This (the thirde) essay is by R.C.Sproul. I could not find this essay on line.
How was the Canon established? By whose athority?
We have to remember that there was never a time when the Christian church was without Scripture; Paul cited the Old Testament many times. Since many of the early Christians were Jews they understood the covenant relationship between Christ and the church.
The church did not write the Scripture, the church received the Scripture and as early as the writing of 2 Peter it was being acknowledged that the apostolic writings were Scripture.
Some point to Martin Luther (for at least a time, Luther questioned the inclusion of the Book of James in the Canon) to argue that Luther is not believe that Scripture is infallible. This is wrong.
Luther argued repeatedly for the infallibility of Scripture - what he questioned was whether or not the Book of James was Scripture.
Luther never challenged the infallibility of Scripture; he challenged the infallibility of Rome.
So, if not Rome, then who?
It was Christ that the Father gives "all authority on heaven and on earth." After Christ came the apostles (sent ones), Peter, Paul and the rest. Irenaeus understood this and argued that to reject the apostles was to reject the One who sent them; Christ.
From the very beginning the church had a "functional Canon"; you can see it in the writings of the New Testament - Peter refers to Paul's writings as "other Scriptures" and Paul quotes from Luke's Gospel in 1 Timothy.
From the earliest writings of the church fathers, the New Testament was treated as Scripture; although they did not customarily use the word "Scripture", they did treat the apostolic writings with Scriptural authority. Quotations taken from the writings of the New Testament and cited as authoritative are found in the writings of Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papias, Justin Martyr and more.
There were some questions; it is not that the books were not used, only that the inclusion was not universal. ...continue reading