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Thread: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

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    Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    ~JM~ recently posted on his blog, and since it's been a while since we've gone here, I thought I would kick up the dust:



    Quote Originally Posted by ~JM~
    Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?
    Posted 12-01-2009 at 09:21 PM
    Updated 12-01-2009 at 10:40 PM by ~JM~


    Not a huge fan of Doug Wilson's soteriology but I think he makes a valid point,

    "This witness is not offered by the Church as “something to think about” or as a mere “suggestion.” The testimony of the Church on this point is submissive to Scripture, but authoritative for the saints. For example, if an elder in a Christian church took it upon himself to add a book to the canon of Scripture, or sought to take away a book, the duty of his church would be to try him for heresy and remove him immediately. This disciplinary action is authoritative, taken in defense of an authoritative canonical settlement. This does not mean the Church is defending the Word of God; the Church is defending her witness to the Word. As the necessity of discipline makes plain, this witness is dogmatic and authoritative. It is not open for discussion. God does not intend for us to debate the canon of Scripture afresh every generation. We have already given our testimony; our duty now is to remain faithful to it. "

    Are we assuming a secular, unbelieving epistemology if we retreat from the Roman Magisterium only to accept another?

    Dr. Daniel Wallace is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and is considered an expert on ancient / Biblical Greek and New Testament criticism. Without putting forth the idea of New Testament eclecticism I’d like to post a quote from one of his recent blog posts about the the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature :

    As remarkable as it may sound, most biblical scholars are not Christians. I don’t know the exact numbers, but my guess is that between 60% and 80% of the members of SBL do not believe that Jesus’ death paid for our sins, or that he was bodily raised from the dead.
    Of course my contention would be that most of the people throughout the ages who have been so kind as to dictate to the "church" what the canon is, were unregenerate apostate individuals.

    This brings up these interesting questions:


    • Why do any accept their decisions about what is canon?
    • Why do you accept as canon the 66 books?
    • Have you ever considered how involved you are in determining the canon?
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Dr. Wallace: It is not open for discussion. God does not intend for us to debate the canon of Scripture afresh every generation. We have already given our testimony; our duty now is to remain faithful to it.

    What this scholar is really saying is that God gave John Calvin the infallible authority to determine the canon fully and finally, just as He gave the prophets and apostles the authority to write infallible scripture!

    I am still waiting for anyone to produce the 66-book canon list from history prior to Calvin's French Confession. Not that it is impossible, however, if such a list does exist I believe it would still be post-Regensburg--when the Protestants officially bowed to the Catholics in accepting the infallibility of the compilation named 'James'.

    Calvin, of course, was inconsistent with his own confession since he relegated 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation to an antilegomena status and also denied the apostolic authorship of other books such as 2 Peter.

    As far as which manuscript fully constitutes the scriptures, NONE. These are all copies handed down from the originals. We trust that God preserves the infallible scriptures in the copying process. Yet we also must discern the scriptures from the standpoint of a gospel (Christocentric) hermeneutic, which is what the direct Holy Spirit people deny. Their teaching regarding scripture (strictly 'the Holy Spirit told me') is the same as that of those who believe in direct revelation today.
    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: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    ~JM~ recently posted on his blog, and since it's been a while since we've gone here, I thought I would kick up the dust:



    Of course my contention would be that most of the people throughout the ages who have been so kind as to dictate to the "church" what the canon is, were unregenerate apostate individuals.

    This brings up these interesting questions:


    • Why do any accept their decisions about what is canon?
    • Why do you accept as canon the 66 books?
    • Have you ever considered how involved you are in determining the canon?
    The official Church leaders (whoever they may be) have not contacted me, as of yet, to get my input on what books should or should not be in the canon, nor have I been contacted to get my input on what texts should be used for translation.
    Rom 8:18-21, (NASB), For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvinator View Post
    The official Church leaders (whoever they may be) have not contacted me, as of yet, to get my input on what books should or should not be in the canon, nor have I been contacted to get my input on what texts should be used for translation.
    Yeah, what gives Calvinator?

    Kind of stuck up of them, don'tcha think?
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    Yeah, what gives Calvinator?

    Kind of stuck up of them, don'tcha think?
    Well, I guess people like us, who will question Church tradition, are a threat and heretics to them. When one thinks that his tradition is God's truth, when it's not, then those that question that tradition become heretics in their eyes. Questioning Church tradition is not a denial of the one and true Gospel of Christ. Whatever that tradition may be, if it's not based on Scripture.

    If one truley wants the truth, no matter what that truth may be, then one must take the red pill. It is God that gives that ability to take the red pill, but God does not do that for everyone, so most are content in taking the blue pill and being left in their virtual reality.

