The CC "got it right" on the NT canon? How do you know?

So on another thread a coyly non-Catholic poster acknowledged that he believes that the CC correctly discerned the 27 book canon of the NT.

I asked how he knows that this is correct.

Awaiting an answer.

Also interested in your thoughts. :slight_smile:

The reality is, without accepting this oral “sacred tradition” (of the 27 NT canon), Sola Scriptura would be not be workable in practice, and Protestantism would have nothing from which to draw doctrine. It was this fact, that the entire doctrine of Sola Scripture is dependent upon Oral Sacred Tradition, that brought me to the Catholic Church.

Like I said before as long as this is a form of knowledge the way that this word is commonly used and not in the epistemological sense; sure I know that the CC is correct in their discernment of the NT canon. I think it is more proper to say that I believe “…”. If I were pressed hard on the subject I would probably say that I pragmatically assume or I accept as an axiom the theopneustos nature of the NT. It’s been a while since I read “accent of mount carmel” so I am not as bothered by saying I think it has been revealed to me in the specific cases we talked about long ago.

As far as I can tell the only premise that you use in the reasons why you know/believe that the NT is theopneustos that I do not is that Tradition says it is. This is obviously an abridgment of your belief, but it still works, I think. This addition can only strengthen your argument if you or they prove their divine authority. Tradition or CC or Magisterium must be able to prove divine authority not just give strong arguments for or claim it. Without divine authority you are just another group using a fallacious premise under the guise of holding truth.

The problem is that other than through revelation I have no idea how I can know/believe that the CC has divine authority. The CC’s claim is that they actually hold the truth. My claim is that I think I hold the truth or possibly I hold the truth that applies to me. The latter obviously does not apply to this situation but I added it for the sake of being more generally right.

This is true. I would elaborate a bit, by pointing out the “third leg” of the tripod - Scripture, Tradition, and the Living Magisterium. Some Protestants are now more explicitly accepting “Tradition” in addition to Scripture, and accept the role of the ancient Magisterium in identifying the NT canon.

I would add the Living Magisterium not only identified the canon of Scripture, but also the “canon” of Sacred Tradition - that this 1% of Christian traditions are reliable, and those 99% of Christian traditions are not necessarily false, but reliable to the extent of being Sacred Tradition. The Magisterium identified this scholar as “Early Church Father” and that scholar as “heretic”. But one could easily have reversed those identifications - indeed, many of the mainstream denominations are in effect doing that right now.

Just as the Living Magisterium has the job of defending Tradition even now, so also it will likely be needed to defend the NT canon soon. Most Protestants have thought the NT canon was something to take for granted, would never be challenged. A few very liberal Protestant groups are now promoting a NT canon with additional “Scriptures” inserted right alongside the “tradtional” 27. The argument is “we aren’t bound by the Magisterium in other things, why should we feel bound by their NT canon?” In the near future Protestants will have to choose between either aligning with an authoritative Magisterium or else allowing “local option” or “individual option” with multiple different NT canons in use within Protestantism.

Well, then you are a believer in Sacred Tradition, and NOT an advocate of Sola Scriptura, since you defer to the authority of the CC, and NOT to Scripture in the case of the NT canon.

I would hope that in the future you would be a apologist for Sacred Tradition, at least, as it applies to the Bible’s table of contents.

Protestants “know” the same way Catholics “know” the canon is correct through faith which is a gift. Sure they have to give at minimum tacit acknowledgement of the authority of the ancient CC but that in no way changes their norm of norm status given to the Scriptures. The Scriptures keep all Christians in check doctrinally (even though doctrines go beyond the Scripture to one extent or another) including the Pope!! As Catholics we agree with the Pope where the Pope agrees with Scripture, If the Pope were to go against Scripture we would go against the Pope… In that sense Catholics and Protestants are on the same page (no pun intended).

the difference is you accept ecclesial deism it sounds like where you and not the CC ultimately decides the meaning of those 27 NT texts… the truth claims re the CC salad bar style. You like the canon or you “believe” as i do the canon is correct but other issues maybe not…Revelation includes what??? Not just the Scriptures right?? How bout the Jewish nation, Christ and his Church??

Lest I sound like a Protestant, let me clarify that if a Pope went against Scripture we would have to reject that side with Scripture as interpreted and taught by the Church’s Tradition.

What it means, when they give the acknowledgement of the authority of the “ancient CC”, is that they are NOT Sola Scriptura.They also give their authority to Sacred Tradition.

And it also means that they believe in the charism of infallibility. (At least as far as the canon of the NT is concerned).

For unless they believe that the Holy Spirit was NOT involved in the “ancient CC’s” discernment process of the NT, and unless they believe the “ancient CC” erred, then the only conclusion is that they believe in the charism of infallibility.

