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

I don’t know if they got it right, did they? What’s their NT Canon look like? Is it like ours?

Tell me how you got your NT canon, and how you know it’s right, ronald.

Who decided for you and your congregation that there are 27 books in the canon of the NT.

Of course, I’m only assuming you’re not one of these Pauline Rejectors?

You do believe that the Pauline Epistles are theopneustos, yes?

That is a good one on infallibility. We often thought of the Bible writers as inspired but their work was available to us because there were men of the Church who said they were so, without which we may not have the Bible that we have today; thus proving the existence of the charism of infallibility given to some men if we believe that the canon is right.

The objection will arise, predictably, from some Non Catholics: “Just because the Church got it right doesn’t mean that its infallible. I can get an answer right on a test, but that doesn’t make me infallible.”

We would respond with:

  1. do you think the Holy Spirit was involved in the discernment process of the NT? If so, does acknowledgement of the guidance of the HS change things for you regarding your belief that the Church just happened to get it right?

  2. how could a group of men (that is, bishops) “get it right” without being infallible, over and over and over again? Wouldn’t that assume infallibility?

  3. how do you know that the Church “got it right”? Doesn’t that presuppose that you already know what the canon of the NT should be, and then you are simply affirming that the Church “got it right”?

And I would add, 4) why did it take so long for the church to get it right? It would seem the earlier church, at the time the last writing of Revelation came to be, would certainly know that all the writings are complete and now we have our canon, right?


Nah, I didn’t join that group.

I don’t even understand the question. How is the Church not to “get it right” when it comes to discerning what belongs in the Holy Scriptures? The alternative is to believe that the Church is not so protected by the Holy Spirit that perhaps she “got it wrong,” which is to believe we were not left with reliable shepherds. OK, let us say we have the authority to overrule the authority of a Church council, even on a question as fundamental as this. At that point, we are our own shepherds. On what basis could we claim that authority for ourselves? We cannot; we would be usurping a role we KNOW is not ours because we don’t believe there IS any authority.

I suppose the answer is this: I believe the Catholic Church may be trusted on these matters. I know that no one else is more trustworthy. Who else would I believe, other than the Church? Why would I leave one authority I was promised was trustworthy for no authority at all?

This is like answering a fellow passenger who fears out loud that the ship we are on might possibly have an unknown leak that will doom the voyage. Would I think that thought and then jump into the ocean and swim for it? That would be lunacy. I was told by the One whom I hope in above all others that this ship would not be left without protection. I know enough about the waters to know that either the ship on am on is seaworthy or else I am sunk. I know I don’t have it in me to swim on my own. I’d have to be fearful to the point of hysteria to jump off!

I do not think there is a reason to believe the bishops had to articulate everything in writing. There was a point in the early Church in which it was practical for episcopal communion to be personal, rather than formal. I do not see anything suspicious about the bishops not rushing to change the nature of their teaching unity before circumstance forced the issue.

Ok. That’s good. But how do you know that the epistles of Paul are inspired?

And you haven’t answered the questions I posed.

Who decided for you and your pastor that there are 27 books in the NT?
How did you come to arrive at this decision, and how do you know it’s correct?

You would have to go back to the original post by Protestor, here, referenced in the attachment:

He acknowledges that the CC was correct in her discernment of the 27 book canon.

How does he know this is correct?

Did he receive some prior revelation that told him there was 27 books in the NT, and then when the CC said, “These are the books that are inspired and belong in the NT”, Protestor said, “Ah, yes. The CC is correct here!”

If I say to you, “What is the best choice of antibioitics to cure strep throat?” and you answer, “Penicillins!”, and I respond with, “You got that answer right!”…

it’s because I already have prior knowledge of the above. I am simply affirming your correct answer here.

That seems to be what Protestor is doing. So I’d like to know where this prior knowledge comes from.

I think the Church that I attend likes those books the best. What about the CC? Which books do they have, are they good ones too?

That’s not an answer, and you know it.

Imagine if you were trying to evangelize a non-Christian–(something, BTW, you are OBLIGATED to do), and he asked you, “Why do you believe that the epistle to the Hebrews is inspired?”

the answer you gave above would be woefully inadequate, and I’m quite certain you wouldn’t use it as apologia for your belief that it’s inspired.

You need to have a reason for the hope that is in you, ronald.

What is your reason for believing that Hebrews is inspired?

(I will give you the ONLY answer that is true and reasonable. And it is the same answer that I give: because you defer to the authority of the CC to tell you so.

There is no other answer. You just are not able at this time to admit it.)


PRmerger;13101933]Because in this case you defer to the Church’s authority.

Do you think that is inconsistent with SS? I don’t.