    The things that the world holds in high esteem, the Lord hates. The Lord uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. By the world standards King David was the least likely to be chosen by God to be King. Well, we know how that turned out. Maybe we are the debased fools of the world. That's ok with me. I don't want any part of this world. I am not worthy of God's salvation nor of knowing Him, but I do. For it must have seemed good in His sight. And so it is with all of us.


    For understanding of the meaning of the red and blue pill, watch the Matrix.
    Rom 8:18-21, (NASB), For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    I'm gonna facebook this. I forgot how creepy it is.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    In my opinion, we must first await on those (reformed or others) who accept the 66 book canon, for their reasoning, basis, and hermenuetic as to why they exempt the the apochryphal books contained in the 73 book canon of the Papacy. It is not that I accept the Apochryphal books, but rather seek their method of dismissing them.

    When they or others give their explanation, than I will proceed in comment.

    Nicholas
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand..........John 10:27,28

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Nicholas: In my opinion, we must first await on those (reformed or others) who accept the 66 book canon, for their reasoning, basis, and hermenuetic as to why they exempt the the apochryphal books contained in the 73 book canon of the Papacy.

    Strangely enough, even the demon-possessed Papacy had always recognized the legitimacy of the homologoumena/antilegomena distinction prior to the Diet of Regensburg. This distinction was taught to Luther in seminary and he never thought to question it. Since the RCC did not view certain 'books' as 100% infallible scripture, it was a no-brainer to affirm the apocryphal works as 'beneficial for public reading and teaching' and partially containing inspired scripture (the logical equivalent of what the NT antilegomena had been affirmed to be historically).

    It was at Regensburg that the RCC adopted James as homologoumena and brow-beat the Protestants into doing likewise. Never underestimate the power of a 'come to Satan' meeting! We see these constantly in churchianity and human goverment.
    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: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    ...For example, if an elder in a Christian church took it upon himself to add a book to the canon of Scripture, or sought to take away a book, the duty of his church would be to try him for heresy and remove him immediately. This disciplinary action is authoritative, taken in defense of an authoritative canonical settlement. This does not mean the Church is defending the Word of God; the Church is defending her witness to the Word. As the necessity of discipline makes plain, this witness is dogmatic and authoritative. It is not open for discussion. God does not intend for us to debate the canon of Scripture afresh every generation. We have already given our testimony; our duty now is to remain faithful to it. "
    Well, well...

    One may be excommunicated from "church" but not from the Kingdom! After all, why would any organization defend its witness to a book about something that the VERY BOOK whose witness they fight to defend, does not teach or prescribe ANYWHERE the excommunication of those who DENY the strictly belief in the 66 Canon?

    Also, if I may push the issue, I am certain that God has preserved His Holy Word in what we have today and call Bible, but, having said that, can the author of the quote above show me in the VERY BOOK he proposes us to defend, a citation that states "dogmatically and authoritatively" that God does not intend that we should debate the canon?

    I continue to push even farther and heavier: where does it say in the book the author of this quote so ferociously seek to defend that says that it is our duty to remain faithful to it? Was that not already attempted before? Was not such attempt called Inquisition?

    In all, dear saints, I do not reject fellowship with those who insist in the 66 books canon nor do I avoid the communion of those who consider James as homolegumena, but, when they have a problem with my position and seek to stray from my hands of fellowship, I ask them: Where in the book you defend is stated above and beyond shadow of doubt that I have to believe the 66 books in order to be saved? The can only answer: in our confessions... Then, upon this answer, I stick my tongue between my lips as far out as I can, Then I press the upper lip and the lower lip against it and, with my lungs filled with air and using my mouth, I try to blow through it provoking a noise similar to one that comes forth from another part of my body every now and then.

    I am very comfortable with my position; I have settled it with God. As the "Mythbusters" on TV I did all I could and exerted the best effort possible, giving the best chance I could to accept James as homolegumena, but I just could not. I had to say: Myth busted.

    Not very theological, but you already know my opinion.

    Milt
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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    Nicholas: In my opinion, we must first await on those (reformed or others) who accept the 66 book canon, for their reasoning, basis, and hermenuetic as to why they exempt the the apochryphal books contained in the 73 book canon of the Papacy.

    Strangely enough, even the demon-possessed Papacy had always recognized the legitimacy of the homologoumena/antilegomena distinction prior to the Diet of Regensburg. This distinction was taught to Luther in seminary and he never thought to question it. Since the RCC did not view certain 'books' as 100% infallible scripture, it was a no-brainer to affirm the apocryphal works as 'beneficial for public reading and teaching' and partially containing inspired scripture (the logical equivalent of what the NT antilegomena had been affirmed to be historically).

