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cksalmon

Is the Bible self-authenticating?

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mfbukowski on Baptists' belief in the Bible's truthfulness:

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I have never met one who has even thought about why they consider the Bible to be "God's Word" they simply accept it without a reason. So if any of our Baptist friends want to answer that, I am open to a discussion.

I think mfbukowski is largely correct in his assessment. I wouldn't say all Baptists manifest this sort of unreflective acceptance of the Bible. But he said he's never met one who doesn't. Fair enough.

A couple of caveats: I'm no longer a Baptist. The guys I'm about to quote are also not Baptists. Having said all of that...

One strategy for bolstering the concept of inspired scripture—but bear in mind that adherents to this strategy would probably never call it a "strategy"—is to suggest that the Bible is self-authenticating (or, if you want to be fancy, autopistic—enterprising souls can look up the etymology).

Calvin:

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Let it therefore be held as fixed, that those who are inwardly taught by the Holy Spirit acquiesce implicitly in Scripture; that Scripture carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit. Enlightened by him, we no longer believe, either on our own judgement or that of others, that the Scriptures are from God; but, in a way superior to human judgement, feel perfectly assured – as much so as if we beheld the divine image visibly impressed on it -that it came to us, by the instrumentality of men, from the very mouth of God. We ask not for proofs or probabilities on which to rest our judgement, but we subject our intellect and judgement to it as too transcendent for us to estimate. This, however, we do, not in the manner in which some are wont to fasten on an unknown object, which, as soon as known, displeases, but because we have a thorough conviction that, in holding it, we hold unassailable truth; not like miserable men, whose minds are enslaved by superstition, but because we feel a divine energy living and breathing in it – an energy by which we are drawn and animated to obey it, willingly indeed, and knowingly, but more vividly and effectually than could be done by human will or knowledge.

 

Now, that sounds a whole lot like "I believe it in my heart," or "God revealed it to me." No doubt some Mormons could easily claim Calvin's sentiments for their own faith in BoM, etc. This certainly problematizes interfaith proselytizing for Baptists (and Reformed folks, too).

The notion of the Bible's autopisticity has evolved to some degree in Reformed circles. Michael Kruger  is a good guide here:

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But what exactly do we mean when we say that the canon authenticates itself? Upon first glance, a self-authenticating canon may seem to refer to the fact that the canon claims to be the Word of God (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 22:18–19), implying that all we can do is accept or reject that claim. Although Scripture’s testimony about itself is an important aspect of biblical authority (and will be discussed more below), we will not be arguing that the canon is authenticated simply by virtue of the fact that it says so. That is not how the phrase will be used here. Others may hear the phrase “self-authenticating” and recognize it as a reference to the traditional Reformed view that the books of Scripture bear evidence in themselves of their own divinity. As a result, some may assume that a self-authenticating canon means that our model will be concerned only with the internal qualities of these books and that external data or evidence plays no role in the authentication process. While we certainly agree that these books do bear internal marks of their divinity (indeed, this will be a core component of the model put forth below), this does not mean that outside information has no place in how the canon is authenticated. We shall argue that when it comes to the question of canon, the Scriptures themselves provide grounds for considering external data: the apostolicity of books, the testimony of the church, and so forth. Of course, this external evidence is not to be used as an independent and neutral “test” to determine what counts as canonical; rather it should always be seen as something warranted by Scripture and interpreted by Scripture.

Thus, for the purposes of this study, we shall be using the phrase self-authenticating in a broader fashion than was typical for the Reformers. We are not using it to refer only to the fact that canonical books bear divine qualities (although they do), but are using it to refer to the way the canon itself provides the necessary direction and guidance about how it is to be authenticated. In essence, to say that the canon is self-authenticating is simply to recognize that one cannot authenticate the canon without appealing to the canon. It sets the terms for its own validation and investigation. A self-authenticating canon is not just a canon that claims to have authority, nor is it simply a canon that bears internal evidence of authority, but one that guides and determines how that authority is to be established.

