Do you think Paul wrote the Pastoral epistles?

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by ChristusResurrexit, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    In the days before people made money out of writing and the intellectual property rights that associated with that, thanks no doubt in part to Mr Caxton's invention, the ascription of authorship may indeed have been a matter of honour, or indeed a means of allowing the message contained to be listened to as having a greater authority than it might otherwise have.

    From a scholarly point of view from our position the means of forming an opinion may well, in part at least, depend on an analysis of the text. Given that the Pastoral Epistles appear to have been written to individuals, they may well be expected to perhaps be a little more casual, than the letters that were constructed to be read to the whole congregation, so they might have a different style.

    The matters addressed may also be a clue, were they matters that belonged to the Pauline period, or perhaps they were matters relating to later in the life of the early Church. One thing that would not expect to change is the theological basis of the content. So I would contend that the basis for that would be conformity to the theology of the letter to the Romans, in which we find Paul discussing the things that mattered to him most, and the authorship of the letter is all but universally accepted.

    I do believe that there is a place for biblical scholarship and indeed for biblical criticism. I personally feel that simply labelling it as Roman propaganda is unreasonable. The authorship of the Pastoral Epistles is a subject of discussion, and there is good reason for that. My feeling is that if they are Pauline then they are very late in his ministry, and I would certainly allow for, and be open to, the possibility that they may have been written in the spirit of Paul some time later. That in no way diminishes the authority of the scriptures, and I refuse to be forced into taking an approach to Holy Scripture that becomes a reflection of the Muslim approach to the Koran.

    All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.
     
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  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    I am Chris Medway writing this, but anyone could say that, couldn't they. And every manuscript that said 'This is Paul writing this', that was not included in the canon, would have been excluded for good reasons and not included just because someone had claimed to be St Paul when they wrote it. As perhaps, in 360 AD some had, and maybe could be cited today.

    These three books are clearly, in the canon of scripture. No doubt there. Whether they were actually written by St Paul, is another matter. A matter of faith, or opinion. The fact is we don't know. Neither you nor I "Know". At best we have opinions of whether it was dictated by Paul himself. Your opinion is very much influenced by the way your beliefs about the veracity, infallibility and authority of scripture might be affected, were it to be accepted that they might not be actually the dictated words of the Apostle Paul himself. Those reservations will obviously affect your opinion on the matter.

    Since I believe "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, etc". And that "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.", that leaves sufficient lee way for specualtion if new evidence presents itself which might cast doubt upon "what was never in doubt in the church".

    I have not actually offered my opinion on whether I think Paul wrote them. I don't know. I do not however automatically dismiss scholarly study on the subject as 'the work of atheist revisionists'. That would be prejudicial judgment based upon criteria other than the objective evidence put forward by the scholars. This needs to be considered on it own account and its relevance tested for truth. Not simply discarded dogmatically without examination, because their evidence might affect the sacrosanct foundations of an elaborate North American 19th century theological innovation, namely 'Biblical Inerrancy'.

    So I am not obligated, as an Anglican, to believe that the Holy scriptures we have, are either 'infallible', 'perfect', 'The unadulterated and complete word of God', 'inerant', or any other fanciful or pious, religious claim, beyond what Holy Writ and Article 6,of the 39, actually say of themselves.
     
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  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Here are some of the Epistles and letters which claim to be by St. Paul but which did not get into the canon of scripture:

    Correspondences of Paul and Seneca.

    Paul's Third Epistle to the Corinthians.

    Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul.

    The Apocalypse of Paul.

    The Coptic Apocalypse Of Paul.

    Just to make the point that there were obviously plenty of 'so called' Pauline writings that were clearly not by Paul. There must therefore have been some which were obviously BY Paul, and perhaps some also which it was very difficult by 360 AD to decide one way or the other, when the canon was closed.
     
  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Roman propaganda only applies to the question of the Canon. By seizing upon the 66 vs. 72 books debate, Mr. Medway would throw open the idea that maybe we can just add or remove books to the canon as we see fit.