    It was at Regensburg that the RCC adopted James as homologoumena and brow-beat the Protestants into doing likewise. Never underestimate the power of a 'come to Satan' meeting! We see these constantly in churchianity and human goverment.
    Yes I agree with your assessment Robert. However what I seek is to why the Protestants reject the apochraphal books of the RCC. I am not looking for answers such as "the church says this " or "the church says that" or "it is our tradition" or "the council of divines voted on this" or "this is homologoumena/antilegomena". But rather a rejection that is based on the content and teaching that lies within the texts themselves that would be against sound doctrine.

    No reformed person as of yet on this forum or outside of this forum over the past years has attempted to answer my inquiry.

    Nicholas
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand..........John 10:27,28

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    They can only answer: in our confessions... Then, upon this answer, I stick my tongue between my lips as far out as I can, Then I press the upper lip and the lower lip against it and, with my lungs filled with air and using my mouth, I try to blow through it provoking a noise similar to one that comes forth from another part of my body every now and then.
    This is my signature.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill View Post
    My feeling exactly!

    I REALLY believe that God never gave anyone a scientific proof of any manuscript because he did not want us to "worship" any particular author or book above our devotion to Him. We have enough in the Bible to devote our lives entirely to Him already and there is nothing lacking. We don't even need James for that, if I may insist on the issue. We have to apply faith and believe the WITNESS of the Holy Spirit. Now, THAT IS IN THE BOOK!

    There is a group of people who are devoted to their prophet and to their book and see what's being done in the world in the name of that devotion!
    Do I have to mention who they are? This is not a straw man argument if you compare it with the reasoning of those who make the statements that gave origin to this thread, the quote by Doug Wilson. Sometimes I wondered if some have not drifted to "bibliolatry". I wonder if they would kill someone and decree a FATWA for those who discard of a paper copy of the Bible... These "bibliolaters" may not decree a physical FATWA, but they do decree a MORAL FATWA every day to people who dispute their claims; they murder their opponents MORALLY all the time.

    DEVOTION TO GOD is also to study the word and RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD OF TRUTH so as to find what is really that which God wanted to reveal to us and nothing else. When I see a text that defies that which I think the portion that God wanted to reveal to us, which is what I call CHRISTOCENTRIC hermeneutics, not only I desire to ignore it, but also, because of my DEVOTION TO GOD and HIS CHRIST, I have the DUTY to abandon it. That's REAL devotion!

    God gave us enough revelation to fully and undoubtedly understand, believe and receive our Salvation and totally depend on the Work and the Person of Christ. We should glorify Him for that and enjoy such a revelation every second of our lives!

    Milt
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint Nicholas View Post
    Yes I agree with your assessment Robert. However what I seek is to why the Protestants reject the apochraphal books of the RCC. I am not looking for answers such as "the church says this " or "the church says that" or "it is our tradition" or "the council of divines voted on this" or "this is homologoumena/antilegomena". But rather a rejection that is based on the content and teaching that lies within the texts themselves that would be against sound doctrine.

    No reformed person as of yet on this forum or outside of this forum over the past years has attempted to answer my inquiry.

    Nicholas
    Caro Fratello Nicola, at least give me credit for virtually calling one of these books a "myth"... a myth I busted... check my previous, previous post...

    Milt
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    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Nicholas,

    The reason I believe the Protestants reject the apocrypha is precisely because they came to regard the 66 books as all homologoumena and rejected the position that an antilegomena exists. So: no apocrypha!

    As for me, the apocrypha in the Bible does not make me any more nervous than James, 3 John, and Esther do. There are also manuscript variants, other Psalms, etc. involved and none of it bothers me at all. The scriptures are something that we discern in the Holy Spirit based on the gospel (plan of salvation) that establishes them. If a Bible contains other writings/texts that some have proposed to be scripture but are disputed, no problem. All of God's gifts (including His revelatory Word) come to us in jars of clay. We know that in the events of our personal lives--the Lord's plan virtually never works out without aberrations that are hard to make sense of in our limited wisdom.

    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: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Hey, I didn't know it turned into a thread! Nicel. It's interesting...no one knows what mss constitute scripture. Each one has his/her tradition.

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    JM: No one knows what mss constitute scripture.

    This is certainly true in the sense that no one can point to a single Greek/Hebrew collection of books in one manuscript tradition that is THE revealed Word of God in its entirety.

    However, scripture is indeed discerned by the plumb line of the gospel of Christ and all things associated with it that God gave by revelation/inspiration. We find this in the manuscripts and translations that we have.

    Certain fundamentalists will view this as the same doctrine as the skeptics who proclaim that the Bible CONTAINS the Word of God. Not so. Skeptics do not believe that the Lord gave infallible scripture by revelation at all. Though none of us can lay a finger on precisely EVERY scripture verse that God has given and its exact perfect translation, we discern fully a body of authoritative and infallible scripture that is all-sufficient for knowledge of the 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: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    JM: No one knows what mss constitute scripture.

