by William Kincaid
The Canon issue is relevant because:
1. It is our DEFINITION of “Scriptures.” Every time you use the word “Scripture” (you know, like “KJVO is unscriptural,” etc.), you DEPEND upon CANON. Canon is the foundation. All other “faith” is built upon it.
2. New Testament Canon is NOT established by any apostle. No apostolic author gave us any help in establishing any New Testament book as canon. Even when a book contains a NAME of an apostle it does not establish that it is a genuine apostolic book, as many forgeries testify.
3. The concept of a CLOSED CANON is never broached in Scripture either, that definition of “Scriptures” we all agree on. No one wrote “This is the last inspired book,” or “This is the third Gospel, and four should be enough.”
4. There is no significant dispute about New Testament CANON. Everyone here on this board KNOWS which books are supposed to be in all Bibles. We have their names and their order memorized. (If the Roman Church established the Canon, why does the Greek Church have the same one, and why do Protestants and Anabaptists and Millerites agree as well?
5. All attempts to change the CANON are deemed HERESY by all of us. Luther’s frustration with, and hasty words about James is one of his biggest errors (and he had a number of whoppers). If CANON were debatable, Lutherans would have a different one than we do today. The Koran, the Book of Mormon, The Spirit of Prophecy, The Pearl of Great Price, and any other book that even APPEARS to compete with the CANON is labeled heretical.
6. Yet not ONE SINGLE Modern Version User or Textual Critic on this board will touch the issue of CANON with lead gloves and a four-mile laser. You will use the word, build an illusion about it, accuse it of irrelevance, but you will not EXPLORE your personal reasons for ACCEPTING it, exactly it, nothing more than IT.
7. This is because the moment you explore the fact that you accept the foundation of a 27 book New Testament CANON as FINAL, you will have to admit things you can’t afford to admit on your side of the aisle. For one, you admit there IS final authority besides the Holy Spirit. (Although, I think you already quasi-admitted that.)
8. You admit that decisions made by our forefathers in the faith are BINDING upon us. We don’t allow, we don’t need to, and we CANNOT remake those decisions. It is DONE. FINAL AUTHORITY. You claim it is final, so do I. (But I thought JESUS was our final authority? )
9. You admit that REVELATION and INSPIRATION are not enough for the concept of Scripture to exist. “All Scripture is given by inspiration” is just so much useless information if you don’t know, and CANNOT know, what “Scripture” is. “Sola Scriptura” is a load of pumpkins after Halloween if there is any serious dispute over CANON.
10. THE AUTHORITY OF CONSENSUS (of spirit-filled, born-again, blood-bought saints), binding on dependents, is THE scriptural concept that kindles KJVO, and that burns your conscience, if not the seat of your pants. Feigning surprise is DENIAL, and frankly, it is your best strategy. The question, “how is CANON relevant” is your ONLY answer. Whatever you do, DON’T WALK TOWARD THE LIGHT.