    I actually have no horse in that race (although St. Paul's authorship has the received apostolic credit, passes the muster of biblical criticism, was accepted by the Anglican divines, and passes all the marks of the Church Tradition). If we want to debate which of the apostles wrote the epistles, be my guest. Mr. Medway however has taken this conversation away from the question of 'who' wrote the Epistles, into whether the Epistles have apostolic authority. As we all know, the Epistle to the Hebrews has had a well-known history of contested authorship, some to St. Paul, others to St. Luke, and that doesn't phase me a bit. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a divinely appointed apostolic letter, the Word of God, period. Same for the Pastoral Epistles.

    The Epistles' authorship has been sized upon to undermine their authority. By siding with Mr. Medway, you saw off the branch you're sitting on, for he would undo your whole worldview, and everything Biblical you believe in.

    Here is where he converts the question of authorship into the question of authority:
    (i.e. it would be better to pull the Pastoral Epistles out of the canon)

    (i.e. the pastoral epistles shouldn't have apostolic authority)

    (i.e. the pastoral epistles shouldn't be given the same authority as other parts of scripture)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Not so! My point is that the Reformers were keen to 'trim down' the RC canon, to ensure doctrinal agreement, and remove advice like: Sirach 33:26-30.

    Set your slave to work, and you will find rest;
    leave his hands idle, and he will seek liberty.
    Yoke and thong will bow the neck,
    and for a wicked slave there are racks and tortures.
    Put him to work, in order that he may not be idle,
    for idleness teaches much evil.
    Set him to work, as is fitting for him,
    and if he does not obey, make his fetters heavy.

    Would you like to see that in Holy Writ?

    That and many other unworthy texts, is why the CofE only recognizes 66 books as being canonical. The rest of the 72 being regarded only as pious wisdom, not inspired, doctrinally reliable, holy scripture.

    Your words, not mine.

    If it can ever be proved that they are not of Apostolic origin, then I agree, they would not have Apostolic authority. But there again are your own words, not mine.

    Again, your own words, not mine. Are you suggesting that we should give more or even equal 'authority' to:

    "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." as to:

    "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise."

    The first being long suspected by the church of being an ancient Corinthian interpolation, appearing in differing places in many manuscripts, and raising a contradiction with 1 Cor 11:4-5. Also raising the pertinent question "What Law"? and why is St Paul suddenly appealing to "The Law" to silence women? (Uncharacteristic or what)!.

    The second having never been questioned by anyone in the church, as genuinely from the mouth of St Paul himself at any time ancient or modern.

    I have never suggested that these suspect texts be removed from scripture. Just that they should not be regarded as "Infallible" or "Inerrant" any more than any other scripture is to be superstitiously regarded. A nineteenth century North American innovation such as "Biblical Inerrancy" has no place in Anglicanism.
     
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  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    For Anglicans in the 39 Articles tradition then the question of the Canon is clear. The deuterocanonical texts are part of the canon, but as the name implies they are at a second level and may not be used to establish doctrine.

    The principle of the canon (which means rule - in the sense of measure or ruler) is that it is the standard by which we measure and establish the matters of faith and doctrine, to determine that which must be believed. The scholarly arguments about authorship, and understand the intent purpose and meaning of the text is to aid us in that task, not to raise or lower the authority of a given passage.
     
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  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The deuterocanonical books are manifestly not part of the canon. See Article VI:

    Of the Names and Number of the CANONICAL Books.
    -Genesis, etc.

    And the OTHER Books...
    -The 3. Book of Esdras, etc.


    Then why is Mr. Medway using them to lower the authority of a given passage? I mean are you reading what he is saying above?


    ------



    Do you have any evidence for that? I have just shown that the 66 books is the apostolic canon of Divine Revelation; the deuterocanon/apocrypha are just human books that are useful for the instruction of matters.

    To say that the Reformers decided what to keep and what not to keep is rubbish at best, and utter blasphemy at worst.

    Your worldview would put the Church in complete editorial control over the Scriptures. It could make the Scriptures anything it would want to say. Remove the Trinitarian books to make the doctrine more amenable to the muslims. Remove the pastoral epistles to make the doctrine amenable to transgender/women-priesters. Remove the apocalyptic and hell-centric verses to make the doctrine amenable to the therapeutic deists. Yes?