Of course, for some who are used to a more foundationalist epistemology, the idea of a self-authenticating canon of Scripture might seem a bit strange. We tend to think that we are not justified in holding a belief unless it can be authenticated on the basis of other beliefs. But as we have already noted, this approach overlooks the unique nature of the canon. The canon, as God’s Word, is not just true, but the criterion of truth. It is an ultimate authority. So, how do we offer an account of how we know that an ultimate authority is, in fact, the ultimate authority? If we try to validate an ultimate authority by appealing to some other authority, then we have just shown that it is not really the ultimate authority. Thus, for ultimate authorities to be ultimate authorities, they have to be the standard for their own authentication. You cannot account for them without using them.

 

If this strikes you as circular reasoning, you're not alone. That's the Roman Catholic assessment as well. (I don't think that criticism holds much water coming from RCC.)

But it strikes me that Mormons can't (and don't want to) make the same sort of claim about BoM (etc.) as Kruger does about the Bible. For Mormons, scripture isn't the ultimate authority. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would characterize the difference between Mormons and Protestants on the topic like this: For Mormons the ultimate authority is the agent (the Spirit) who authorizes; for Protestants the ultimate authority is that which has been authorized by the Spirit.

Now, before this devolves into a neener-neener we've-got-the-Spirit-and-you've-just-got-a-book thing, my point is subtler than that. The Protestant idea is not that the Bible is our ultimate authority and God isn't. The idea is that God has uniquely authorized the Bible to serve as our ultimate authority in this life.

Does my rambling have a point? Is the Protestant view superior to the Mormon view?

Tune in tomorrow to hear me out. I'm out of time for tonight.

Edited by cksalmon
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21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Sure it's self-authenticating if you want to put it that way!

I call that a "circular argument"  ;)

That's not bad- but it is a fact, a tautology like "all bachelors are unmarried"

 

 

You see, this is where you go all wrong.  Charles Batchelor, for example, was a Batchelor both befoe and after he married Rosanna Donohue. I haven’t done the research, but I expect that something similar could also be said for his father James.

https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/charles-batchelor_60667761

 

 

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I think that Jesus answered that is a way when he said "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." (John 5:31-32).

Glenn

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3 hours ago, cksalmon said:

But it strikes me that Mormons can't (and don't want to) make the same sort of claim about BoM (etc.) as Kruger does about the Bible. For Mormons, scripture isn't the ultimate authority. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would characterize the difference between Mormons and Protestants on the topic like this: For Mormons the ultimate authority is the agent (the Spirit) who authorizes; for Protestants the ultimate authority is that which has been authorized by the Spirit.

 

The problem I think is that this is a "distinction without a difference"

I think the difference is purely semantic because there is no way to know 1) That there IS a "spirit" (for skeptics) as distinguished from "What the spirit authorizes". 

It is kind of like the difference between "what Joseph Smith says" vs "What God authorizes Joseph Smith to say"

There is no way to know which statements are one or the other- or if the body of statements is one or the other- "God Breathed" or human statements of what God told the prophet- whomever it is.

It just moves the problem from one place to another but does not answer the question of verification- it simply moves it from the Author (Father) to the "agent" (The Spirit) and then we have the problem of the Trinity- that all three beings are one "substance" so really the division between the two is not a division at all

On the other hand we can call the Bible its own authority- but then how do we know that without keeping essentially the same problem- how do we know the authority of the alleged "authority"?

Authority by definition - in my opinion- requires someone or something which creates a structure of authority

Unless of course I decide to rule the world and you are all my slaves!!

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Now, before this devolves into a neener-neener we've-got-the-Spirit-and-you've-just-got-a-book thing, my point is subtler than that. The Protestant idea is not that the Bible is our ultimate authority and God isn't. The idea is that God has uniquely authorized the Bible to serve as our ultimate authority in this life.