    This is certainly true in the sense that no one can point to a single Greek/Hebrew collection of books in one manuscript tradition that is THE revealed Word of God in its entirety.
    "What this scholar is really saying..." Ok. How did you come to this conclusion? On what basis is your knowledge of this topic any different then anyone elses?

    However, scripture is indeed discerned by the plumb line of the gospel of Christ and all things associated with it that God gave by revelation/inspiration. We find this in the manuscripts and translations that we have.
    So we find some scripture but not all scripture?

    Certain fundamentalists will view this as the same doctrine as the skeptics who proclaim that the Bible CONTAINS the Word of God. Not so. Skeptics do not believe that the Lord gave infallible scripture by revelation at all. Though none of us can lay a finger on precisely EVERY scripture verse that God has given and its exact perfect translation, we discern fully a body of authoritative and infallible scripture that is all-sufficient for knowledge of the truth.
    How is that different from Barth's view? Didn't Barth believe the word of God became the word of God when the Holy Spirit made it so? How is your view that much different?

    Thank you.

    jm

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    Re: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    J.M.: How did you come to this conclusion? On what basis is your knowledge of this topic any different then anyone elses?

    My knowledge of this topic is not different from anyone elses. I am simply putting together the historical evidence in a manner that I am convicted is more consistent with the truth.

    The majority of scholars who believe in the doctrine of an inerrant 66 books (and that THESE ONLY constitute scripture) apply that inerrant status only to the ORIGINAL manuscripts written by the ORIGINAL authors. An assumption is generally made that each of the books was written by one and only one author, though an exception is made for certain OT works (Psalms, Chronicles, the account of Moses death, etc.). But if one accepts the notion that we do not have the unaltered originals, one accepts the notion that we do not have ALL of unaltered scripture. Regardless of various interpretations on the canon, interpolation, or anything related to how we got our current Bible.

    I realize that some preserve the legend of an absolutely unchanged manuscript tradition and arbitrarily tell us which ones comprise this (the TR, etc.). The belief is that God could not POSSIBLY have allowed even one verse of scripture to be dropped, inserted between, or altered (even a number 10000 changed to 1000 by dropping a zero). Persons who teach this cannot stand ANY possible need to DISCERN the accuracy of individual scripture. The assumption is that the written Word of a certain Bible is equal in authority to Jesus Christ himself, the eternal Deity.

    So we find some scripture but not all scripture?

    Yes. No one can possibly be absolutely certain that he/she possesses every last scripture verse that God inspired in all of history and that none other can possibly exist or have ever existed. But we can certainly be sure that we have been given a homologoumena of authoritative scripture that teaches all truth necessary to our present and eternal welfare.

    How is that different from Barth's view? Didn't Barth believe the word of God became the word of God when the Holy Spirit made it so? How is your view that much different?

    Infinitely different.

    Barth: Scripture contains the Word of God.
    Me: All true scripture IS the Word of God.

    Barth: Scripture becomes the Word of God only when the H.S. makes it so to each individual (and some may be scripture for some and not others in this regard!).
    Me: All true scripture IS the Word of God simply because it is God who revealed, inspired, and gave it.

    Barth: The homologoumena is full of errors in actual teaching.
    Me: The homologoumena contains no erroneous teaching.
    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: Which manuscripts constitute the scriptures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    My knowledge of this topic is not different from anyone elses. I am simply putting together the historical evidence in a manner that I am convicted is more consistent with the truth.
    Does that mean you are now the scholar? I could be wrong but it seems your view is naturalistic as opposed to theological.

    Mr. Higby, do you mean you choose a rule to define the canon based on evidential probabilities and generalizations, made from the extant mss we now have, based on some method of your choosing? What method is used to determine what is, might be or is not scripture?

    Yes. No one can possibly be absolutely certain that he/she possesses every last scripture verse that God inspired in all of history and that none other can possibly exist or have ever existed.
    Are you absolutely sure?

    But we can certainly be sure that we have been given a homologoumena of authoritative scripture that teaches all truth necessary to our present and eternal welfare.
    How can you be sure?

    Infinitely different.

    Barth: Scripture contains the Word of God.
    Me: All true scripture IS the Word of God.

    Barth: Scripture becomes the Word of God only when the H.S. makes it so to each individual (and some may be scripture for some and not others in this regard!).
    Me: All true scripture IS the Word of God simply because it is God who revealed, inspired, and gave it.

    Barth: The homologoumena is full of errors in actual teaching.
    Me: The homologoumena contains no erroneous teaching.
    Ok, thanks for clearing that up.

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