The Canon is an issue that divides Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox. Is there an infallible Canon? Are Protestants justified in excluding the Deuterocanon? What role does history, manuscripts, and tradition play? Discussed by Craig Truglia and Matthew P.
Two separate guys, from two separate churches (each of which claims to be UNIQUELY founded by Christ), with two separate canons…waxing philosophical about where Protestants diverge from them on canon.
I am in agreement with some of Craig’s early comments about the differences being much ado about nothing. No tenet of the faith actually changes as a result of the addition of Tobit or the subtraction of the Didache. And despite Matthew’s insistence that no self-respecting Calvinist could make sense of that passage in Ben Sirach, I have no such problem. I guess he’s never heard of compatibilistic freedom of the will.
The last section on tradition and Sola Scriptura showed no insight into Protestantism whatever. I never cease to wonder at the scales that grow over converts eyes as soon as they leave a paradigm. They do not seem to be able to use their previous commitments to help bridge gaps. Was Alasdair MacIntyre wrong about bilingualism (between paradigms) being possible?
Thank you for your thoughtful comments, though to be fair I always had the view Scripture must be led in light of tradition. This view has only grown stronger the longer I was reformed, because of my doubts over my own interpretive abilities.
With all due respect, your doubts over your own interpretive abilities are totally irrelevant. You are all you have. I can’t lend you any brains, and you can’t lend me any. Only you can make decisions for you…either by trusting your own interpretive abilities or by trusting your own evaluative abilities in choosing an interpreter to follow (either totally=blindly or as a supplement to your perceived weakness regarding analytic processes).
One must be assisted by tradition and community not foremost because of any particular inability but because it’s a necessary part of how the Spirit leads. We each belong to the body of Christ, to his church. We are each alone, however, in discovering where the church lies and with whom.
Quite honestly, I believe you have chosen wrongly. But that’s between you and God. You answer to him.
The question would be on what grounds would you say the Apostolic churches have forfeited the faith. I’d wager your views of the Bible are not self-apparent and that the early church had already evaluated these same issues and landed on the side of Orthodoxy.
The first question is not when they forfeited the faith, but when (or even whether) they ever had divine authority. It isn’t self-evident that either Orthodoxy or Catholicism ARE Apostolic. They’re ancient. They go back a long way. But do they go ALL the way back? And even IF they go all the way back chronologically, do they derive their authority from the Apostles?
Once we answer this question, we can revisit whether they in some sense abandoned the faith. Did they derive their authority from the Apostles, only to lose it through unfaithfulness or heresy? Christ doesn’t promise to sustain any particular historical rendition of “church,” but THE actual church itself.
In truth, the only theological truths we can verify as coming from the Apostles are Scriptural. And when it comes to most EO/RC distinctives, there’s remarkably little biblical evidence. Sometimes none at all. Likewise, there’s almost no corroboration from Apostolic Fathers. I believe there’s a little for the sacrifice of the Mass and baptismal regeneration. But that’s about it. (And Lutheranism and large swaths of Anglicanism hold to baptismal regeneration.) There’s maybe a smidgen of proof for the invocation of saints, but basically NOTHING for ANY of the Marian dogmas! And almost nothing for purgatory and penance and the papacy (which is fine by you, being Orthodox).
Apostolic Christianity is more of a mere Christianity than most EO/RC adherents will admit.
Are Protestant distinctives in evidence? Yes, I would say…though not definitively. For the AF’s are a mixed bag. Very little can be proven definitively.
My own tendency is to let the Early Church speak for itself without gazing at it through dogma-colored glasses. I am willing to accept certain things against my paradigm…if they are clearly visible in the data. I don’t have to reject the Deuterocanon. I can explore what the fathers MEANT by baptismal regeneration, what they MEANT by sacrifice. You, on the other hand, are beholden to the traditions of men. Perhaps they are correct. Perhaps they are in error. I’d rather retain the freedom to decide for myself.