 

Great!  I will accept that!!  ;) .....   IF you can solve just one tiny problem for me....how do we KNOW God has authorized the Bible to serve as our ultimate authority- and NOT the Holy Ghost (ie- God himself)?

You still have the same problem again shuffled somewhere else.

But note that we have in some ways changed the equation and in some ways not- we have changed it to how one "knows" where the authority lies because that is ultimately what determines one's responsibility for "knowing it".   

How do you know you are "saved" to use the Protestant term?  Where do you place your trust?

For me I am the only one who can make that decision so I must have my own "authority" to know that- because in some sense I feel I will be accountable for it.

If I get to the judgement seat and God says "You blew it!!  I tried to tell you that Zoroastrianism and the Avesta are true scriptures and you did not listen!!  I will have no one to blame but myself.

So will Protestants blame the bible for getting it wrong or themselves??  ;)

Honestly that is the question for me.!    How do you KNOW as you stand before God that you did the best you could taking someone else's word for it if you do not know for yourself in your heart??

Why should you believe the bible has its own authority?   If you blow it you cannot blame it on the bible- you have only yourself to blame

Now again I agree with you that the Scriptures are "true" in our context but I take on myself the responsibility for knowing that, of myself, in my own heart with God testifying to me that this is the path.

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Does my rambling have a point? Is the Protestant view superior to the Mormon view?

Tune in tomorrow to hear me out. I'm out of time for tonight

 

Well you know where I stand on that one!

Catch you later- same time same station!  ;)

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, ksfisher said:

You see, this is where you go all wrong.  Charles Batchelor, for example, was a Batchelor both befoe and after he married Rosanna Donohue. I haven’t done the research, but I expect that something similar could also be said for his father James.

https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/charles-batchelor_60667761

 

 

Dang my head is spinning!!!  ;)

 

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4 hours ago, cksalmon said:

Is the Bible self-authenticating?

Not remotely. Such a mentality is self-defeating.

4 hours ago, cksalmon said:

 For Mormons, scripture isn't the ultimate authority.

God is the ultimate authority.

Not any book.  To hold scripture up above God is completely missing the point of scripture.  And I have seen it done to the extent where "idol worship" is a correct label for it.  Obviously not done by all Protestants, but a small (vocal) minority.

4 hours ago, cksalmon said:

Now, before this devolves into a neener-neener we've-got-the-Spirit-and-you've-just-got-a-book thing, my point is subtler than that. The Protestant idea is not that the Bible is our ultimate authority and God isn't. The idea is that God has uniquely authorized the Bible to serve as our ultimate authority in this life.

That doesn't make any sense.  

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5 hours ago, cksalmon said:

for Protestants the ultimate authority is that which has been authorized by the Spirit.

The Protestant idea is not that the Bible is our ultimate authority and God isn't. The idea is that God has uniquely authorized the Bible to serve as our ultimate authority in this life.

Would you say that this was done "once" (or?) within historical time, and doesn't have to be "redone" for each individual person?  I actually love what you've described here and I can see it (although my own view of the Bible probably wouldn't match anyone's here of any flavor).

Because there is this sense of EACH person finding out for himself (in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), in the course of their own life.

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Rarely now someone claims to have found a hitherto unknown Stradivarius violin. This has the potential to be a very important and lucrative discovery. The label inside the instrument may say “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis faciabat Anno 1713,” but before it can be accepted as authentic and valuable, it must be authenticated by a recognized appraiser....probably even more than one. A violinist may play it and demonstrate it’s gorgeous tone, sensitive responsiveness, and powerful projection, but those are no proof it is a Strad.

Anyone can paste a label in a fiddle and try to pass it off as a Stradivarius, so experts must look for specific traits and characteristics of the Master’s instruments that have been documented over centuries of careful measurements, observations, study, and proofs of pedigree and provenance. Not all appraisers may agree, but if those conditions are verfied by sufficient recognized authorities, then the instrument will be judged as genuine and a value will be attached. The violin may indeed be genuine and priceless, but it cannot authenticate itself.

