Now that I'm back, more on the Canon!


#1

Well, I’ve posted a bit from the library, but now I finally have the Internet in my barracks room (don’t ask me how it all fits), so I can continue my research into the great mysteries of faith (and life, the universe, and everything, while we’re at it). I have been going to Mass at the post chapel, and I am thinking about driving into Savannah this Sunday to go to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (more to see what it’s like than to make it my weekly church). As my experience of all things Catholic has grown, however, I still feel a need to give the other side a fair hearing. After all, I grew up on the other side, and I don’t want to cross over until I’m sure I’m doing the right thing. As it is, I have one foot on each side of the fence, and it’s a rather awkward position in which to be.

Growing up Protestant, I always assumed Catholicism was wrong, and I didn’t need to read detailed Protestant apologetics to prove it to me. Now that my previous assumptions have basically proven to be false, I find myself seeking the counsel of those whose objection to Catholicism is based on study and not assumption.

In my search, I have come across the website of James White. I have browsed his site many times before, and I am sure most of you have heard of him. For those few of you who haven’t, he is a Protestant of the Calvinist persuasion, who runs a ministry which counters various cults and non-Christian religions. Among these false groups, he has included Catholicism.

One of his articles was a fictionalized account about a meeting between a Protestant couple considering Catholicism, a Protestant pastor, a recent convert to Catholicism, a rather unskilled Catholic apologist, and James White himself. In this article, the bumbling Catholic doesn’t stand a chance against James White’s knowledge and debating skills. In the end, the couple is saved from their almost disastrous decision, and the Catholics walk away in defeat.

Now, this sort of article is a convenient way to present a point of view, and I must be fair and say I have seen Catholics do it too. Simply have the protagonist be absolutely brilliant and have the antagonist be incompetent. Despite the annoying debating device, however, some of what he said intrigued me. He said that the Council of Trent officially declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon for the first time, and that all the previous councils (he mentions Carthage and Hippo) which had declared them as part of the canon were only provincial councils, and thus not binding. Is this true? This is quite important, because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of the Catholic Church to pronounce the canon, if, if in fact, some books were only officially added as a response to Protestantism, over a thousand years after the establishment of the rest of the canon.

Thanks for any information, and feel free to comment on the rest of the article. It’s good to be back! God bless!


#2

[quote=The Iambic Pen] He said that the Council of Trent officially declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon for the first time, and that all the previous councils (he mentions Carthage and Hippo) which had declared them as part of the canon were only provincial councils, and thus not binding. Is this true? This is quite important, because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of the Catholic Church to pronounce the canon, if, if in fact, some books were only officially added as a response to Protestantism, over a thousand years after the establishment of the rest of the canon.
[/quote]

If that were true, why do the Orthodox have those books too?

Also, those councils may have been provincial, but that canon was also ratified by Pope Damasus. :thumbsup: The Protestants use a canon developed by apostate Jews in order to weed out “false” Scriptures (ie the NT ones that were floating around at the time). In order to do this, they required the texts to be Hebrew (since the NT was in greek) and the greek DCs were cut out as a result. The Christians however continued to use the LXX canon containing the DCs. As I said before, how come the Orthodox have the DCs too if they were added later?


#3

Here’s a quick question for James White: what binding council does he have supporting his canon? what authority does he have for his canon? There are two choices: Martin Luther or the Council of Jamnia (the Christian persecuting Jewish council.) Hmmmm…


#4

Do you know who Paul Thigpen is?

He is in Savanah. He is a convert:
paulthigpen.com/paulthigpen/howibecamecatholic.html

He also goes to St. John the Baptist Church, and even gives a description:
paulthigpen.com/paulthigpen/mycitymychurch.html

Check out his site - perhaps he can be a good local contact for you?

hurst


#5

Here’s a quick question for James White: what binding council does he have supporting his canon? what authority does he have for his canon? There are two choices: Martin Luther or the Council of Jamnia (the Christian persecuting Jewish council.) Hmmmm…

Well, if I remember correctly, James White does not believe the Council of Jamnia was an actual council, but rather an informal gathering of sorts. I’m not exactly sure what the source of his canon is. I guess I’ll have to do some more browsing.

Good point about the Orthodox. I just finished reading Pope Benedict’s letter to Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Constantinople. Very inspiring.

God bless!


