Review: The Canon of Scripture by Bruce, F.F.

In his paper: The canon of scripture, Bruce F.F. argues for the 66 books of the Christian Bible as the ultimate authoritative revelation by pointing out other contrasting Christian positions such as Roman catholic and liberals and showing how the objections to the protestant canon are not valid. This review articulates the author's main positions or themes in his paper and interacts with them, by supporting some of his positions as well as disagreeing with some of them with well-reasoned arguments. The author points out three positions within the realm of Christendom on this topic: the Protestant position, the Roman Catholic position and the Liberal position. He discusses these three positions as follows:
The protestant position holds that the 66 books of the Bible comprised of the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament, which are the ultimate revelation for Christians. The author supports his position on the protestant canon as being final and authoritative revelation by breaking the evidence into two different sections. There is the Old Testament support where Jews give support historically and Jesus and the New Testament writers attest to the protestant Old Testament as being accepted as part of the canon. In addition, there are about 295 quotations of the OT in the NT but not one single quote from one of the other writings of the Jews including the Roman Catholic Apocrypha. There is also the New Testament support where scripture is written as God works through redemptive history and where apostles are the main writers of the new scriptures.
The Roman Catholic position affirms the 66 books of the protestant Bible and several apocryphal books as part of the canon. They also believe that the church and Pope are to give the correct interpretation of the Bible since the Roman Catholic Church was in existence before the bible was completed. The author points out that to the Roman Catholic Church the Pope is part of the canon and is infallible and therefore equal to or above the scripture.
The Liberal position poses a challenge to the traditional protestant view by asserting for the expansion of the New Testament canon by adding the alternative views expressed in writings by early part of Christianity. Some scholars argue against the authority of the protestant canon and claim that Christianity was pluralistic from the beginning thus leaving room for additions and deletions from it. According to the author, we must brush these attempts aside as the work of the early church was not to pick some writings and give them divine authority. He also asserts that the protestant canon has undergone nearly two thousand years of acceptance and recognition by the church and as such, it is difficult to argue against the divinity of these texts.
I conquer with the author's assertion that there are about 295 quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament but not one single quote from one of the other writings of the Jews including the Roman Catholic apocrypha. These writings are also inconsistent with the New Testament, and the Jewish people who wrote them did not accept them as authoritative. Such an argument is strong and factual therefore making the protestant support convincing. He gives the example of Luke 24:27 where Jesus taught of Himself using the protestant old testament. Another example is in Luke 4:17 where Jesus read the scroll of the prophet Isaiah that talk about Him. If these were not the acceptable scriptures of the Jews, He would not have taught from them.
I also support the author's claim that the apostles were the main writers of the New Testament scriptures. These men were once who were either close to Jesus during His ministry or were called into apostleship by Him. Others were close to the apostles that were empowered by the Holy Spirit to write the scriptures. This confirms that their writings were true and reliable as they gave first hand information either from Christ or the Holy Spirit. These early church fathers therefore were in a better position as to know which writings would be included in theNew Testament canon. Therefore, other writings that are not consistent with the approved New Testament canon should not be added as Liberals suggest.Nevertheless, the author's position concerning the removal of some of the established New Testament writings, which seem to contradict other books is baseless and fact less. He argues that we must brush these attempts aside since the work of the early church was not to pick some writings and give them divine authority but to recognize God's writings and affirm them as scripture. He does not explain the methodology/criteria the early church used to distinguish between what was God's writing and what was not thus overlooking man's ability to reason. The book of James, for example, contradicts other books in the protestant canon in its teaching about faith. While James presents a doctrine of justification based upon works, Paul affirms that justification comes by faith alone, not by works.
He also claims that it is difficult to argue against nearly two thousand years of acceptance and recognition by the church that these protestant texts are divine. I can boldly aver that the author's claim is not logical as he is only trying to justify his position while we know very well that time and acceptance do not make a flaw correct. This conclusion lies upon assumptions for which there is no clear evidence and terms, which lack definition.
In conclusion, the author would not be wrong to conclude that the protestant canon is the true scripture. Compared to the Liberal and the Roman Catholic positions, his support for the Protestant position as the correct set of canonical writings is strong and may leave no other choice except its acceptance. However, the author must clearly demonstrate a more complete understanding of the three positions. He must also provide proper evidence convincingly in his assertions in order to compel the reader to accept his argument.

Bruce Fyvie Frederick, 2008. The Canon of Scripture. On-line. Available from Internet, 8/the-canon-of-scripture-part-3/, accessed 18 February 2008.

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Review: The Canon of Scripture by Bruce, F.F. 9.6 of 10 on the basis of 1685 Review.