Now comes the Bible. How can it authenticate itself as a genuine work of the Master without the interposition of outside witnesses..... human and/or divine? 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Rarely now someone claims to have found a hitherto unknown Stradivarius violin. This has the potential to be a very important and lucrative discovery. The label inside the instrument may say “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis faciabat Anno 1713,” but before it can be accepted as authentic and valuable, it must be authenticated by a recognized appraiser....probably even more than one. A violinist may play it and demonstrate it’s gorgeous tone, sensitive responsiveness, and powerful projection, but those are no proof it is a Strad.

Anyone can paste a label in a fiddle and try to pass it off as a Stradivarius, so experts must look for specific traits and characteristics of the Master’s instruments that have been documented over centuries of careful measurements, observations, study, and proofs of pedigree and provenance. Not all appraisers may agree, but if those conditions are verfied by sufficient recognized authorities, then the instrument will be judged as genuine and a value will be attached. The violin may indeed be genuine and priceless, but it cannot authenticate itself.

Now comes the Bible. How can it authenticate itself as a genuine work of the Master without the interposition of outside witnesses..... human and/or divine? 

 

I had an interesting journey with respect to both the Bible and Book of Mormon.  Interesting to me, at least.  Allow me to bore everyone for a few moments.

Because of my mother's death when I was 7, my father had to put me with his grandmother until he could reestablish a home, and she occasionally sent me to a local church (because she had limited mobility and couldn't drive). She also read to me out of the Bible.  Thus I acquired a certain degree of "believing" with respect to the Bible.  I wouldn't have called it a "testimony" of the book.  After my father remarried, my new stepmother would sometimes take my little brother and I to her church, which was a "General Baptist" congregation, although she was only an occasional churchgoer.  So I got a little 'formal" education in Christianity and the Bible.

And then along came the Latter-day Saints.  I was in the 8th grade, and while walking home from school one day in the spring of 1965 I made the acquaintance of Kent, another young man at my school who happened to be LDS. In the course of our initial conversation he made it known that he was a Mormon, and since I was interested I asked him questions about it, and ended up walking about a half mile past my normal turning listening to him tell about the Book of Mormon and the Nephites and the Lamanites.  At the end of the next school day, I hurried to the place where I first met him and waited (we didn't share any classes).  Soon he appeared and we conversed further about the church, and this time I walked nearly to his house, which was a mile past where I would normally have turned off to go to my house.  The next day I waited for him again, but instead of a long walk with a gospel conversation, this time he invited me to come to his house to meet the missionaries.  Which I did.  It took me a year to get baptized, but it happened.  Incidentally, Kent was the most dedicated member missionary I have ever seen. It wasn't just me who met with the missionaries at his home.  At the time, there were at least three others taking the discussions with me, all from his efforts.

I had not read the Book of Mormon all the way through by the time I was baptized.  I had also not prayed specifically about it, per Moroni 10:3-5, at least to that point.  But I recognized later that I knew it was true from virtually the moment that Kent told me about it.  It "felt" real -- there was a stamp of authenticity to it.  I am certain that the Holy Ghost drew me to this conclusion.  I have sometimes said that I didn't know the Bible was the Word of God until I knew that the Book of Mormon was true -- because the Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible.  But that may not be entirely the case, and as for those who learn about the Bible and read it, what stops them from being likewise "drawn by the Spirit" towards a conviction of its divine status?  In other words, "have a feeling" about it.  

The notion that because the Bible describes historical people, places and events it must be the Word of God is ridiculous.  One might as well accept To Kill a Mockingbird as scripture, because of the same thing.

The only true stamp of authenticity is the testimony of the Holy Spirit.  

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46 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

The notion that because the Bible describes historical people, places and events it must be the Word of God is ridiculous.