#6

“No, this article does not exploit a real situation just to make a point.”
-I am shocked that Mr. White won a debate that he made up, absolutely stunned :rolleyes:

“How many such situations end up in the happy restoration of such a couple? It is hard to say.”
-It is hard to say yet completely easy to make it up HAHA


#7

hurst:
Thanks for the info about Paul Thigpen! I remember reading his story in Surprised By Truth. Maybe I’ll see him in church!

GO SEAHAWKS!


#8

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Well, I’ve posted a bit from the library, but now I finally have the Internet in my barracks room (don’t ask me how it all fits), so I can continue my research into the great mysteries of faith (and life, the universe, and everything, while we’re at it). I have been going to Mass at the post chapel, and I am thinking about driving into Savannah this Sunday to go to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (more to see what it’s like than to make it my weekly church). As my experience of all things Catholic has grown, however, I still feel a need to give the other side a fair hearing. After all, I grew up on the other side, and I don’t want to cross over until I’m sure I’m doing the right thing. As it is, I have one foot on each side of the fence, and it’s a rather awkward position in which to be.

Growing up Protestant, I always assumed Catholicism was wrong, and I didn’t need to read detailed Protestant apologetics to prove it to me. Now that my previous assumptions have basically proven to be false, I find myself seeking the counsel of those whose objection to Catholicism is based on study and not assumption.

In my search, I have come across the website of James White. I have browsed his site many times before, and I am sure most of you have heard of him. For those few of you who haven’t, he is a Protestant of the Calvinist persuasion, who runs a ministry which counters various cults and non-Christian religions. Among these false groups, he has included Catholicism.

One of his articles was a fictionalized account about a meeting between a Protestant couple considering Catholicism, a Protestant pastor, a recent convert to Catholicism, a rather unskilled Catholic apologist, and James White himself. In this article, the bumbling Catholic doesn’t stand a chance against James White’s knowledge and debating skills. In the end, the couple is saved from their almost disastrous decision, and the Catholics walk away in defeat.

Now, this sort of article is a convenient way to present a point of view, and I must be fair and say I have seen Catholics do it too. Simply have the protagonist be absolutely brilliant and have the antagonist be incompetent. Despite the annoying debating device, however, some of what he said intrigued me. He said that the Council of Trent officially declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon for the first time, and that all the previous councils (he mentions Carthage and Hippo) which had declared them as part of the canon were only provincial councils, and thus not binding. Is this true? This is quite important, because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of the Catholic Church to pronounce the canon, if, if in fact, some books were only officially added as a response to Protestantism, over a thousand years after the establishment of the rest of the canon.

Thanks for any information, and feel free to comment on the rest of the article. It’s good to be back! God bless!
[/quote]

It is completely false. Lets examine the facts. At the council of Carthage they issued several anathemas of those who opposed the cannons. The very nature of an anathema is that it declares a person to be outside the church. The same happened at Hippo. The same happened at Rome. These bishops believed themselves to have authority.

Yes, it was provincial because it did not have all the bishops of the world but the statements of the council were binding on those in those areas. These councils also show the teaching of the Church at the time. This is three councils of bishops(over a hundred bishops) that declared them to be scripture.

Now, was Trent the first ecumenical council to declare the Deuterocanon to be scripture? No, that is false as well. The council of Florence declared them to be canonical in the 14th century. James White is wrong.

The councils of the early Church were binding. The eastern bishops did not participate in these councils, but strangly the eastern Christians still have the deuterocanon in their bible. That speaks of the authority of these books. The truth is that Christianity has always held these books to be scriptural. Augustine lists them as scripture. Ambrose quotes them as scripture(I specifically remember him quoting Wisdom several times). Thomas Aquinas quotes them as scripture in Summa Contra Gentiles(he is long before Trent and he is also before Florence. I specifically remember him quoting Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus).

The deuterocanonicals were always scripture in the Church. The councils attest to it.


#9

First, welcome back! I am very happy to hear you made it back safe and sound from Iraq.

He said that the Council of Trent officially declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon for the first time, and that all the previous councils (he mentions Carthage and Hippo) which had declared them as part of the canon were only provincial councils, and thus not binding. Is this true? This is quite important, because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of the Catholic Church to pronounce the canon, if, if in fact, some books were only officially added as a response to Protestantism, over a thousand years after the establishment of the rest of the canon.