I have a copy of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. They claim the “major works” of the New Testament were immediately considered authentic by the early church fathers. (They neglect, however, to define “major works.”) They cite Polycarp and Irenaeus, yet also neglect to mention they were Catholics who upheld Catholic doctrine.

They do mention the New Testament was officially recognized by the Council of Hippo in 393. They neglect to mention that this was a Catholic Council composed of Catholic bishops. They also neglect to mention anything else the council confirmed, like the Old Testament canon Catholics still use today. Since they researched the council, they must have known this, yet they purposely do not inform their readers of this fact.

Strange how they’re so eager to take a New Testament canon recognized by a council of Catholic bishops yet reject the Old Testament canon recognized by the same council.

For any of us to be able to answer this in details we’d need to know what the possible alternatives were. We’d also need, ideally, a transcript of the entire proceedings of those councils which discussed the canonicity of Scripture.

At one stage for example the “Shepherd of Hermas” was considered as a potential contender for canonisation, while Revelation was controversial (and still is in some ways).

The real answer for most of us is that the Bible just is. It’s been around now for 1600 years or so in its present form, and we accept it as such.

But only because the Holy Spirit is at work in us. An atheist can look at the same book, and see a bunch of fairy tales, or just a collection of ancient Semitic folklore, complete with barbaric acts in the Old Testament, typical of the times (and probably not much different from ISIS in outlook today). You’ve only got to read the episode in Maccabees about the family of sons who had their arms and legs chopped off to realise we haven’t changed much.

2 Maccabees, chapter 7

Martyrdom of a Mother and Her Seven Sons.

1It also happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.a 2One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said: “What do you expect to learn by questioning us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”

3At that the king, in a fury, gave orders to have pans and caldrons heated. 4These were quickly heated, and he gave the order to cut out the tongue of the one who had spoken for the others, to scalp him and cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of his brothers and his mother looked on. 5When he was completely maimed but still breathing, the king ordered them to carry him to the fire and fry him. As a cloud of smoke spread from the pan, the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly, with these words: 6“The Lord God is looking on and truly has compassion on us, as Moses declared in his song, when he openly bore witness, saying, ‘And God will have compassion on his servants.’”b

7After the first brother had died in this manner, they brought the second to be made sport of. After tearing off the skin and hair of his head, they asked him, “Will you eat the pork rather than have your body tortured limb by limb?” 8Answering in the language of his ancestors, he said, “Never!” So he in turn suffered the same tortures as the first. 9With his last breath he said: “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up* to live again forever, because we are dying for his laws.”c

10After him the third suffered their cruel sport. He put forth his tongue at once when told to do so, and bravely stretched out his hands, 11as he spoke these noble words: “It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disregard them; from him I hope to receive them again.” 12Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man’s spirit, because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.

… etc. etc.

As an aside Antiochus would have found much in common with ISIS. And I think they’ll share his eternal fate.

Have a Pope gone against Scripture? I know you said ‘if’, but your statement gives an impression that there were indeed Popes who had done that.

Why is that relevant?

At any rate, my understanding is that there were over 400 ancient Christian texts which were considered.

Here’s a list of some of them: earlychristianwritings.com/

We’d also need, ideally, a transcript of the entire proceedings of those councils which discussed the canonicity of Scripture.

In order to determine…what?

At one stage for example the “Shepherd of Hermas” was considered as a potential contender for canonisation, while Revelation was controversial (and still is in some ways).

And no one here considers the Shepherd of Hermas theopneustos.

Why is that?

Answer: because they defer to the authority of the CC on this.

The real answer for most of us is that the Bible just is.

Annnnd that is no answer at all.

Most mainline protestant denominations have no problem with the agreed upon canon of scripture, save for the apocryphal books. There has been sufficient study by enough biblical scholars to settle that debate. Now if you want to fight over King James vs Douay-Rheims, that is another story.
Seriously, as a cradle southern baptist convert to Catholicism, i see both sides of the issue of one true church, or many autonomous chuches. For cradle Catholics it will be very difficult to fully understand the mindset of most protestant believers. But no one is seriously challenging the authenticity of sacred scripture. For many southern baptists the early church went off the rails during Constantine’s reign. If you read many southern baptist blogs, you will see many references to the early church fathers and St. Augustine. And the didache is discussed and accepted. When i was young we would often recite the nicene creed, complete with the word catholic in it! Of couse, it was understood as universal. That was what started my teenage mind thinking about the Catholic Church.

A study of the NT canon, reveals the Catholic Church applied a canonization (measuring standard) that proved the authenticity of NT bible books.

The unknown fact or reason the CC canonized the bible books was strictly for her Liturgical Mass, where Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium present themselves as the bulwark of Truth in the presence of TRUTH = God’s presence. A sola scriptura by itself fails tremendously here.

