Watch how you use their words

rakovsky

Member
The Church fathers gathered in a Council and selected the books of the Bible. To say that the Church fathers' decisions were not inspired or moved by the Spirit but the Bible was inspired creates this strange tension. Plus, it was also necessary to decide which of the words variants to use because Bible words differ. It's like purely by human reasoning these Christian leaders who succeeded the apostles knew what books and words should be in the canon. Otherwise if you say that the Spirit led them in their words and decisions, then you are also saying that they were inspired.
 

DrDavidT

Member
No that is not quite right. The Church, not the Church Fathers selected the books of the Bible long before the latter did. The council of Nicea only confirmed what the church already knew and had accepted.
 

rakovsky

Member
No that is not quite right. The Church, not the Church Fathers selected the books of the Bible long before the latter did. The council of Nicea only confirmed what the church already knew and had accepted.
Well, the Church writers of the 1st and 2nd century AD are both Church leaders and Church fathers, so this is creating a false dichotomy. The first canon list is the Muratorion Canon in c. 200 AD, and there had already been more than 100 years of Church fathers at that point. So to say "The Church, not the Church Fathers selected the books" is rather confused. It's like saying that the Christian community or the council, not the writers and leaders, selected the books first.
 

DrDavidT

Member
I believe it was the late Dr. Metzger who said, it was the church who picked the books not because they were on an authoritative list but because they were authoritative. it was not the church fathers although some may have had a little influence. But all people not just a small group of elites recognized what books were from God.

The writers did not 'select' what writings of theirs were scripture and which were not. But you are getting away from the topic. My point was that the Church Father's writings are like any preacher's writing. They may be good, reveal what God has said in a better more understandable way but their words are not inspired and on par with scripture.
 

rakovsky

Member
It seems that in fact God can inspire people like the Fathers to write good things just as He inspires people to do other good deeds. This does not mean that Christianity treats their writings on the same central level necessarily as the Bible. There is a whole hierarchy of writings, with the 4 Gospels at the top.
 

DrDavidT

Member
If you are going to split hairs on the word 'inspired' then we have nothing more to talk about. You seemed to have missed my point and are arguing for the inclusion of different writings that may or may not contain unbiblical content.

Speaking the truth in a person's writing is not an act of inspiration but obedience as Paul tells us not to lie one to another.
 

rakovsky

Member
Well, the basic idea from the Nicene Creed in terms of "inspiration" is that God spoke by the prophets. And the idea is that God inspired the ancient prophets to make prophecies and they show up in our Old Testament. There could be a debate I suppose whether the prophets were directly speaking God's words like a medium or if they were interpreting God's meanings, as if God inspired them to speak but they chose the individual words.

In any case, certainly those prophets did and wrote things that are not specifically listed in the Bible, and this is true for Jesus and the apostles as well. But we wouldn't typically say that only what the prophets and Jesus and the apostles specifically did in the Bible was inspired, as if they never could have said anything inspired out of the Bible.

So the traditional idea is that the Bible is God's inspired writing, but this idea does not rule out that God also inspired words that are not specified in the Bible.

This does not mean that things written in the 3rd century AD should be included in the Bible, but it does mean that the concept of someone's speech being inspired goes beyond strictly what is in the Bible, as if it's a categorical situation where what is in the Bible is inspired and whatever any Church father wrote is not inspired. I would agree that the Church has a view of the Bible though that it has a certainty that the Bible is inspired but that there is not this same kind of certainty about whether individual statements by Church fathers outside the Bible are inspired. Even Paul at one point, in the course of his teachings about marriage, comments: "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord..." (1 Corinthians 7:10-12)
 

DrDavidT

Member
It sounds like you are on my side of the topic and it is agreeable that God leads different people to say specific things. But that is not the inspiration I was talking about in my OP.
 

rakovsky

Member
Well, I don't know how we would say that there is one kind of inspiration- the words of the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles in the Bible, and another kind of inspiration - the words of those same people outside the Bible, such that none of the latter ever spoke the same kind of inspiration.

It seems like what we are really talking about is reliability in judging whether those books were inspired or not. For instance, the Church fathers of the first few centuries AD quoted Jesus as saying things that don't show up in the Bible. These are called the "Agrapha", meaning "unwritten." Out of all the sayings that we have of these people that are not written in the Bible, I expect that some of them were spoken by these same people, and some were not. To give an analogy, there is a tradition that 10 of the apostles were martyred that Christians often refer to and shows up in Apologetics. But the Bible does not specify this number.