”Officialy declared” are the key words here. The Church often exercises the office of the Magisterium to definitively bind the Church to a teaching only as counter-response to some serious error that is bringing confusion to the faithful (i.e. she “officially declares” in response to errors as they arise).

Who, besides Martin Luther, had “issues” with the canon? Martin Luther arrogantly granted to himself the authority to declare his own personal canon of scriptures, but where did he derive this authority, and where do Protestants derive their authority to asssert Luther’s canon is binding on all of Christendom? Why would any faithful Catholic feel obligated to accept Luther’s incredibly flaky opinions about such an important matter?

A Protestant that claims to believe in sola scriptura has his tail caught in the wringer of this issue, since he is really accepting a traditon of one man (Martin Luther) about what constitutes the canon, and he is NOT accepting the Bible as his sole authority.

The western Churches had been using the Latin Vulgate for many centuries when Martin Luther came on the scene. The Church did the right thing at the Council of Trent by solemnly defining the canon of scriptures once and for all, so as to end all debate on the matter. The Council of Trent didn’t add the Deuterocanonicals to the Latin Vulgate, the Council merely affirmed that the contents of the Latin Vulgate did not need revision just because Martin Luther said so.

Martin Luther on the inspired books of the Old Testament:

'We have no wish either to see or hear Moses.

Job . . . is merely the argument of a fable . . .

Ecclesiastes ought to have been more complete. There is too much incoherent matter in it . . . Solomon did not, therefore, write this book . . .

The book of Esther I toss into the Elbe. I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much and has in it a great deal of heathenish naughtiness . . .

The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible . . .’

Martin Luther on the inspiration of the New Testament:

‘St. John is the only sympathetic, the only true Gospel and should undoubtedly be preferred to the others. In like manner the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Paul are superior to the first three Gospels.’

**Martin Luther on the Epistle to the Hebrews: **

‘It need not surprise one to find here bits of wood, hay, and straw.’

Martin Luther on the Epistle of St. James:

‘an epistle of straw.’

‘I do not hold it to be his writing, and I cannot place it among the capital books.’

**Martin Luther on the Book of Revelation: **

‘There are many things objectionable in this book,’

‘I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is a sufficient reason for rejecting it’ . . .


#10

The Iambic Pen

Have you ever heard The Bible Answer Man debate between White and James Akin? Dr. White said a remarkably similar thing and James Akin, a former Calvinist himself, corrected him noting that the ecumenical Council of Florence endorsed the same 46 book OT canon used by Catholics today in back in 1441. Of course the Council of Florence predates the Reformation and the Council of Trent by a century disproving any notion that Trent included these books in 1546. It certainly seemed that Dr. White was caught flat-footed by this revelation.

Further, the Council of Florence was an attempt to close the ecumenical ranks with the East and not an effort to add anything that was not already there. When the East split with the West in the 11th century, the Eastern Orthodox OT contained the same 46 books ours did. Moreover, any argument alleging “inclusion of the deuterocanonicals” must at least go back to the Vulgate. The 4th century Vulgate was the first complete translation of the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT into Latin, the common tongue of the empire. And yes, it too included all 46 OT books found in Catholic Bibles today.

Bottom line: Any apologist that says that Trent added books in 1546 is wrong. Furthermore, I wonder if this story that Dr. White concocted was written before or after the Bible Answer Man debate? If before, then why has he made no attempt to correct the statement or refute this point which has not only been asserted by Akins, but has appeared in numerous Catholic books on the topic? If after, then why does he continue to ignore evidence that impeaches his testimony?

That said, I don’t wish to throw mud on Dr. White here. There has been too much of that on this board. While I do believe he is wrong on so very many points, I think that only proves he needs prayers as much or more than the rest of us. (I hope he would agree with that.) I have prayed for him in the past and I will do so in the future. I invite you to do the same. I will remember Dr. White by name in my prayers for the next seven nights, praying for him in particular but for all of us in general that seek the Truth; that we who search will find it in spite of our hardness of heart. I hope this is the goal of all. To the extent that it is, may God guide us all in our quest for Truth.

BTW, if you are looking for a good Protestant apologist to balance your study, consider R.C. Sproul. I have enjoyed everything of his I have ever read. I have not agreed with it all, but he’s balanced. Moreover, he’s not one of those apologists that tries to scream his arguements with exclamation points. (I think you know what I am talking about.)


