Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What the Early Church was Thinking, c. A.D. 400

Two things the early church might have been thinking when the Canon was first ratified, circa A.D. 400:
“There. Now we've got a veritable repository of all the apostolic teaching that we know is there for Christians in all times. In case all the other writings of our Church get lost, we'll still have this, and it can be there in any case to serve as the only infallible authority. To indicate that we don't want any other authority to be added, it'd also be best if we ended with Revelation. That way, people will know not to add things to the Scripture, and claim that they're infallible. At any rate, anything they need to be saved should be pretty evident and plainly proven from the Scriptures. Seriously, who could misunderstand us that badly?”
“There. Now we've got a veritable repository of apostolic teaching as it was first communicated in the Church. Hopefully people won't think that in ratifying these books to be Canon, we're declaring that our present collection of disciplines, rituals and doctrines are inessential just because they're not plainly proven from the Scriptures. Obviously, it's best for us to end with Revelation, because it looks forward to the times to come. Hopefully they won't think our placement of the book means that nobody's supposed to preach anything as dogma, that's not plain and provable in the Scriptures. Nah. Who could misunderstand us that badly?

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