So Christians would say that God inspired the Book of Isaiah, for instance. EOs and Catholics would say that God inspired the Council of Nicea to make the Council's core theology. Maybe many Protestants would agree with that statement. But to say that God inspired every writing of Augustine would hardly be a reliable statement. For instance, the EOs consider Augustine a Church Father, but most EOs I think disagree with his idea that the personal guilt of original sin was passed down biologically.
 

e v e

Active member
The Church fathers gathered in a Council and selected the books of the Bible. To say that the Church fathers' decisions were not inspired or moved by the Spirit but the Bible was inspired creates this strange tension. Plus, it was also necessary to decide which of the words variants to use because Bible words differ. It's like purely by human reasoning these Christian leaders who succeeded the apostles knew what books and words should be in the canon. Otherwise if you say that the Spirit led them in their words and decisions, then you are also saying that they were inspired.
some of the church fathers overlaid greek pagan philosophy to christianity: augustine, who had much power in rome and was part of the councils affecting belief; aquinas overlaying aristotle onto theology via islamicist averroes.
 

John t

Active member
Well, the Church writers of the 1st and 2nd century AD are both Church leaders and Church fathers, so this is creating a false dichotomy. The first canon list is the Muratorion Canon in c. 200 AD, and there had already been more than 100 years of Church fathers at that point. So to say "The Church, not the Church Fathers selected the books" is rather confused. It's like saying that the Christian community or the council, not the writers and leaders, selected the books first.
That is not what I remember and found
By the end of the 2nd century, Irenaeus used the four canonical Gospels, 13 letters of Paul, I Peter, I and II John, Revelation, Shepherd of Hermas (a work later excluded from the canon), and Acts. Justin Martyr (died c. 165), a Christian apologist, wrote of the reading of the Gospels, “the memoirs of the Apostles,” in the services, in which they were the basis for sermons. In his writings he quoted freely from the Gospels, Hebrews, the Pauline Letters, I Peter, and Acts. Justin's Syrian pupil, Tatian (c. 160), although he quotes from John separately, is best known for his Diatessaron (literally, “through four” [gospels], but also a musicological term meaning “choral” “harmony”), which was a life of Christ compiled from all four Gospels but based on the outline and structure of John. This indicates both that Tatian was aware of four gospel traditions and that their canonicity was not fixed in final form at his time in Syria. Although Tatian was later declared a heretic, the Diatessaron was used until the 5th century and influenced the Western Church even after four separated gospels were established........​
The first clear witness to a catalog of authoritative New Testament writings is found in the so-called Muratorian Canon, a crude and uncultured Latin 8th-century manuscript translated from a Greek list written in Rome c. 170–180, named for its modern discoverer and publisher Lodovica Antonio Muratori (1672–1750). Though the first lines are lost, Luke is referred to as “the third book of the Gospel,” and the canon thus contains [Matthew, Mark] Luke, John, Acts, 13 Pauline letters, Jude, two letters of John, and Revelation...............​

Canonical standards of the 3rd and 4th centuries​

Clement of Alexandria, a theologian who flourished in the late 2nd century, seemed to be practically unconcerned about canonicity. To him, inspiration is what mattered, and he made use of the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Gospel of the Egyptians, the Letter of Barnabas, the Didachē, and other extracanonical works. Origen (died c. 254), Clement's pupil and one of the greatest thinkers of the early church, distinguished at least three classes of writings, basing his judgment on majority usage in places that he had visited: (1) homologoumena or anantirrhēta, “undisputed in the churches of God throughout the whole world” (the four Gospels, 13 Pauline Letters, I Peter, I John, Acts, and Revelation); (2) amphiballomena, “disputed” (II Peter, II and III John, Hebrews, James, and Jude); and (3) notha, “spurious” (Gospel of the Egyptians, Thomas, and others). He used the term “scripture” (graphē) for the Didachē, the Letter of Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas, but did not consider them canonical. Eusebius shows the situation in the early 4th century. Universally accepted are: the four Gospels, Acts, 14 Pauline Letters (including Hebrews), I John, and I Peter. The disputed writings are of two kinds: (1) those known and accepted by many (James, Jude, II Peter, II and III John, and (2) those called “spurious” but not “foul and impious” (Acts of Paul, Shepherd of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Letter of Barnabas, Didachē and possibly the Gospel of the Hebrews); finally there are the heretically spurious (e.g., Gospel of Peter, Acts of John). Revelation is listed both as fully accepted (“if permissible”) and as spurious but not impious. It is important that Eusebius feels free to make authoritative use of the disputed writings. Thus canon and authoritative revelation are not yet the same thing.​

from
biblical literature. (2008). Encyclopædia Britannica. Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.