    The godly procedure, instead, is to put the Scripture in control of the Church; and that has ever been the pattern of our Reformers, the Divines, the Fathers, and the Apostles and our Lord himself, who constantly appealed to Scripture as his (and their) final authority.

    It doesn't matter what I would like to see in Holy Writ. Divine Revelation is like mathematical formulas. It is true revelation from God. I don't get to decide what is true. I structure my life in accordance with that revelation.

    The CofE has no power to decide what is or isn't a part of God's divine revelation. It never accorded such power to itself. If you actually read any of the Anglican Divines you would see them humbly and meekly submitting to the authority of the Sacred Scriptures; they would never lord over it, or sift through passages to decide what suited their fancy or their secularist moral compass (as you're doing now).

    No the desire to lower the authority of the Pastoral Epistles is YOUR words. Not mine.

    Do you sift and sort through God's Word to decide what you like better? I don't.

    Yeah by atheists and 'church secularists'. There isn't a single patristic or reformational or caroline scholar who would accept your 'suspicion'. They approached scriptures like a child, meekly with submission, not as a lord to make the Scriptures say what they wanted it to say.

    Inerrancy is a red herring. You don't see the Divines judging things by inerrancy. The category they used to divide things by was "God's Word" vs. "not God's Word". The canonical books are God's Word, dictated from on high to the prophets and the writers and the apostles. Everything else, even the deuterocanon/apocrypha, are human writings. The former are God's literal and actual spoken human word, from God to man. The latter are man's own writings.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    With Respect to the Canon of scriptures accepted by The Anglican Church.
    (a) All inspired, yes.
    (b) All equally profitable for doctrine?
    (c) All equally profitable for reproof?
    (d) All equally profitable for correction?
    (e) All equally profitable for instruction in righteousness? I don't think so. Do you?

    Passage one:
    Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Jn.14:28-29 (a,b,c,d and e) An easy one this, Yes to all criteria.

    Passage two:
    but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Gen.2:17. (a,b,c,d,e)? Yes to all, again.

    Passage three:
    but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ Gen.3:3. (a,b,c,d,e)? Not the actual words of God, God did not say anything about 'touching'. see Gen.2:17 above. Still a Yes for a,b,c,d and e though.

    Passage four:
    But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Gen.3:4-5.

    Well (a) definitely yes, but in what way? Good advice? Bad advice? God's words, definitely no, this is the word of Satan, not God. It is God's word to us, only in as much as it is as a warning of how Satan beguiles. So (b and d) but probably not (c and e).

    Passage five:
    And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Matt.4:6.

    (a) Yes, but only as an example of Satan's guile. Not the words of God as spoken by Satan, but the words of God concerning His Messiah and in that it instructs on the beguiling nature of Satan's ploys. b? What doctrine would it establish? c? What might it reprove? d? What error does it correct? e? In what way does it instruct in righteousness? Can or should it be removed from scripture without destroying the narrative? Obviously not.

    Passage six:
    Take a census of the whole congregation of Israelites, in their clans, by ancestral houses, according to the number of names, every male individually; from twenty years old and upward, everyone in Israel able to go to war. You and Aaron shall enroll them, company by company. A man from each tribe shall be with you, each man the head of his ancestral house.
    These are the names of the men who shall assist you:
    From Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur.
    From Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai.
    From Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab.
    From Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar.
    From Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon.
    From the sons of Joseph:
    from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud;
    from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur.
    From Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni.
    From Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai.
    From Asher, Pagiel son of Ochran.
    From Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel.
    From Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan. Num.1:2-15.

    Apart from being of interest to a few Jewish Historians or ancestral researchers drawing up genealogies, is this list of names 'inspired'? Does it establish 'doctrine'? What does it reprove? What error does it correct? What righteousness does it instruct in? Could it be removed, and the gospel message still remain intact? If so what would be the point of removing it? In what way can it be understood to be equally 'inspired', though obviously in the canon.

    Passage seven:

    If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor.13:1-13.

    Another easy one this: (a, b, c, d, e) This passage fulfills all of the claims of scripture marking it out as being 'inspired'. Which of these texts do you think are the most 'inspired', most profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness?

    Now tell me again that all scripture carries equal weight and is equally 'useful', when it comes to establishing praxis for the church.
     