 

 
That’s true. However, because the Bible does describe actual people, places and events, corroborated independently by believers and skeptics alike, it’s easier to wonder whether the Bible really might be the word of God and give faith in Christ a try. That’s a lot harder to do if can’t be shown with any certainty that Jerusalem, Jews or Romans ever existed - kind of like someone asking you to have faith that aliens built the pyramids. 
Edited by Spammer

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56 minutes ago, Spammer said:
 
That’s true. However, because the Bible does describe actual people, places and events, corroborated independently by believers and skeptics alike, it’s easier to wonder whether the Bible really might be the word of God and give faith in Christ a try. That’s a lot harder to do if can’t be shown with any certainty that Jerusalem, Jews or Romans ever existed - kind of like someone asking you to have faith that aliens built the pyramids. 

You're correct about that, of course.

But the Book of Mormon doesn't claim to be a primary work, like the Bible is.  It relies upon the Bible, and is the Bible's second witness in two parts: a witness of the Bible's provenance; and a witness of the divinity and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  One can reject the Book of Mormon without rejecting the Bible, but one cannot reject the Bible without simultaneously rejecting the Book of Mormon.

I expect that archaeological proof of the Book of Mormon's historicity (which I believe in, incidentally) will be forthcoming in the future, but not before the Second Coming of the Lord. 

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15 hours ago, cksalmon said:

If this strikes you as circular reasoning, you're not alone. That's the Roman Catholic assessment as well. (I don't think that criticism holds much water coming from RCC.)

I'm just going to respond to this bit. What does it matter that Catholics agree with a criticism? Catholics can see just as well as anyone else that it is in fact circular reasoning. Besides, the Bible never makes any claims to be it's own authority. It couldn't because it is a compilation of different books put together after the fact.

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3 minutes ago, mapman said:

I'm just going to respond to this bit. What does it matter that Catholics agree with a criticism? Catholics can see just as well as anyone else that it is in fact circular reasoning. Besides, the Bible never makes any claims to be it's own authority. It couldn't because it is a compilation of different books put together after the fact.

...and, in fact, it’s a compilation put together after the fact by Catholics. The canonicity of the compilation is not self-authenticating but rests on the authority of the compilers to declare it to be canonical. Remove that plank and the authority of the Bible crumbles. 

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

One can reject the Book of Mormon without rejecting the Bible, but one cannot reject the Bible without simultaneously rejecting the Book of Mormon.

Just a few thoughts.

The Bible’s authority rests on the authority of the Catholics who established the canon to do so. If the Catholic Bishops who established the canon lacked authority from God to do so, then the canonicity and authority of the Bible collapses. Does that mean the BoM should also be rejected?

If the Catholic Bishops who established the canon had established a different canon, say replacing the synoptic gospels with the gnostic gospels, would the BoM be a witness to the authority of that canon?

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15 hours ago, cksalmon said:

But it strikes me that Mormons can't (and don't want to) make the same sort of claim about BoM (etc.) as Kruger does about the Bible. For Mormons, scripture isn't the ultimate authority. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would characterize the difference between Mormons and Protestants on the topic like this: For Mormons the ultimate authority is the agent (the Spirit) who authorizes; for Protestants the ultimate authority is that which has been authorized by the Spirit.

I think this is right.

That said, I wonder if The Book of Mormon might be tangentially "self-authenticating" in a limited sense.  

Because the Bible’s historical transmission can be discerned and explained naturalistically (that is, without any necessary reliance on “divine” intervention in the transmission of the text), the known antiquity of the Bible is not probative of its status as scripture (any more than the known antiquity Homer’s Illiad is probative of the Greek Pantheon).  This is why skeptics of the Bible find little or no persuasive value in archaeological artifacts presented as “evidence” for the Bible’s status as scripture and record of miraculous events.  After all, Homer’s Illiad has a historical pedigree tracing back to antiquity, as well as some archaeological verification.  This does not mean, however, that the descriptions of the supernatural in Homer's work are factual.  As one atheist fellow put it: "The only thing all those ancient bible sites prove is {that} the Bible is a really old fraud."
 