The earliest list of New Testament books of which we have definite knowledge was drawn up at Rome by the heretic Marcion about 140​
from FF Bruce The Canon of the New Testament Chapter 3 in The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (5th edition; Leicester: Intervarsity Press, 1959).

From this short cut-and-paste, you can see that the development of standards for NT canon was not a simple matter. One remark that I remember my professor stating frequently was that the real standard for NT canon was the high water mark set by the Old Testament canon
 

John t

Active member
One key item that some people tend to overlook is that while many of the church fathers were wise men and able to clarify many spiritual points, their words are not inspired like the Bible's.

That statement seems to have its root in Biblical Theology by Geerhardus Vos. I really enjoyed reading it, but dang! it was difficult reading..Unless we develop a "telescopic view "of the development of theology and its time reference we could have a different understanding of conon. While Marcion was a heretic, he is remembered for making the first canon of the NT
 

John t

Active member
So the traditional idea is that the Bible is God's inspired writing, but this idea does not rule out that God also inspired words that are not specified in the Bible.
With that broad of a definition, it is possible to state that even Mein Kamph is "inspired by God"

However, from your post above I believe that you are wondering about the variations of certain verses in the Bible. My Nestle-Aland with its 1975 UBS has a collection of many textural variants (which are not "errors". These are largely variations in words, word order, omissions or additions of words or even spelling.

The total count is about 400,000, but that is insignificant.

Rather, it is the NATURE of the variants not the NUMBER of variants that is important. It’s not the quantity of the differences; it’s the quality of the differences.​
There are four kinds of textual variants. Variants are categorized by whether or not they are viable, and whether or not they are meaningful. A variant is viable only if the variant has a good possibility of being part of the original wording. A variant is meaningful only if it changes the meaning of the text.

Neither Viable nor Meaningful
Viable, but Not Meaningful
Meaningful, but Not Viable
Viable and Meaningful​

See the explanations at this site.

What I am demonstrating is that-the issue of textual criticism is not a simple matter, and at the same time it is important that NONE of them establishes a case for the Scriptures to be rendered unreliable.

In a lecture videotaped by Distinguished Professor of New Testament from Liberty University, Gary Habermas indicated that there are over 6000 different sources (much more than my 1975 Nestle Aland) we have for determining what the autographs contained. With such a finite number, we now have many examples from which we can analyze and find their "families" and the region from which it came and then categorize the source many ways. The large number of source documents gives us

The bottom line is that we now have a greater case for reliability because the NT was the most hand copied book in the world
 

John t

Active member
No that is not quite right. The Church, not the Church Fathers selected the books of the Bible long before the latter did. The council of Nicea only confirmed what the church already knew and had accepted.

I recall that c.220 canon was fully codified, but I cannot recall the source. The fact that the heretic Marcion created his false canon c. 140 indicates that the process was on going well before Nicaea in 325.

That fact destroys the myth that the "Church created canon".
 

e v e

Active member
Marcion was the 'genius' Esau who separated off the OT from the New, that was his idea, later adopted by the same fools who called him a heretic. But his reasoning for doing it is documented, for he hated the OT and he wanted to distinguish it it from the NT...all this based upon his hatred of God of the OT and his wrong viewing of God as an evil deimurge; he as was Augustine and Aquinas was gnostic, knowing or unknowingly is not the point. What he ignored is that the OT and prophets are what Give the NT their legal right, at all...and some modern denominations have pretty much dropped the OT. I was in a denomination like that visiting. They really don't read it and don't use it. I find that awful to drop all the prophets.

Anyway, nothing introduced by Marcion can be trusted. Even the division of scripture into 'old' and 'new' is a very tricky devious thing which has had consequences and is not merely a convenience for reading. It's a separation and cutting up of God's Word, and was suggested intentionally and with malice by Marcion to separate Christ from the OT (in more ways than one). That is but one case where a heretic's suggestion was made into established practice and in time tradition within the medieval church, a tradition still carried on today.
 

e v e

Active member
And look at the authority Augustine a pagan dressed as christian had within the early Church! It's scary to list all the decisions he was central to as to what was canon, how to interpret that canon, and what books were canon. And these choices have become a sacred Tradition now.
 

e v e

Active member
The canon that formed is not provable to be what God said or wanted. It is simply the Roman Canon that formed and got cemented to modern christianity.
 
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