#11

[quote=The Iambic Pen] He said that the Council of Trent officially declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon for the first time, and that all the previous councils (he mentions Carthage and Hippo) which had declared them as part of the canon were only provincial councils, and thus not binding. Is this true?
[/quote]

I’ve been wondering about this with regard to the New Testament.

If a Protestant says that the Catholic Church only declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon at Trent, when would he/she say the New Testament canon was declared final?

Was there anything more dogmatic when stating the canon than Carthage/Hippo etc before the Council of Trent?

If there was, what was it? And did it mention the Deuterocanon?

If there wasn’t, then why don’t Protestant apologists accuse the Catholic Church of adding in the New Testament at Trent as they do about the “Deuterocanonicals”?


#12

[quote=Matt16_18]Who, besides Martin Luther, had “issues” with the canon?
[/quote]

St. Jerome?


#13

[quote=The Iambic Pen] GO SEAHAWKS!
[/quote]

I apologize to go off topic here, but I must say this:

GO STEELERS!!!



#14

[quote=Mickey]I apologize to go off topic here, but I must say this:

GO STEELERS!!!


[/quote]

BOOOOO!!! BOOO THIS MAN!


#15

[quote=Roman_Catholic]BOOOOO!!! BOOO THIS MAN!
[/quote]

They’re going to crush the Seahawks like grapes!
smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/10/10_1_134.gif


#16

[quote=Timidity]St. Jerome?
[/quote]

But he still accpeted the authority of the Church on the matter and included the DCs.


#17

He said that the Council of Trent officially declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon for the first time, and that all the previous councils (he mentions Carthage and Hippo) which had declared them as part of the canon were only provincial councils, and thus not binding. Is this true?

Local synods are binding upon the jurisdiction of the synod. It was binding in many parts of the Catholic Chuch, but not universally until the Council of Florence (1438-1445), which made it binding for the entire Catholic Church.

Binding is not the same as definitive, however. Trent made it definitive (immutably, infallibly binding). Florence made it universally binding, but not strictly immutable. Prior synods made it locally binding, but not strictly universally nor immutably binding.

White holds a theory that other Protestant historians reject. For example, according to the Philip Schaff:

The council of Hippo in 393, and the third (according to another reckoning the sixth) council of Carthage in 397, under the influence of Augustine, who attended both, fixed the catholic canon of the Holy Scriptures, including the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, and Prohibited the reading of other books in the churches, excepting the Acts of the Martyrs on their memorial days…

This decision of the transmarine church however, was subject to ratification; and the concurrence of the Roman see it received when Innocent I. and Gelasius I. (a.d. 414) repeated the same index of biblical books.

This canon remained undisturbed till the sixteenth century, and was sanctioned by the council of Trent at its fourth session.

(Schaff, P., History of the Christian Church, Ch. IX, § 118. Sources of Theology – Scripture and Tradition.

The Protestant Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, (2nd ed., edited by F.L. Cross & E.A. Livingstone, Oxford Univ. Press, 1983, p.232) states:

A council probably held at Rome in 382 under St. Damasus gave a complete list of the canonical books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament … which is identical with the list given at Trent.

From Protestant historian JND Kelly:

[font=Arial]For the first hundred years, at least, of it’s history the Church’s Scriptures, in the precise sense of the word, consisted exclusively of the Old Testament. The books comprising what later become known as the New Testament were of course, already in existence; practically all of them had been written well before the first century ended, and they were familiar to and used by second century writers. They had not yet been elevated, however, to the special status of canonical Scriptures….

It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the … books of the Hebrew Bible of Palestinian Judaism.… It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocrypha, or deutero-canonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hand of Christians was … the Greek translation known as the Septuagint… most of the Scriptural quotations found in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew…

In the first two centuries at any rate the Church seems to have accepted all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture. Quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas, and from 2 (4) Esdras and Ecclessiasticus in the latter. Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is too frequent for detailed references to be necessary. Towards the close of the second century, when as a result of controversy with the Jews it became known that [the Jews] were united in repudiating the deutero-canonical books, hesitations began to creep in…

For the great majority, however, the deutero-canonical writings ranked as Scripture in the fullest sense… The same inclusive attitude … was authoritatively displayed at the Synods of Hippo and Carthage in 393 and 397 respectively, and also in the famous letter which Pope Innocent I dispatched to Exuperious, Bishop fo Toulouse, in 405.