In contrast, The Book of Mormon is differently situated from the Bible.  There is a built-in gap in its historical transmission, consisting of some 1,400 years from when Moroni buried the plates to 1823, when the plates were re-discovered by Joseph Smith, Jr.  This “transmission gap” effectively precludes a naturalistic explanation of the text’s antiquity.   If that is so, could its lack of a traceable historical pedigree + some archaeological verification actually work in its favor? Skeptics are not persuaded that the Bible's historical pedigree or archaeological finds (like the discovery of the Pool of Siloam in 2004) mean anything precisely because those things are discernable without looking to God for an explanation (just like we can discern the historical pedigree and/or archaeological verification of The Illiad, The Epic of Gilgamesh, etc.).

However, the Book of Mormon belies these assumptions. There is a built-in gap, a giant one, in the transmission process for that book. So if (and this is a really big "if") we someday discover persuasive archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon (evidence of toponyms, for example), then the argument used against the Bible wouldn't work.  The argument would be that the gap in the historical transmission of the text could only be bridged by divine intervention. So archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, if found, would have a far more persuasive impact on the veracity of that book's truth claims than would archaeological evidence for The Bible impact that book's truth claims.

 Put another way, the antiquity and truth claims of The Book of Mormon are intertwined, such that evidence of the former may  simultaneously be evidence of the latter.  In other words, there could be a measure of self-authentication at work.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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I think this is a fascinating discussion, but unfortunately I have to cut my end of it short.

My wife caught me posting here again, and knowing how prone I was in the past to spend so much of my limited time on this board, has reasonably asked me not to get sucked in again. I'm inclined to do as she wishes and step away.  (She threatened to sign up here again and remind me on all my duties to wife and kids on each thread I started if I didn't comply :)). 

Thanks to everyone who offered their thoughts, especially to mfbukowski who gave me food for thought with his assessment of Baptistic belief in the Bible. 

A few brief final thoughts:

(1) I've come to the conclusion that there is no phenomenological difference that I can see between most Protestants' faith in the Bible as God's word and most Mormons' faith in BoM as God's word. 

(2) That's why I thought a more nuanced discussion comparing the idea of ultimate authority (as it relates to Scripture and Spirit and the intertwining of the two) could have been so interesting. 

Until some other time, adieu.  

 

 

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No. It’s not.

 

but it does tell you the key to finding out whether it’s true

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5 minutes ago, Avatar4321 said:

No. It’s not.

 

but it does tell you the key to finding out whether it’s true

Not understanding your response, to which post is it?

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9 minutes ago, cksalmon said:

My wife caught me posting here again, and knowing how prone I was in the past to spend so much of my limited time on this board, has reasonably asked me not to get sucked in again. I'm inclined to do as she wishes and step away.  (She threatened to sign up here again and remind me on all my duties to wife and kids on each thread I started if I didn't comply :)). 

Please make this happen.

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7 hours ago, Spammer said:

Just a few thoughts.

The Bible’s authority rests on the authority of the Catholics who established the canon to do so.

No it doesn't.  The Bible does not acquire its authority from men.  Just because a conclave of men decided which parts of the extant body of scriptural writings were to be accepted as canon does not confer any more or less authority to the chosen set of works of scripture than the scriptural writings had in the first place.  

7 hours ago, Spammer said:

If the Catholic Bishops who established the canon lacked authority from God to do so, then the canonicity and authority of the Bible collapses. Does that mean the BoM should also be rejected?

Find me a scriptural warrant for establishing a canon of scripture.  There isn't one.  God never gave authority to anyone to decide what works to accept as "canon". 

Let's pause for a contextual definition: "canon" comes from Ancient Greek κανών (kanṓn, “measuring rod, standard”), and in this context means "A generally accepted principle; a rule." 

