holy Spirit through Scripture (Scripturalism). The first principle that the Bible is the inspired Word of God requires that the term "the Bible" be defined. I have accepted the first principle, but apparently with some ignorance as I have yet to define this term sufficiently.

    In order to remain a first principle, the terms must be self-justified. This seems to create quite a problem for "the Bible", but not for "God". I am convinced that the answer to the question of the canon must come from the canon, though this seems less than logical.

    One might claim that the Holy Spirit will lead us to the true canon by direct revelation, yet this same canon tells us to "test the spirits to see whether they are from God", and the Word of God is that measure. Another problem it seems, as we cannot verify the leading of the Spirit by the object to which we are led.
    I agree with Scripturalism. The problem with how most understand Scripturalism is they don't actually abide by their principles! This is my main problem with Robbins and Co. (I was a member of the scripturalist list for a year or so, so I know how these people think)

    What we are proposing is that all of Scripture is judged by the standard of the Gospel. That's all. Nothing more, nothing less. How do we come to a knowledge of the Gospel? Well obviously it is propositional truth communicated through words (either spoken or written). Where did we hear the Gospel? From the Bible.

    But there have been many who have never read the Bible, yet they have come to a knowledge of the Gospel through the influence of the Holy Spirit. This is how we all come to a knowledge of the Gospel - by the Holy Spirit. We read of Lydia in Acts - no bible in front of her:



    Acts 16:14, (KJV), And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

    We read of Peter and the Gentiles:

    Acts 10:34-45, (KJV), Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (35) But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (36) The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all (37) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; (38) How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (39) And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: (40) Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; (41) Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. (42) And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. (43) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (44) While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (45) And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Here the Gospel was preached, and while it was being preached the Holy Spirit opened the minds of those attending. There was no mention of a canon by the way.

    When the elect hear the truth of the GOSPEL they will believe it. The Holy Spirit will assure this! At that point in time, all the elect have a base from which to judge all things - yes even the writings of men (such as James). The core canon are the Gospels of Christ and Pauls Epistles and all other books which directly speak of the Gospel. From there we can judge other books to see if they are canonical - to see if they are in line with the core Gospel canon. If they are, we accept and embrace them.

    This notion of accepting books just because it's been accepted for centuries is ridiculous because there is no objective base. There is no objective standard for determining if a book should be canonical because many books for example have been accepted by certain groups and rejected by others. Do we simply accept a teaching as inerrant because someone else says so? Of course not! But we do with our Bible. For centuries, men have said that THESE BOOKS are the word of God and nothing else, and if you don't accept our understanding of the canon - anathema on you!

    Unfortunately this is the position of John Robbins. He does not use the Scripture to prove his position. Instead he points to the WCF and tradition. He has taken a position of popery. And in his popish responses, he condemns all of us who would dare to judge James by the core Gospel canon. Harald and Joe have both taken this same position. They cannot stand someone questioning their authority. That is why they fight against and condemn our position of a Gospel-centric hermeneutic.
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    Re: Calvin's 66 book Canon

    Hi Brandan,

    I agree with Scripturalism. The problem with how most understand Scripturalism is they don't actually abide by their principles!

    Scripturalism seems to require a slight departure from itself. As I posted previously, the terms of a first premise must be defined, and in the case of Scripturalism, this does not seem the case (if we assume that "the Bible is the Word of God" is the first principle of Scripturalism). I agree that it is fallacious to teach that Truth is only available by propositional revelation and then appeal to tradition or history to provide the definition of Scripture. Such an appeal does not adhere to the previously stated first principle.


    But there have been many who have never read the Bible, yet they have come to a knowledge of the Gospel through the influence of the Holy Spirit. This is how we all come to a knowledge of the Gospel - by the Holy Spirit.

    I also am of the mind that the Word of God is not held in ink blots or audio vibrations, but the essential component is the Holy Spirit and His sovereign will to reveal truth to an individual.


    Have you defined a first principle, Brandan? I suppose it would be something along the lines of "the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is true". The inspiration of Scripture could then be checked against this premise. The contents of the Gospel as directly revealed from the Holy Spirit are the measure of Scripture? Then objective truth (Word/Scripture) is defined subjectively (revelation). One could argue from both Gospel-centric and historicist hermeneutics that the "objective base" is the pen of God, while the measure is subjective (historicism is subjective and claims of revelation are subjective).

    I will mention in passing that I am yet unconvinced concerning James, but have little desire to pursue that specific case without having an established first principle from which to judge James. Though, I certainly agree that if literature claims inspiration but contradicts other inspired Scripture, one of them must give so that the law of [non]contradiction is preserved (which we would all agree is of the utmost importance). I'm just not convinced that James contradicts any other inspired author (but we should shelve that discussion for now).


    I have some questions I will throw out there:

    Is all Truth inspired?
    If I write Truth, is it inspired?
    Does inspiration transfer from one pen to another? ie: If I write "Jesus is Lord", we all know that to be Truth; does that mean that it is also inspired?
    Is this merely reproduction of inspired Truth?


    Also, some verses to ponder:

    John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me

    Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.


    I find these passages to be interesting, especially the verse from the new covenant. They seem to lend credibility to the idea that the believer (and his revealed knowledge of God) are subjective measures of Truth.

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