My understanding of the canonization of the NT had to meet a scrutiny by our Bishop’s and Popes that I don’t think any other writings in the world past, present or future could reach or meet the measuring standard (canon) by which the Catholic Church used to canonize the NT.

For one standard a book had to prove it was written and or handed down orally by an original apostle.

Secondly a living witness such as a bishop had to prove an apostolic successor or Catholic Saint proved that the bible book had to be already in practice and used in their liturgy since apostolic times.

It was the Catholic Liturgy that was used as one of the measuring standards to prove the authenticity of a NT bible letter, whether it was an original or a copy of an original.

The CC also found many of the same NT letters copied in different languages being used in the celebration of Mass by different (language and culture) apostolic successor’s liturgy handed down to them from an original apostle.

Sola scriptura by itself loses it’s authenticity without sacred Tradition (Mass) and the Magisterium which are all living and breathing witnesses to the authenticity of the NT bible books.

I liked reading the comments in this thread, on all sides. One point I fail to understand is the idea I have put in bold, that “Tradition or CC or Magisterium must be able to prove divine authority . . .”

My two comments on that are: Why must that be “proven”?
and
Too many people think of “prove” as “absolutely prove” - something like “I can not know God exists unless I am God.” We can all think of instances in which someone is given sufficient proof for an event or object, right in front of them, and they deny the reality of it. “Proof” becomes a sort of red herring or impossible demand for such people. In that case, the word “evidence” is more neutral and less given to misunderstanding. There is evidence in Tradition, in the Church, and in the Magisterium, for divine authority. There may also be evidence against the claim of divine authority, but there is surely evidence for divine authority. As to whether that is sufficient to “prove” the point, that is left to the individual, whose judgment will always be colored by his education, experience, mentality, intuition, open-mindedness, honesty, good will, and prejudices.

The original question the OP asked was how the non-Catholic “knew” the NT canon was correct.

There’s a difference between “knowing” and “being told”. I’ve “been told” the canon is correct, and so have you.

To “know” involves a certain amount of research on our part.

For example, I’ve been told that E=mc^2, according to Einstein. That means that since a megaton explosion requires the loss of only about 46.5 grams of matter, the laptop I’m typing this on has enough condensed energy for a pretty big bomb. I’ve “been told” that, but I don’t “know” it, as it is outside my experience.

For that matter, the Orthodox Bible has a few books in it (albeit OT books) that our Catholic Bible doesn’t have. How do they “know” all their books are inspired?

And the reality is that they’ve “been told” they are, just like we are.

You might “know” the NT is absolutely inspired, but I don’t. I’ve merely been “told”.

=PRmerger;13097482]What it means, when they give the acknowledgement of the authority of the “ancient CC”, is that they are NOT Sola Scriptura.They also give their authority to Sacred Tradition.

Why, PR? Why is acknowledging the work of the Church contrary to sola scriptura, or more precisely, scripture itself?

And it also means that they believe in the charism of infallibility. (At least as far as the canon of the NT is concerned).

For unless they believe that the Holy Spirit was NOT involved in the “ancient CC’s” discernment process of the NT, and unless they believe the “ancient CC” erred, then the only conclusion is that they believe in the charism of infallibility

.

Well, we certainly believe the Holy Spirit is infallible. while Lutherans recognize the different views of some of the Fathers of the Church regarding certain books of the NT,we give thanks to God for the efforts of the Church Catholic in responding to the movement of the Spirit in compiling the Canon. It doesn’t seem to me that doing so violates the practice of sola scriptura.

Of course, I’m not speaking for other types of Protestants.
Jon

Well, ok…

Knowledge is simply a justified belief. :shrug:

If a Protestant “knows” that the NT canon is true…what justifies this belief?

Answer: their tacit submission to the authority of the CC.

You might “know” the NT is absolutely inspired, but I don’t. I’ve merely been “told”.

Either way…the answer leads back to this: you accept the authority of the CC on this issue.

Just like every other Christian who accepts the 27 book canon of the NT.

Because in this case you defer to the Church’s authority.

Well, we certainly believe the Holy Spirit is infallible.

…and in this case the men who discerned the 27 book canon of the NT were infallible, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Yes?

while Lutherans recognize the different views of some of the Fathers of the Church regarding certain books of the NT,we give thanks to God for the efforts of the Church Catholic in responding to the movement of the Spirit in compiling the Canon. It doesn’t seem to me that doing so violates the practice of sola scriptura.

I am making 2 separate points in asking my OP.

  1. a person who accepts the canon of the NT is NOT a SS advocate, but also a ST advocate.

  2. a person who accepts the canon of the NT also acknowledges that the charism of infallibility has been given to some men.

Of course, I’m not speaking for other types of Protestants.
Jon

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