Thursday, January 21, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 12/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 12/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

12) How do we know, from the Bible alone, that the letters of St. Paul, who wrote to first century congregations and individuals, are meant to be read by us as Scripture 2000 years later?

Simple Answer(s):

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Important Qualification(s):

This is simply another way of phrasing the canon question that we've already addressed several times.

- TurretinFan

3 comments:

twoabsolutes said...

Confirming the obvious: This question continues to firmly establish Ray's lack of Biblical knowledge. He must be immune to...nevermind.

natamllc said...

This morning I was struck with this thought about Scripture.

First let me cite the verses that came alive within my spirit:

Luk 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
Luk 10:22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

What do we see here? We see Our Dear Beloved Savior "rejoicing" in the Holy Spirit. Also, apparently it is Our Beloved Heavenly Father's Will to conceal things from some while giving Jesus "all" authority over all things.

Of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the One Who is always present here in these created heavens and earth.

Not only can we, as well, those who "see" according to Our Beloved Heavenly Father's Will, "rejoice" in the Holy Spirit, accordingly, He wants more for us still:

Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Joh 16:14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Joh 16:15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Joh 16:16 "A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me."

and

Joh 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.


Now who do we see?

We see Jesus.

We see also that the Holy Spirit doesn't do anything according to His Own Authority but only after "hearing" from Heaven itself, He then comes revealing what He heard to those Heaven wants it revealed too.

Note also this one thing there that the Holy Spirit does, "according" to Jesus' Own testimony about Him, that is, the Holy Spirit, it is He Who will "glorify" Him, that is Jesus, taking what is His and declare it to those Whom the Father has given to Him.

We have these three things that testify about Jesus 1st John 5 teaches us, "The Spirit", "the water" and "the blood".

What's more is this verse:

1Jn 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

So, confirming the obvious, this is the test for the Truth that "sola Scriptura" is indeed "tota Scriptura" and there is no need convincing one who does not believe these things seeing it is a pending matter of Heaven itself and it is the work of the Holy Spirit Himself to guide us into all Truth.

What's more, now, is this matter of "proclaiming" this Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness to every creature and then the end shall come all the while "rejoicing" in the Holy Spirit and in His Word.

I am now not only standing with Peter, [2 Peter 3:16], I am standing with Paul and with John too!

And what I sense is the Holy Spirit is the same Spirit yesterday, today and everyday, ready to reveal the Truth to those Elected from Heaven above down here on earth below, as King Solomon wrote:::>

Pro 1:20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice;
Pro 1:21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
Pro 1:22 "How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
Pro 1:23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.

john said...

There are some issues that are not addressed by quoting 2 Peter 3:16answer as follows –

The passage of 2 Peter 3:16 has not been established to be authoritative and therefore we cannot be sure that his statement concerning Pauls letters are inspired.

If we do establish the authority of 2 Peter 3:16 from the text alone, then it needs to be shown that 2 Peter 3:16 can be derived from other OT and NT texts combined, otherwise the text can only be established as an authority from an apostolic tradition, but to do this is to probably act outside SS, which is problematic.

From 2 Peter 3:16 alone we do not know if the passage refers to inspiration in the same sense as God breathed (2 Tim 316) so we do not know if his statement is consistent with the mind of the church, or the apostles or the church teaching throughout history.

The phrase, “the other scriptures” does not tell us how we know what these scriptures are. If Peter thinks in 2 Peter 3:16 that Pauls’ letters are as inspired as say, the Gospel of Thomas or many other texts around in the apostolic age, that were later rejected by the church as being not inspired, then Pauls’ writings are not inspired according to Peters teaching. From the text of 2 Peter 3:16, or any of the writings of the NT, we cannot know that St Peter knew of what was an was not NT scripture, therefore we cannot know from the NT texts if Peter had the correct understanding of what it meant to be inspired and what the other scriptures were. Therefore the passage of 2 Peter 3:16 does not establish that texts such as Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians and the other so called Pauline texts are scripture.

In a similar way, how do we know from Peters statements, that Peter knew which texts were scripture and not scripture? Where are these “other scriptures” at the time Peter (or whoever wrote it) is reported to have written this passage in 2 Peter 3:16? In short, to connect Pauls’ letters to the “the other scriptures” is a problematic statement that cannot be resolved from the text alone and requires an authority from God (tradition and church pronouncement) to determine what “the other scriptures” are and are not.

Also Peters statement doesn’t tell us how Pauls’ writings are to be recognised as being authored by Paul from scripture alone. Nowhere does scripture recognise Romans as being authored by Paul other than perhaps in Romans 1 – where it says “1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,”

Where it says “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God”, we cannot deduce from that text alone that Paul wrote any part of the Romans letter, let alone the entirety of Romans. To do so is circular reasoning, by saying Paul wrote Romans because the text says so and the texts says so because Paul wrote Romans.

Therefore from the NT documents alone we cannot conclude that Paul wrote any letters, let alone God inspired his letters. What is required to validate and verify the statements made in the texts is an authoritative apostolic tradition that has a moral unanimity concerning authorship and following upon, this an authoritative church decree which is either formally made by a church bishop or implicitly decrees through the continual use of the text throughout church history in the church approved liturgy. But all of this is contrary to SS, that has varying degrees of authority inconsistently applied to church practice outside the scriptures.

Conclusion - 2 Peter 3:16 does not establish the letters that are said to be written by Paul are scripture.

JM