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  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I understand that that is how a Muslim understands the words of the Koran, and explains why the religion of Islam is opposed to any level of scholarly criticism or analysis or even in the long run translation of the noble document, however I do not think that is how we as Anglican Christians are asked to understand the Holy Scriptures. I take the view that we uphold the principles of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, where Scripture has a primacy. I am opposed to taking verses out of their textual context and thinking one can establish truth in such a way, but I also think that in the more general sense in order to better understand the Holy Scriptures, we need to understand something of the cultural and political context in which they come to birth.

    Psalm 137:9
    Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!​

    The maxim I sometimes quote is - a text out of context is a con.
     
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  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    More succinctly put than my explanatory efforts. 2 Tim.2:15, Study of the Holy word involves 'dividing' it aright, not 'adding to it, subtracting from it or unnecessary multiplication' of its meanings, or indeed, literal interpretation of single verses on the notion that 'ALL must be equally enlightening'.
     
  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So do you agree that you were wrong and the canonical books are the 66, not the 72? You’re kind of shifting from claim to claim here, without acknowledging when your preceding claims have been disproven.

    It matters because I think people have too many opinions of what they want things to be. Everyone injects their personal wishes and interprets the divine sciences in accord with human wishes.

    Same with the question of Scripture here — what you said about Muslims is an absolute red herring here, and using it is distasteful. What they believe or don’t believe has absolutely no bearing on the truth or on the Anglican Tradition.

    In the Anglican Tradition, the Scripture is the word of God. That doesn’t mean that every part is literal, and infallible, because there are manifestly many passages which weren’t meant by God to be interpreted literally, such as that passage in Psalms where the trees clap with their hands to praise God. And so yes we do use tools or criticism, analysis, interpretation, etc. That doesn’t change the ultimate nature of Scripture as God’s Word, Divine Revelation which must direct our lives and thoughts and ethics and values and beliefs.



    —-

    Okay. Now let me give you these:

    Revelation 21:8
    “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

    Mark 9:43
    “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”

    Jude 1:7
    “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”



    Do you accept that these as equally inspired, profitable for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    (a) They are all in the canon, so all 'inspired'.

    First Rev.21:8
    (b) equally profitable for doctrine? Yes. A number of key doctrines are confirmed by this text.
    (c) equally profitable for reproof? Yes. The text is certainly reproving.
    (d) equally profitable for correction? Yes. This is corrective of errors in conduct.
    (e) equally profitable for instruction in righteousness? Yes and no. It does not really instruct on how to be righteous, only informs of the results of not being righteous.

    they will be consigned to
    Dictionary Definition g3313. μέρος meros; from an obsolete but more primary form of μείρομαι meiromai (to get as a section or allotment); a division or share (literally or figuratively, in a wide application): — behalf, course, coast, craft, particular (+ -ly), part (+ -ly), piece, portion, respect, side, some sort(-what).
    AV (43) - part 24, portion 3, coast 3, behalf 2, respect 2, misc 9;
    a part, a part due, or assigned to one, lot, destiny, one of the constituent parts of a whole, in part, partly, in a measure, to some degree, as respects a part, severally, individually, any particular, in regard to this, in this respect.

    The word in Greek that "They will be consigned to" is the translation of is (μέρος meros). Other translations use the English words "Have their portion". The reason being that "Portion", "Part", "share", "division" etc. are all meanings of the greek word that might be applicable here.

    It may even be that John was using this word to suggest that the "Parts" of us that are 'former things, which should have passed away', when God made the New Heavens and New Earth, (i.e. regeneration, conversion, newness of life, being born again of the spirit), will be purged away, leaving only the 'parts of us, that are presentable to our future Bridegroom' v.9. In any case whatever John meant by what he wrote, he intended specifically to convey to a suffering church extremely persecuted, under the Roman authorities, not to believers 2000 years hence, idly speculating upon the destiny of 'the damned'.

    Mark 9:43
    (b) equally profitable for doctrine? No. Any idea that Christ is actually advising literally amputating limbs to ensure salvation is ludicrous.
    (c) equally profitable for reproof? Yes/No. The text is certainly reproving but it is probably being sarcastic and metaphorical.
    (d) equally profitable for correction? No. Not if it is ignorantly taken literally.
    (e) equally profitable for instruction in righteousness? Yes. But not as one might think. It does not teach how to achieve righteousness, but it is pertinent to it.

