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June 14, 2016

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God's providence and control over all things provided the "Majority Text" and the compiling of Scripture in that form today.

My response would be that nearly everything in this statement is factually incorrect and/or misleading. This challenge is just incredibly stupid (honestly). The number of books in the Bible has pretty much officially always been the same since the council of Nicea in the 4th century (and before that, there was basically unofficial acceptance of most of the books). Over the years, the Catholic church has added some of the apocalyptic books, such as Maccabees, but does not consider them authoritative. Maybe that is what this post references. Also, Martin Luther would not include James in his bible. As far as the Bible changing until the printing press, this is complete and utter nonsense. It's true that scribes would hand copy manuscripts before that period, so that mistakes crept into the copy. However, nowadays we cross reference thousands of manuscripts that date all the way back to as early as the first century and have used them to reconstruct an original text (from the Greek). It's not that there was only one linear copy that made it all the way to the printing press. Furthermore, before those days, the copies were not changed that much anyways, unless an error seeped into the copy. Most of those errors were just punctuation. The errors that crept into manuscripts also were not significant enough to change the basic message of the Bible, so even if that were true that the text changed, it renders this challenge meaningless. Nowadays we have mapped almost any changes to the text by looking at literally thousands of old manuscripts.

As a Christian, I don't worship the scriptures. I worship the God who inspired the scriptures. I worship the God revealed in the Bible. I do not worship the Bible.

I am interested to know what he means by "the scriptures left out"? Does he mean The Shepherd of Hermas, a devotional book on many early church leaders' required reading lists the way Pilgrim's Progress used to be or C.S. Lewis is today? Does he mean the gnostic false gospels like the Gospel of Thomas that were generally recognized as false and never considered scripture by the Church? Does he mean books like Hebrews which certain churches debated about including in the canon because of its unknown authorship (but many churches did accept and use).

The history of the development of the canon of scripture is well known. Even a glance at wikipedia's article on the subject one can see this. The four gospels, Acts, and the letters of Paul have been acknowledged by the church as scriptural (even Peter refers to Paul's letters as "scripture" - see 2Peter 3:16) since the earliest times of the church's history. Only Hebrews, James, 3rd John, Jude, and Revelation have ever really been controversial (3rd John and Jude both being less than a page of text). And none of these books ended up being "left out".

The only book "left out" was the Shepherd of Hermas I mentioned above. It was considered "inspired" and inspiring (the way many today consider My Utmost for His Highest the devotional book by Oswald Chambers) and many of the Early Church Fathers considered it required reading, but it was not considered "scripture" due to the fact that it was never connected with any of the apostles.

The fact that it took the Church time to fully recognize the unique inspiration of the 27 New Testament books does not mean they aren't scripture. The church didn't bother with officially declaring the Gospels something unique and special until heretics like Marcion showed up and began picking and choosing sections of scripture to reinforce their erroneous theological claims. In other words the process of the Church recognizing the inspiration of the scripture was not as much a process of leaving thing out. It was more a process of including the parts people wanted to leave out (like Luther did with James).

Oh my. This challenger doesn't really have all the facts straight. I'd start with some education if the challenger is truly interested in arguing factually. The nice thing is how many of the ancient texts can be found freely online these days, so we have all the evidence at our fingertips.

I agree with JBerr.

Also, Christians don't worship the Bible.

I agree with the general gist of the posts already made, with these clarifications:

1. >> since the council of Nicaea in the 4th century ... Let's drop this thought. The canon of the NT were affirmed in the Synods of Rome (382 A.D.) and Carthage (397 A.D.) The Letter of Athanasius in 367 demonstrated the eastern church accepted the present collection of twenty-seven. The Council of Nicaea of 325 dealt with the consubstantial nature of Christ to the Father and the false teachings of Arius. The council of Nicaea line is used by conspiracy theorists who love to point out (erroneously) that Constantine heavily influenced Christian affairs at this time.
2. >> Martin Luther would not include James in his bible ... But he did, with reservations. He accepted the canonicity of the book, but was bothered by two issues a. the overt work-righteousness the epistle seemed to foster. and b. the apostolic identity of James. Luther discounted James son of Zebedee as the author due to his early execution by Herod Agrippa, and the apostolic status of James, brother of Jesus. But in the end, the epistle Jacobi appears in my Luther Bibel, with the acknowledgement of the "right strawy epistle."

3. >> As a Christian, I don't worship the scriptures. I worship the God who inspired the scriptures. I worship the God revealed in the Bible. I do not worship the Bible.

As true as this statement is, it leads to some confusion. I don't worship the Bible vs. I revere the Bible. Our positions on the authority of Scriptures, the issues of inspiration, clarity, and relevance of Scriptures has to ascend above comments that limit the Bible as a gathering of ink on paper.

But, with this ... JBerr and Liljenborg, well said.

Thought two, a bit more tongue in cheek:
Why do atheists worship the Theory of Evolution and not all the other theories of origins like Lamark or Wallace? Naturalistic theories of origins were proposed long before Darwin (even Charles's grandfather Erasmus Darwin had one). And others, like Gould's Punctuated Equilibrium, have been proposed since. Entire theories have been rejected and whole generations of atheists have gone to their graves convinced of the theory they held dear only for others to revise it or discard it later. So much of it seems cultural rather than scientific. Back in the day it was all about the survival of the fittest and the emergence of "favored races" back when England and Germany were fighting over which was the more evolved, and therefore superior, culture with the right and duty to rule over everyone else. Nowadays in our multiculturalism infatuated academy evolution is about creating "biodiversity".

Why, we don't even accept Darwinian Evolution as Darwin wrote it in 1859. The theory is still not, to this day, consistently accepted without all sorts of modifications, provisos, and qualifiers. And it is still going through revisions and corrections to explain new data, newly discovered organisms or biochemical interactions that don't fit into the theory.

The way atheists talk about it, the fact that the theory itself has had to evolve (because it was wrong or, at least, woefully incomplete, and had to be corrected) is a feature not a defect. Yet the idea that humanity's understanding of an incomprehensibly infinite, transcendent, holy being has grown and deepened over humanity's history is trotted out by these sorts of objectors as proof that the whole theism thing is poppycock that should have been abandoned centuries ago.

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