Monday, September 10, 2007

Canonical Dilemma

This blog will be the first in a small series of at least three blogs on a subject near and dear to my heart. I have a feeling some might lose interest—or may not take interest at all for that matter. So, if that happens to be you, check back in a few days. So, let me dig into this topic by means of introduction.

I remember when I first was confronted with that uncomfortable uncertainty that can only come when one realizes they may have based their life on error/ignorance. I had just met The Surveyor. It had to be two in the morning, and we were flexing our hermeneutical muscles. Actually, The Surveyor was firing off problem texts and I was doing my best to make sense of them. He mentioned he preferred to use the New Revised Standard Version of scripture. Apart from my Nestle-Aland GNT, I tended to side with the New American Standard Version. The most observable difference between the two: the NRSV contains the “extra” apocryphal works. Since then my growing unrest with theories of canonization has only gotten stronger.

Why? Besides the fact that I had just spent six years immersed in this text, learning the intricacies of its original languages, as a protestant, my theological matrix is shaped by reverence for this book we call that Bible—from the Greek, biblios, meaning book. Simply put, I as a protestant don’t accept the authority of the pope. Instead, as a rebellious offspring of Martin Luther, I accept the authority of scripture, and my God-given right to interpret it—Solo Scriptura (lit. scripture only).

I would be willing to guess that most of you reading this sing the same reformed tune. So let me pose a few hypotheticals: How did you get your Bible? Why is the Protestant canon of scripture right, and the Catholic canon wrong? Who gave us our canon?

Here is the dilemma…we (I) base our belief system on Sola Scriptura, and we are sure our Bible is the right Bible, but we no clue why. We don’t know how it was compiled, or what governing bodies handed it down to us. Certainly Jesus didn’t! If I am going to base my life on a book, namely the protestant canon, I had better make sure it is the right canon. I had better be sure that I am not missing out by neglecting the apocryphal books. By the way, I read 4 Maccabees 1 today, my inspiration for this blog.


Rob said...

"theological matrix"

"rebellious offspring"

"sing the same reformed tune"

inspired words my friend. surely the spirit is with you as you carefully work to discern the truth in this matter.



Five Year Slumber said...

I've thought a lot about the canon since the Bible study we went to a few months ago. It really does come down to authority. Ultimately we have to accept the authority of someone. It's so easy to say that you believe in the divinity of the Bible, but there comes a point when you have to question *why* you believe what you believe. I'm interested to see what your thoughts are on this!