    The upshot of all that Jesus has just said was Mk.9:50. Everyone will be 'salted with fire', (Read my signature), The absurdity of thinking 'your hand can cause "You" to sin, should alert you to the fact that this is "A Saying of Jesus", not a command you must carry out when 'your own hand takes over', and against your will, makes you do something you know is a crime against God and mankind.

    Good God man, who is in charge of us? Us or our hand? Us or our wandering lustful eyes? Us or the feet that took our reluctant and protesting selves into the brothel or our finger on the tracker pad, which took us onto the Porn Site at dead of night?

    If anyone is so far gone that they have abdicated all responsibility for what their hands, eyes and feet get up to, then there is only one place they are fit for. GEHENNA, the public rubbish tip, just outside Jerusalem, in the valley of Hinnom, when apostate Hebrews burnt their own children as sacrifices to Moloch and the fires burn continually and only the worms are well fed.

    Jude.1:7.
    (b) equally profitable for doctrine? No. No doctrine here, just a warning from history from someone who was convinced that Satan's angels were all locked up after having 'left their proper dwelling place', until the judgment day. Whereas we know Satan is judged, Jn.16:11, and that Satan goes about seeking to devour at will. 1 Pet.5:8. (Metaphorically) And if Sodom is burning still, where is it. Is this perhaps a metaphor too.
    (c) equally profitable for reproof? Yes/No. The text is certainly reproving but it is most probably metaphorical.
    (d) equally profitable for correction? It is certainly condemnatory of unnatural lust. Mostly exemplified by Angels copulating with human beings, and the vice versa attempt by human beings with angels. Gen.6:1-4. Gen.19:4-14. Attempted gang rape, not necessarily homosexual in nature either. The daughters of Lot were in danger of being raped too.
    (e) equally profitable for instruction in righteousness? Yes. But not as one might think. It does not teach how to achieve righteousness, but it is pertinent to it by citing examples of 'unrighteous behavior'.

    Used by 2 Pet. at 2 Pet.2:4-10. etc. Accepted in the Muratorian canon. Mentioned by Tertullian. Widely esteemed c. 200 at Alexandria, Cathage and Rome. Origen attributes it to Jude brother of Our Lord, but mentions also doubts of some people. Eusebius classed it as 'disputed' though widely acknowledged. Jerome accepted, but reports many rejected it.Athenasius, Augustine and Cyril of Jerusalem approved of it.Cyprian the Mommsen MS and Syrian church leaders neglected it and the Peshitta excluded it. the Council of Carthage AD 397 declared it canonical. The ojection were mostly because it extensively quotes apocryphal writings. There was also unresolved debate over whether it is actually written by Our Lord's brother, or is a pseudograph.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  13. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    I always find it fascinating when some feel they know more than the ancient Church on the question of books that were universally accepted in the canon. It seems that always during these types of discussions, motte and bailey tactics are used.
     
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  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry I have maintained my position. The Proto (meaning 1st) Canon represents the Primary Canon on Scripture by which doctrine may be proved. The Deutero (meaning 2nd) Canon includes those books by which doctrine may not be proven. You split hairs over what I said, you wish to confine the canon to the 1st Canon, where as I see the canon as including 1st and 2nd canon, which the clear intent that that which must be believed must only be established from the 1st canon.

    I take it that goes for you as well.

    Not at all. I was responding to your words ''The former (meaning the 66 canonical books of the old and new testament) are God's literal and actual spoken human word, from God to man." That is the approach that is taken to the Koran by Muslims and why Islam is not open to the schools of study such as we have seen in Christianity. I spent some time in a part of Anglicanism that took that approach, and I observed the damage done by that approach to human beings made in the image and after the likeness of God. For me this is not a red herring. God did not hold the pen, God held the heart of the ones who wrote, and their humanity has not been taken from them.

    This means that I can smile when I read:

    Philemon 8-16
    For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus.I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.​

    This is much softer than the abrasive comment to which I responded.

    Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.​
     
    Magistos and Tiffy like this.

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