What Should Constitute The Canon Of Sacred Scripture?

3398 words - 14 pages

INTRODUCTION
A debate lasting close to 2 millennia has fallen almost entirely out of favor in the popular realm of Christian Theology. Looking through countless theology books will result in almost nothing helpful, except for the occasional quotes from more obscure texts. Examining the discussion of councils related to this issue will result in frustration as the topic is left out entirely. In desperation, a curious inquirer may turn to Catholic texts, where Priests and experts will set out to discuss the issue in depth. They are numbered among the few current day theologians interested in this subject. The Protestant camp is enthralled with discussions of what version is best, while their Catholic counterparts are still answering the question of what should constitute the biblical canon of scripture. Moreover, among the layman, Protestants will stutter and bustle at the question while their Catholic friends will smile and eloquently discuss their heritage in order to answer the question. The question is an important one, yet Christians seem to view it as uninteresting and unnecessary; after all the debate ended hundreds of years ago with both camp cheerfully celebrating their victory. In reality, the debate never truly ended, both camps simply agreed to disagree and go their own ways. This debate helped split a once unified church into two parts; it is the most noticeable but overlooked difference between Protestants and Catholics. The question when asked is as follows: what should constitute the biblical canon of scripture? An examination of church history is what will be chiefly used to answer this robust question. In the end, the Protestant canon will be upheld above the Catholic, with an understanding that Apocryphal texts should still be read and considered useful in Protestant circles.

Although a fascinating study, due to the brevity of paper space, the study of the canon of the Protestant New Testament will be set aside to enable a more thorough discussion of the Protestant Old Testament.
CLARIFYING TERMS
Beginning with clarity of terms, the canon of scripture will be understood as it is defined by the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, “The term canon in Christianity refers to a group of books acknowledged by the early church as the rule of faith and practice.” Further, “The word has been used to identify those books considered to be spiritually superlative, by which all others were measured and found to be secondary value in general church use.” Essentially, the canon of scripture is those books that are inspired and considered to be authored by God. However, the issue emerges when Catholics consider a wider array of literature to be inspired than Protestants. These books considered by the Catholics to be inspired are deemed by the Protestants as Apocryphal. “The name used for various Jewish and Christian writings that are often similar to the inspired works in the Bible, but that were judged by the Church not to possess...

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