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

No. The guidance was infallible, not the men. And, there were others, considered by both of us to be fathers of the Church, who held views different from ours. Their insights are important, too.

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


  1. I would say the two are not mutually exclusive.
  2. if one qualifies that by saying perhaps only within a truly ecumenical council ( of which there have been at most 7).
    As has already been pointed out, canons of scripture have varied, and continue to vary depending on communion. I give thanks that virtually all Christians agree on the NT, and most of the OT.
    Otherwise, it is possible that my disagreement regarding Church authority is more with the recipient of the OP.


“Did you know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God died for your sins, so that if you believe in Him you will not perish but rather have life eternal?”

“Okay, but how is Hebrews inspired?”

I just imagined that conversation in my head from your example. Most people I evangelize to I try to lead by example through love, while telling them the reason for the hope and love that is in me. When questioned about Hebrews I would ask said person to read it and tell me what they think.

Well, I suppose it depends upon your definition of SS.

There is no authoritative Protestant voice to define it, unfortunately.

I know that you believe in the Lutheran definition, but there are many who have divorced themselves from Luther’s definition…and, of course, no Lutheran ought to object to anyone claiming for himself the right to “protest” the original definer…if they believe that the original definer has strayed from the truth, yes?

IOW: If Luther was able to claim the right to “protest” that which Catholicism professed, then when folks claim the right to “protest” what Luther professed…he (and all traditional Lutherans) ought to give these “protestors” a thumbs up, eh?

Muslim says: I am starting to see the truth of Christianity. It makes sense. But now I’m confused, ronald. You don’t believe that the CC has authority over you, but don’t you defer to her authority when she says that Hebrews is inspired and the Shepherd of Hermas is not?

Your answer, if it’s one that’s consonant with truth should be: yes. You are correct. There really is NO OTHER WAY for me to know that Hebrews is inspired except that I say, “I believe it to be true because the CC told me it was inspired.” Thank you for pointing this out to me, Muslim Friend. :slight_smile:

Well, that’s nothing more than another way to say that you believe in the charism of infallibility.

If guidance is infallible, and men are given this guidance, then they have utilized this charism.

And, there were others, considered by both of us to be fathers of the Church, who held views different from ours. Their insights are important, too.

Not sure what you mean?

Folks who held different views that are important? Like Arius?

And I don’t ask this to be snarky. I’m pretty sure you don’t believe Arius’s insights were important but I’m really not sure what you mean.

  1. I would say the two are not mutually exclusive.

Depending upon whose definition of SS you use.

And if you do actually defer to Sacred Tradition, then who not accept all the other professions we Catholics make that are a product of Sacred Tradition?

  1. if one qualifies that by saying perhaps only within a truly ecumenical council ( of which there have been at most 7).

I am ok with that. If you can acknowledge that men have been given the charism of infallibility, even if it’s only within 7 ecumenical councils, I’d be dancing a happy dance! :slight_smile:

As has already been pointed out, canons of scripture have varied, and continue to vary depending on communion. I give thanks that virtually all Christians agree on the NT, and most of the OT.

That is why I typically specify that this question applies only to the NT canon.

Oh, OK. It comes from knowing what the New Testament is. It isn’t a set of writings meant to be taken independently from the teaching authority of the Church. It is a set of writings recognized by the Church herself as having flowed in an inspired way from her teaching authority, appropriate for liturgical use and also being normative examples of what the Church teaches. It is entirely within the duty and authority of a Church council to have definitively discerned what should and should not be considered canonical. When the Church herself speaks, she speaks as Holy Scriptures speak. She is uniquely capable of recognizing the canon (and even that the time had come that there needed to be a canon) from among all other such writings.

It is not entirely unlike when a person is canonized. When the Church declares someone a saint, she is not saying anyone who goes unrecognized is not a saint or that the person being canonized was not every bit as much as saint before the official recognition as after. Canonization accomplishes the official recognition, not the creation, of a saint. Likewise, just because something is not in the canon does not mean it was deemed heretical. It was simply not endorsed as having a uniquely recognizable and elevated place within the Apostolic tradition. The Church knew the writings she taught from and drew her understanding of the faith from as surely as she knew the saints whose inspired apostolic work were expressed in those texts. If the Church herself could not recognize them, who on earth could? :shrug:

I don’t have any reason, from anything that I have studied in Catholic histoy to doubt the canon, or the councils. These were the books being used by the Church in liturgy. Read in Church. Discussed by the Church Fathers, and found to be reliable and inspired.

Essentially an informed and rational faith in Christ, His Apostles, and His Church.

God bless,



Yes, the inquiring Muslim who knows that the Evangelicals defer to the CC.

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