Does everyone accept the Catholic Church right to modify the bible?


Given the fact the Catholic Church compiled the bible around 300 AD and the problems the Bishops had in deciding which books were part of the canon and which were not, some parts of the Book of Revelation nearly never made it into the bible.

If new information came to light which contradicted or challenged, arguably it would be for the Catholic Church to decide whether to incorporate it into the New Testament.

How would non-Catholics react to this


Pax tecum!

Well, other books have been brought into question, but since they are apocryphal, have not been added. I don’t believe that a book could have been left out or wrongly added because then how would we know that we were right about any of them? The Holy Spirit wouldn’t have let that happen.

In Christ,


In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritvs Sancti.


But let us say a new letter of St Paul was found, surely it would be the responsibility of the Catholic Church [after seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit] to add it to the New Testament?


Contradicted or challenged what? Things already in the canon? It certainly wouldn’t make a bit of sense to add something to the canon that challenged or contradicted what is already there.

Authorship would probably be the most critical factor. What we have was written by people who knew Jesus and the Apostles intimately. One wouldn’t expect there to be found something that was also written by any of these people which contradicted or challenged what we already have.


Hypothethical questions usually do nothing more than get people all worked up over nothing. No new letter by Paul is ever going to be found. The canon of the Bible is set–the Church set it forever. There really is nothing to discuss here. It’s like asking if God can lift a rock too heavy for him. :yawn:


The arguments over authenticity would go on for centuries. I don’t think there is any possibility that such a question would be resolved before the Lord returns.


But if a new text came to light then it would be the sole jurisdiction of her who codified the original to decide whether to include.

Most Protestants whether they accept the Catholic Church or not, accept her codification. Seeings the Catholic Church is the SAME church as it was 1700 years ago, I merely ask would they accept her right to modify or re-codify.


Hypothethical questions usually do nothing more than get people all worked up over nothing. No new letter by Paul is ever going to be found.

The Church will never canonise any more saints. There will never be a technological successor to the motor car.

Less than 90-years ago, technologists said that transatlantic flights on a commercial basis from London to USA would NEVER happen as they were impossible!

When we predict what God will do next we will be certain of a BIG disappointment.:slight_smile:


Part of the answer probably depends on what you mean by “Protestant.” As a general rule, I don’t think any Christian, Catholic or otherwise, would accept such a new document, unless it got widespead circulation and was so obviously divine that there was a universal acclamation that it be canonized. You mention canonization of saints. You have to remember that these things flow up from the faithful, rather than being stuffed down the faithful’s throats by the bishops. Things are recognized as valid when there is universality and such popular acclaim that it cannot be ignored. God reveals Himself in the life of the Church, which isn’t just the bishops, or even mainly the bishops.


Never mind Protestants, it is my belief that most Catholics would prefer a new discovery which supported the canon to be hidden, as ‘change’ is challenging and too challenging for most. We are happy with what we know. Anything which threatens that, we prefer to ignore or wish it just went away.

But if such a letter was discovered, and its authenticity could be proven by comparison with the original texts, then arguably it would be the sole responsibility of the CC to decide whether to codify or ignore. This is of course purely hypothetical.

I am interested to know whether Protestants would accept her decision either way or if she decided not to, whether they would attempt at a re-codification.


I think there would be a council put together of all different denoms with the CC and they would research it together. I also think the Vatican would be OK with this.:thumbsup: Soryy I forgot Orthodox as well.

I would only accept it if that happened.:wink: What else would you expect a non-catholic christian to say:p


There has been an interesting trend among more main-line churches to look at some of the new discoveries. Not too many years ago the Jesus Seminar printed a book called “The Five Gospels”…it included the Gospel of Thomas…Eilene Pagels book “Beyond Belief” contrasts the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of John and makes a statement concerning the growing consensu among biblical scholars that they may have been contemporaries of one another.

The Society of Friends published their own Paul’s “Letter to Laodicia” a few decades ago…some felt it had as much authority as some of the “pastoral” letters such as 1 & 2 Timothy, since it was felt they really weren’t written by Paul…but perhaps a follower or contemporary in his name.

I personally enjoy the Gospel of Thomas…I use it at times in my devotions…I know not a popular stand here on this particular board, but I hear God’s Word speaking to me through it.


How is that any different from why you accept the Bible Canon that you do now?


It is interesting that a lot of the alleged non-canonical gospels are universally rejected by all denoms and not just the CC.

I think this Christian solidarity shows how close are our ties, not how loose are our divisions.

I agree with All for Him that His Holiness would call for a general council of all Church denoms leaders and a decision would undoubtedly reflect the views of all Christondom. The CC does after all speak of 'our seperated breathren and I think the emphasis is not on ‘seperated’ but ‘breathren’. :slight_smile:



You are mistaken that the church can revisit the canon. The canon is closed.

At the time the canon was formed, one of the main criteria (in addition to Apostolic origin) was that the book was read publically in the assembly-- ie., in the liturgy of the universal church. No book found today could meet that criteria. If it did, it would *already *be in the canon. Only books read in the assembly can be part of the canon. There are no “new” books to be discovered.

Trent reiterated what earlier Councils had defined. It is closed.


No, not really. It’s because the canon of scripture had been established already long before the Protestant revolt in the 16th century. Books that were already in the canon were fair game to be taken out or “questioned” by Luther, but it would have been MUCH harder for him to have inserted any books not already there! Protestantism does not generally add-on teachings to original Christianity so much as taking away from them.


Nope. I find it objectionable, and I’m Catholic.


The whole idea of such a thing is absolutely nonsensical. Besides, the apocrypha doesn’t belong with the rest of scripture because these books were not originally written in Hebrew. I can’t imagine anything newly founded to be treated in any other fashion.


Are you talking about the real “apocrypha” or are you referring to the deuterocanonicals?


Heck, who am I kidding? It’s pretty obvious you meant the deuterocanonicals. What a weak excuse… none of the books of the NT were originally written in Hebrew either, but I’m guessing you consider them inspired? How come?

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