Who makes that rule?  Man or God?  Man!  Whether a particular writing is accepted is a choice by fallible humans.  And those fallible humans might have chosen incorrectly.  The Latter-day Saints reject the canonicity of the Song of Solomon.  Well?  Does this invalidate the Bible?  Not by a long shot.  And let's not get into the argument over whether the SoS was put into the Bible in error.

7 hours ago, Spammer said:

If the Catholic Bishops who established the canon had established a different canon, say replacing the synoptic gospels with the gnostic gospels, would the BoM be a witness to the authority of that canon?

If your aunt had the Y chromosome she'd be your uncle.  If I had a million dollars, I'd be a millionaire.  If a meteorite struck your car while it sat out in front of your house you'd need a new car.

See, I can propose hypothetical ifs just like you can.  

Do I gather from your first statement that you doubt the canonicity of the Bible as we have it now, because Catholic Bishops who had no authority to do so, did the deed? Or did they have the authority?  And if so, where, pray tell, did they get it from?

By the way, which of the various canons do you, Spammer, subscribe to as correct?  Just curious.  Because Paul writing to Timothy, once wrote "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim 3:16)  So what do you consider scripture?

 

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2 hours ago, Stargazer said:

No it doesn't.  The Bible does not acquire its authority from men.  Just because a conclave of men decided which parts of the extant body of scriptural writings were to be accepted as canon does not confer any more or less authority to the chosen set of works of scripture than the scriptural writings had in the first place.  

Find me a scriptural warrant for establishing a canon of scripture.  There isn't one.  God never gave authority to anyone to decide what works to accept as "canon". 

Let's pause for a contextual definition: "canon" comes from Ancient Greek κανών (kanṓn, “measuring rod, standard”), and in this context means "A generally accepted principle; a rule." 

Who makes that rule?  Man or God?  Man!  Whether a particular writing is accepted is a choice by fallible humans.  And those fallible humans might have chosen incorrectly.  The Latter-day Saints reject the canonicity of the Song of Solomon.  Well?  Does this invalidate the Bible?  Not by a long shot.  And let's not get into the argument over whether the SoS was put into the Bible in error.

If your aunt had the Y chromosome she'd be your uncle.  If I had a million dollars, I'd be a millionaire.  If a meteorite struck your car while it sat out in front of your house you'd need a new car.

See, I can propose hypothetical ifs just like you can.  

Do I gather from your first statement that you doubt the canonicity of the Bible as we have it now, because Catholic Bishops who had no authority to do so, did the deed? Or did they have the authority?  And if so, where, pray tell, did they get it from?

By the way, which of the various canons do you, Spammer, subscribe to as correct?  Just curious.  Because Paul writing to Timothy, once wrote "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim 3:16)  So what do you consider scripture?

 

I’m an orthodox, Catholic Christian, whose bishops stand in the apostolic succession, from which they derived their authority to establish the biblical canon centuries ago, the criterion of which was what had always been deemed suitable for use in the Liturgy by the churches. In other words, it’s scripture because the God-appointed bishops in my tradition said so.

On that ground, for instance, I accept the four traditional gospels and reject the gnostic gospels.

What’s your criterion? How do you choose among the many claimants and identify what’s scriptural? Let’s stick with my hypothetical. If Catholic Bishops had not included the synoptic gospels in the canon, but went with the gospels of Thomas and Philip instead, it’s reasonable to conclude they would now be in every Christian’s Bible, yours included. Would you deem them scripture? Why or why not? On what ground? Or do you already deem them so?  

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Bibliolatry.

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 David Bokovoy  has done a really challenging interview on the Mormon scriptures on Mormonstories. Most interesting were his comments on Isaiah. 1 &2 and possibly 3 parts.   I thought listening to David how much the LDS church has changed, can there be unorthodox views alongside the orthodox. He mad some strong arguments for the multiple Isaiah   question.

Edited by aussieguy55
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