Thanks for this lucid explanation. As a Calvinist who has been worshipping
in a Lutheran congregation, this is all news to me. Having said this, your
comment, "[t]he position of Lutheran Orthodoxy was that texts from the
Apocrypha could be used in support of doctrinal positions based on
unquestioned books but that something couldn't be held as doctrine which
could be supported only from the Apocrypha" suggests a certain redundancy of
Another comment. You wrote that "[this] represents the historic Lutheran
view, though a lot of American Lutherans have become protestantized." Are
Lutherans not considered to be "Protestants?" This begs the question, "what
IS a Protestant?"
Chuck Vandergraaf (showing his ignorance of things ecclesiastical, but not
too proud to admit it)
From: george murphy [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday August 02, 2001 9:40 PM
To: Vandergraaf, Chuck
Cc: 'email@example.com'; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Wheel of God
"Vandergraaf, Chuck" wrote:
> Your e-mail comes at an opportune time. I was just reading an article in
> the "Canada Lutheran" (July/Aug 2001 issue) entitled "No Lutheran Bible"
> where the author claims that the "Lutherans possess no binding list or
> as to what books are among 'the scriptures of the Old and New Testament.'"
> The article also contains the claim that "Saint Augustine ... recognized
> that there was a divergence among Christians as to what books are
> Now we can't have it both ways. If, as you suggest, the supernatural
> structure of the 66 books is a clear indication that there's "something to
> it," where does this leave those branches of Christianity that don't
> the 66 books?
> Maybe George Murphy could comment on the validity of the contents of the
> article in the Canada Lutheran?
It's basically correct. The great majority of Lutherans regard the
the standard protestant Bible as scripture but the Lutheran confessions have
official list of canonical books. In responding to a Roman argument based
passage in Tobit, no indication is given that the book isn't authoritative.
Luther translated the books (Wisdom, Tobit &c) of the western Apocrypha but
them in a separate section headed (my translation) "Apocrypha - that is,
which are not held equal to Holy Scripture yet are useful and good for
reading." (This is similar to the way the original KJV deal with the
Apocrypha.) This represents the historic Lutheran view, though a lot of
American Lutherans have become protestantized. The position of Lutheran
Orthodoxy was that texts from the Apocrypha could be used in support of
doctrinal positions based on unquestioned books but that something couldn't
held as doctrine which could be supported only from the Apocrypha.
Luther thought that some of the books of the New Testament - James,
Hebrew, Revelation - were of lesser value than the others and placed them
in his translation of the New Testament. By that he was not removing them
the canon & Lutherans generally have not paid a lot of attention to this
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Dialogue"
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