Re: [asa] The tomb of Jesus?

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Thu Mar 01 2007 - 09:37:43 EST

At 09:11 AM 3/1/2007, David Opderbeck wrote:

>I'm not offering this so much to challenge any particular view of
>scripture or faith/epistemology, but just to wonder aloud how we can
>teach our kids a solid view of scripture without also communicating
>that our faith sits precariously on the edge of a knife.

@ I like the way it's approached here:

One man saw another sitting at the table with a Bible, pen in hand.
He was using the pen to make a series of horizontal lines in the Bible's text.

"Underlining your favorite verses?" the first man asked cheerfully.

"Nope," the man with the pen replied. "I'm crossing out the parts
that don't apply to me!"

Having a specialty interest in literature, my personal view of the
canon is arrived at in what some would consider an unusual manner.
What I have read of the so-called "non-canonical" books indicates to
me that there is an obvious literary difference between what they are
and what the canonical books are. I can see a difference, in the way
they are written, and I attribute that difference to the influence of
the Holy Spirit. I do not suppose that most other people can see the
literary differences as well, and in the same way as I do, and I
would not try to convince them of the differences.

Moreover, as those who have read my essay on Inerrancy and Human
Ignorance will realize,
I do not consider belief in inerrancy to be essential to salvation. I
do not even think that it is necessary to believe in a fixed canon
(although I do). Thus, it should make little difference to the
non-believer, in my mind, whether God had anything to do with the
formation of the canon or not. The basic claims of Christianity are
still there in our faces, canon or no canon.

The anecdote above, indeed, reveals the pointlessness of arguing
about the canon. The natural human tendency towards syncretism, and
the application of personally-preferred truths to the minimization of
those found less comfortable, is inescapable, especially in our
modern, post-modern environment. Whether God had a hand in the
selection and forming of the canon, or whether it was just a random
assortment thrown together by the winds of history, the result will
be the same: There will always be those, believer and non-believer
alike, who will take mental pen in hand and "cross out" the parts of
the Bible (or any set of ideas, for that matter) that they find
uncomfortable, or add on things that will personally give them a warm
and fuzzy feeling inside. In a sense, we each form our own canon of
acceptable ideas; we each have our own "apocrypha" of marginal
thoughts, and our own collection of ideas which we discard into the
void, dismissing them from our canon of thought entirely. Resistance
to a fixed set of ideas, perceived as limiting our freedom to do as
we please, is as old a tendency as humanity itself.

However, if we believe in the inspiration of the Bible, then it is
also reasonable to assume God's hand in the matter of the
compiliation of the canon. Although skeptical of many traditional
positions on the canon, McDonald rightly perceives that "(t)hose who
would argue for the inerrancy of scripture logically should also
claim the same infallibility for the churches of the fourth and fifth
centuries, whose decisions and historical circumstances have left us
with our present Bible." [MacD.FormCB, 255] One cannot sensibly argue
that God inspired certain books of the Bible and then allowed us to
mix in books with it that were not inspired. It was either all
inspired at its origination, or none of it at all, other than at a
basic human level of inspiration - and though, thanks to
transcription errors and the like, we have some chaff mixed in with
the wheat at present, the ambiguity that is reality at the textual
variant level does NOT affect our position on the canon level.

This is all preparatory, of course, to our present work of the
formation of the NT canon. We shall cover the matter of the OT canon
in <>this article. We also
recommend for this subject Glenn Miller's ongoing
<>series on
canonicity, which studies the impact of the OT canon model upon the
NT canon formation.

Objections on the matter of the canon are seldom encountered, but
there are two general categories that we can expect to encounter when
considering the NT
canon: [snip] continue:
Canon Fire - J. P. Holding More on the Canon:

~ Janice

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Received on Thu Mar 1 09:38:24 2007

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