Early Christian Doctrines, Harper Collins Revised Edition, San Francisco CA, 1978, 52-56]

[/font]


#18

[quote=jimmy]The councils of the early Church were binding. The eastern bishops did not participate in these councils, but strangly the eastern Christians still have the deuterocanon in their bible. That speaks of the authority of these books. The truth is that Christianity has always held these books to be scriptural. Augustine lists them as scripture. Ambrose quotes them as scripture(I specifically remember him quoting Wisdom several times). Thomas Aquinas quotes them as scripture in Summa Contra Gentiles(he is long before Trent and he is also before Florence. I specifically remember him quoting Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus).The deuterocanonicals were always scripture in the Church. The councils attest to it.
[/quote]

In fact the early Councils had the eastern bishops as the majority attendees. Those of Nicea and Constantinople gave us the creed as we know it today. Constantinople was attended by bishops from the East and one bishop and two priests from Rome. The results of the council were affirmed by the Pope shortly after it ended. It is interesting IMO that much of the doctrine we believe today originated in the east. :thumbsup:


#19

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Well, I’ve posted a bit from the library, but now I finally have the Internet in my barracks room (don’t ask me how it all fits), so I can continue my research into the great mysteries of faith (and life, the universe, and everything, while we’re at it). I have been going to Mass at the post chapel, and I am thinking about driving into Savannah this Sunday to go to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (more to see what it’s like than to make it my weekly church). As my experience of all things Catholic has grown, however, I still feel a need to give the other side a fair hearing. After all, I grew up on the other side, and I don’t want to cross over until I’m sure I’m doing the right thing. As it is, I have one foot on each side of the fence, and it’s a rather awkward position in which to be.

Growing up Protestant, I always assumed Catholicism was wrong, and I didn’t need to read detailed Protestant apologetics to prove it to me. Now that my previous assumptions have basically proven to be false, I find myself seeking the counsel of those whose objection to Catholicism is based on study and not assumption.

In my search, I have come across the website of James White. I have browsed his site many times before, and I am sure most of you have heard of him. For those few of you who haven’t, he is a Protestant of the Calvinist persuasion, who runs a ministry which counters various cults and non-Christian religions. Among these false groups, he has included Catholicism.

One of his articles was a fictionalized account about a meeting between a Protestant couple considering Catholicism, a Protestant pastor, a recent convert to Catholicism, a rather unskilled Catholic apologist, and James White himself. In this article, the bumbling Catholic doesn’t stand a chance against James White’s knowledge and debating skills. In the end, the couple is saved from their almost disastrous decision, and the Catholics walk away in defeat.

Now, this sort of article is a convenient way to present a point of view, and I must be fair and say I have seen Catholics do it too. Simply have the protagonist be absolutely brilliant and have the antagonist be incompetent. Despite the annoying debating device, however, some of what he said intrigued me. He said that the Council of Trent officially declared the Deuterocanonicals to be part of the canon for the first time, and that all the previous councils (he mentions Carthage and Hippo) which had declared them as part of the canon were only provincial councils, and thus not binding. Is this true? This is quite important, because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of the Catholic Church to pronounce the canon, if, if in fact, some books were only officially added as a response to Protestantism, over a thousand years after the establishment of the rest of the canon.

Thanks for any information, and feel free to comment on the rest of the article. It’s good to be back! God bless!
[/quote]

Edited uncharitable remark
The reality is that Scripture doesn’t define itself and we therefore MUST rely on an EXTERNAL AUTHORITY to validate what Scripture is. How else could the Gospel of Luke be included as inspired when he wasn’t even an apostle? Obviously someone made that decision. This makes Sola Scriptura untenable.
Im sure you will be inundated with the facts of history and how they support the Catholic claims.

But one last little thing you should know to put all his rhetoric into perspective:
James White’s SISTER is a convert TO the Catholic Church - and she is no dummy either. You can find her testimony here:
chnetwork.org/pattybondsconv.htm

Phil


#20

[quote=Genesis315]But he still accpeted the authority of the Church on the matter and included the DCs.
[/quote]

I was going to point that out, but how does that differ from Luther? He accepted the authority of others on the Epistle of James, for example.


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.