Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Canon Question

More than any other issue, the canon caused me to realize that Protestantism couldn't work. Protestantism simply has no answer for The Canon Question and Tom Brown does an excellent job arguing as much in the latest lead article at Called to Communion. I hope you'll take the time to read it.


Michael and Ana said...

But consider the following quotes by church fathers:
1. Irenaeus (c. 140–c. 202): We have received the disposition of our salvation by no others, but those by whom the Gospel came to us [namely, the apostles]; which they then preached, and afterwards by God’s will delivered to us in the Scriptures, to be the pillar and ground of our faith.

2. Hippolytus (c. 170–c. 236): There is one God, whom we do not otherwise acknowledge, brethren, but out of the Sacred Scriptures. For as he, who would profess the wisdom of this world cannot otherwise attain it, unless he read the doctrines of the philosophers; so whosoever will exercise piety towards God, can learn it nowhere but from the Holy Scriptures.

3. Tertullian (c. 160–235): The Scriptures . . . indeed furnish us with our Rule of faith.

4. Origen (c. 185–254): In proof of all words which we advance in matters of doctrine, we ought to set forth the sense of the Scripture as confirming the meaning which we are proposing. . . . Therefore we should not take our own ideas for the confirmation of doctrine, unless someone shows that they are holy because they are contained in the divine Scriptures.

There are many other quotes I could share with you.. The Church Fathers do confirm why I am a protestant :)

Tim A. Troutman said...

Hi Michael and Ana,

Those texts don't prove the Protestant case at all. In fact, Irenaeus and Origen both affirm books that Protestants reject as part of their canon. (As for Hippolytus and Tertullian we don't really know what their canon was.) When they say "Scripture" in other words, they aren't talking about the 66 book bible that the Reformers decided upon. Consider reading the article and bringing up your objections there.

And if you want to quote from the fathers, as if they confirm Protestantism, do you agree with Irenaeus that Mary is the new Eve, and became the "cause of salvation for the whole human race" or that the bishops in succession from the apostles have the "infallible charism of truth" or that all Churches must agree with the Church at Rome?

Do you agree with Hippolytus that there ought to be three distinct offices and ordinations for bishops, priests, and deacons, and minor orders?

Do you agree with Tertullian that mortal sin after baptism causes one to lose salvation?

Do you agree with Origen that no one can apprehend the meaning of the gospel of John without having laid on Jesus' breast and received the blessed virgin as mother?

Michael and Ana said...

Very good points, indeed! I do not trust the words of any man other than that which has been given to us as scripture. And as Origen said, "unless someone shows that they are holy because they are contained in the divine Scriptures," I will hold other writings and commentaries to be soley the opinion of man. Because if a bishop, or priest or deacon, or whomever (pope) deviates or misinterprets holy writ, he does not speak for God. Don't you agree?

Michael and Ana said...

One other quote, made by John Chrysostom, who lived between 347-407 AD: "Listen carefully to me..Procure books [of the Bible] that will be medicines for the soul. At least get a copy of the New Testament, the Apostle's epistles, the Acts, the Gospels, for your constant teachers. If you encounter grief, dive into them as into a chest of medicines; take from them comfort for your trouble, whether it be loss, or death, or bereavement over the loss of relations. Don't simply dive into them. Swim in them. Keep them constantly in your mind. The cause of all evils is the failure to know the Scriptures well."

Giovanni A. Cattaneo said...

Nothing quite like cherry picking in such a beautiful day.

George Weis said...


Wow! I haven't seen this type of thing in a while. I guess you still get it all the time eh?

I will just say this. If we can trust the Holy Spirit to through the agency of appointed men hand us the Scripture, can we not also give heed to their understanding of that scripture? Not to say they are flawless, but at the very least can't we look to them as a regulation for a Faith that was delivered once and was passed along and protected by Apostolic Succession? Irenaeus thought that was a sufficient way to go about defending the true faith.


Tim A. Troutman said...

Michael and Ana,

(What George said!)

Michael and Ana said...

Forgive me - I didn't mean to be selective in my quotes. But I wanted to point out that the church fathers indicated that even their doctrine (and the doctrine of the church) must be subject to Holy Scripture (the accepted canon). Unfortunately, down through the ages, not everyone who has called himself a bishop, pastor, or whatever, has remained faithful to the scriptures. But they remain the final authority.

Tim, I wont keep posting - I know we won't agree on many points of church doctrine. In the end, we Christians (from both sides of the aisle) will join together in heavenly places! The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing :-) If we are saved by faith, let's continue to walk by faith. Tim, I had a chance to look over your ministry webpage. And I felt a since of gratitude by the way you are living out your faith. That's what it is all about, isn't it!

Take Care and may God continue to bless you.


George Weis said...


I pray blessings on you! I know that you were asking blessings for Tim, but I wanted to send some your way from me to you.

You are correct... one eternal day, we will no longer be on different sides, but be completely united. I think we all long for that day.

But I also pray that here on Earth, Christians would be seeking Unity according to Christ's own prayer for us... that we might be one... so that the world would know that the Father sent Him!

In His love,