Catholics and the Canon of the New Testament


#1

Dear Apologist Friends - Comment on the following so as to help devlop this argument against a Protestant [and help fend off possible objections raised in the course of a debate]:

“How can a Protestant accept the New Testament, as established by the Catholic Church [300+ years after Christ’s death], according to the traditions of the Church, and yet reject the Church itself?” Especially given that Protestants believe that the only source of revelation is scripture, and not tradition - and yet it was tradition that provided the authority to define the NT Canon and in fact, there’s nothing in scripture to say what should and shouldn’t have been included."


#2

The question, “Why do you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God?” has always been tricky for protestants to answer (apart from Church authority).

See the library for a number of tracts that explore this apologetical approach.


#3

The response I’ve had to that very question is “Because the Holy Spirit tells me so.” I don’t know what to say to that. I’ve also had the general response: well, God made sure it happened right with scripture, because it had to be that way, otherwise, the Church has no special authority.


#4

I have read the thread you linked to at xanga, and this is an interesting thread.

I would point out to them a couple of things, if the Holy Spirit guides you then you must be 100% correct in what you believe. Then is everyone who disagrees with your exact theology wrong? What about the Pentacostal who believes that they are 100% correct in belief, or the Unitarian who believes that?

off topic a little bit,
They are also confusing a uniform, correct set of beliefs(Jesus’s Church) with a sinlessness. If sinlessness was a criteria for a Church being the one true Church then Jesus’s Church failed while He was still alive, since Judas obviously sinned, heck even our first Pope said he didn’t know Jesus 3 times.
This is an evasion of truth if someone tries and bring up sins Catholics do or have done. I would state that both Catholics and Protestants killed each other and that has never been a doctrine of the Church. Then challenge them to provide proof of it being a doctrine from a Catholic site if they contest.
Back on topic.

Make sure they provide proof or links that are secular and make sure you do too. Remember truth is on your side.

Use this website for reference to early canons if you like, it is not catholic and they can check into that to make sure you are telling the truth.
ccel.org/fathers2/
Just click on the htm links to read or reference early christian writings and canons

In Christ
Scylla


#5

Which link is it you are referring to??? Thx!


#6

[quote=GordonBOPS]The response I’ve had to that very question is “Because the Holy Spirit tells me so.” I don’t know what to say to that. I’ve also had the general response: well, God made sure it happened right with scripture, because it had to be that way, otherwise, the Church has no special authority.
[/quote]

This is the same argument the LDS use to “prove” the inspiration of the Book of Mormon. Assuming your friend is not Mormon, you might want to point this out.

Also, you can ask them if they have read all ancient literature. Did they read the Didache to see if the Holy Spirit would tell them if it was inspired or not? What about the Gospel of Thomas? The Shepherd of Hermas? Clement I & II? etc. etc. You can further this by asking them about the OT books - Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, etc. are pretty dull and most would agree they are hard to find inspirational.

Finally, ask them how come the Holy Spirit is guiding different people to regard different books as canonical. Is the Holy Spirit guiding people into contrary positions? Pretty soon, the Protestant is either force to concede that they must rely on the Catholic Church’s decision, or they must claim that they have explicity authority by God (that no one else has) to decide the matter for themselves. That 2nd one is usually a pretty hard sell.


#7

[quote=GordonBOPS]well, God made sure it happened right with scripture, because it had to be that way,
[/quote]

Okay, so our benevolent God would never deceive us by allowing such a visible sign of faith and revelation to be false. Why not the Church? Isn’t the Church every bit as visible as the Bible. Imagine if every Christians were Catholic, not THAT would make a visible Church.


#8

[quote=GordonBOPS]The response I’ve had to that very question is “Because the Holy Spirit tells me so.” I don’t know what to say to that. I’ve also had the general response: well, God made sure it happened right with scripture, because it had to be that way, otherwise, the Church has no special authority.
[/quote]

My response would be, "The Bible is more than just a book. It is understanding of the Bible that is the key. And that is why we need tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.

"Truth is unity – there can be only one Truth. For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has taught a single, coherent message. In less that a quarter of that time, Protestantism has spilt, fragmented, broken up, and re-fragmented into tens of thousands of churches.

“It may be that the Holy Spirit is guiding you – but what about those other hundreds of millions of Protestants who don’t agree with your interpretation?”


#9

[quote=GordonBOPS]The response I’ve had to that very question is “Because the Holy Spirit tells me so.” I don’t know what to say to that.
[/quote]

Yeah, that answer is maddening. I wonder what the response would be if you said the Holy Spirit told you the Deuterocanonicals were also scripture. Then you could at least get right into the situation where two people claim two different revelations by the Holy Spirit.

Beyond that, if the Holy Spirit was guiding everybody, why did multiple early Church councils come up with a list of the canon? Why would these councils pronounce on something that the Holy Spirit was taking care of in each and every believer?


closed #10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.