Rather speculatively, I (Wayne Dawson) wrote:
> I suspect that this question has been asked many times before.
> It was probably asked first sometime around the birth of the monarchy
> (reign of David). The answer was yes. It was probably asked during
> the reign of Josiah when the book of the law was rediscovered (2K:22,
> 2C:34). The answer was yes. It was surely asked upon return from
> the exile. The answer seems to have been yes. Finally, it was asked
> after the death and resurrection of Christ. The answer was yes.
George Murphy responded:
> In reality there was never a single point in the early church where a
> definitive decision was made about the canon of scripture. Such
> formal decisions were not made in the western church until after the
> Reformation in, e.g., the Council of Trent & the Anglican 39 Articles.
> (Interestingly, the Lutheran tradition has no confessional statement
> about the canon, though in practice it's the same as the Anglicans'.)
I am a little confused by this.... There are perhaps no "definitive"
decisions, but there are some early references to the Old
Testament canon in Ezra 7:10, 14, 26, and Nehemiah 8:1,3 which at
least hint to a decision about the old testament canon. As far
as the New Testament Church, there are examples such as disagreements
between Augustine and Jerome over the extent of the canon (where
I am using secondary sources: not having read either of these debates
myself). So I'll grant that the canon seems not to have been written
on "baked" clay tablets, but it seems that at least an informal canon
(unbake clay) consisting of the current New Testament and Old Testament
bible was already basically agreed upon (with the exception of perhaps
Revelations, Daniel, etc.) in the early church.
Then again, maybe what you meant was that basically all of these
debates have been over adding more books to the canon, and not
about removing them. That seems to be the case until the
Implicit in my point is recognizing the human tendency to want
to meddle with things they shouldn't. Underlying any attempt
to delete the scripture is the serious danger of putting one in
the position of King Josiah of Judah who had Jehudi read out
loud the word of God as expressed by Jeremiah and subsequently
shaved off the passage of the scroll (just read) and chucked
them into the fire. (Jeramiah 36:23-25) I firmly think it is
best to stay out of those things. I don't think anyone can
really say that they *know* what they are doing.
By Grace alone do we keep our hands clean of all folly
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