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cksalmon

Is the Bible self-authenticating?

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On ‎12‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 5:09 PM, cksalmon said:

The idea is that God has uniquely authorized the Bible to serve as our ultimate authority in this life.

Sounds like a terrible idea to me.  The Bible is full of contradictions and ridiculous stories, even going so far as attributing to God evil things.  It is less about some univocal God-voice and more about a compilation of many sources, many perspectives, and many divergent agendas.  That it's elevated to hold authority is nothing short of idolatry.  

On ‎12‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 5:09 PM, cksalmon said:

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.

I haven't read the thread as yet, so I'll see if there is more to comment on.  I don't know that either view is superior. 

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22 hours ago, cksalmon said:

How does your admittedly subjective personal choice to accept, let's say, the Magisterium as your authority regarding X, get you to objective knowledge that X? Or, does it? How does a subjective determination on your part lead to justified true belief that X?

I don't see how your solution provides any surer footing than any other paradigm. It seems as if you're saying (and correct me if I'm wrong), well, at least I can point to something external to myself. But, arguably, I can, too (the Bible). And LDS claim to as well (revelation). 

Yes, deciding on your personal arbiter is a subjective process. You identify someone whose subjective interpretations you believe are God-sourced and treat them as your objective standard. This is the Catholic way and the LDS way, for those who view the LDS prophet as having the last word. These individuals have an external arbiter, subjectively determined, in whom they place their trust. Someone else interprets the Bible for them, someone they believe God appointed to that role.

LDS folks for whom personal revelation is the last word, and Protestants for whom the Bible is the last word, don’t have an external arbiter who has the last word. Since the former rely on testimony, they are their own last word - internal thoughts and feelings are interpreted as caused by God. Unless they allow the prophet to have the last word, the buck stops there. They are their own interpreter. They are their own arbiter. Sola testimony.

It’s no different for Bible-only Christians. Protestants say the Bible is their external ground, that it gets the last word. The Bible doesn’t make sounds and interpret itself for you. You interpret it, which means the external arbiter who gets the last word isn’t the Bible, it’s you, the Bible’s interpreter. Your ‘something external’ turns out to be yourself. You are your own arbiter, unless you voluntarily submit to an external human agent who gets the last word. But then, if you do that, you would cease to be Protestant.

 

Edited by Spammer

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36 minutes ago, Spammer said:

You identify someone whose subjective interpretations you believe are God-sourced and treat them as your objective standard.

So, to rephrase, you make make a subjective decision to treat the subjective interpretations of others as an objective standard based on your personal subjective belief that their interpretations are God-sourced. That just moves the subjectivity upstream one step.

36 minutes ago, Spammer said:

You are your own arbiter, unless you voluntarily submit to an external human agent who gets the last word. But that would be the end of sola scriptura, wouldn’t it?

Yes, voluntarily submitting without question to the subjective (but somehow iron-clad and irreformable) interpretations of other humans would be the end of sola scriptura. You're right about that,  Spammer!

😄

Mind you, I don't have any problem submitting to the biblical interpretations of others, even Catholic biblical scholars (that's a separate issue). Heck, maklelan, an erstwhile LDS poster here even changed my mind on the interpretation of something in Genesis one time.

The problem I have is with submitting to a subjective interpretation that has no possibility of being questioned, interrogated, investigated, or, when necessary (dare I say it?), reformed. But I guess that's one reason I'm not a Roman Catholic. To each his own.

Ecclesia semper reformanda.

Cheers.

Edited by cksalmon

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1 hour ago, cksalmon said:

So, to rephrase, you make make a subjective decision to treat the subjective interpretations of others as an objective standard based on your personal subjective belief that their interpretations are God-sourced. That just moves the subjectivity upstream one step.

Yes, voluntarily submitting without question to the subjective (but somehow iron-clad and irreformable) interpretations of other humans would be the end of sola scriptura. You're right about that,  Spammer!

😄

Mind you, I don't have any problem submitting to the biblical interpretations of others, even Catholic biblical scholars (that's a separate issue). Heck, maklelan, an erstwhile LDS poster here even changed my mind on the interpretation of something in Genesis one time.

The problem I have is with submitting to a subjective interpretation that has no possibility of being questioned, interrogated, investigated, or, when necessary (dare I say it?), reformed. But I guess that's one reason I'm not a Roman Catholic. To each his own.

Ecclesia semper reformanda.

Cheers.

I think you’ll find there’s plenty of questioning, interrogating, investigating and reforming within the RCC and Orthodoxy. The process happens in church councils, which have the final say. Rival councils and factions within them have split the Catholic world, but since it’s generally accepted that only bishops in council have the last word, the potential for fracturing is muted.

Not so in the Protestant world, which makes every Christian and his Bible his own last word. Instead of one pope or binding conciliar decisions, there are billions of popes, all of them with equal authority, since each of them can determine the correct interpretation for themselves. Anytime a Protestant provides an interpretation, asserting it’s the correct one, it’s reasonable to ask ‘oh yeah? says who?’ Since everyone’s an authority, there is no authority. Everyone’s right. It’s a recipe for chaos, which is why I can never be a Protestant. There is no criterion for truth, except personal preference. 

I believe a loving God wouldn’t leave us in that state and must have appointed a human agency to be His official interpreter for human ears - since the Bible doesn’t make any sounds to tell us what God really thinks. 

The trick is to identify which of the claimants is really the one God appointed to that role. You’re right, it just moves the subjectivity upstream, but it makes sense to me that, if God loves us, he wouldn’t give us the chaos that sola scriptura produces. That’s why I went with the Catholic Tradition after ceasing to be LDS. God must have provided us with a human agency, whose job it is to represent Him and have the last word, or having any certainty that our interpretations truly align with His own mind is a pipe dream.

As you said, to each his own. Good conversation! :)

Edited by Spammer

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2 hours ago, Spammer said:

I think you’ll find there’s plenty of questioning, interrogating, investigating and reforming within the RCC and Orthodoxy.

Until a teaching/interpretation becomes irreformable. 

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

There is no criterion for truth, except personal preference. 

I don't accept that characterization, but you're right in the sense that there is more of an onus on the individual to search diligently for truth. More later, perhaps, as time allows. 

 

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

[God] must have appointed a human agency to be His official interpreter for human ears

This appears to be a foundational assumption. If I don't accept your premise here, the rest of the argument falls flat and "damn the torpedoes," as they say.  Yes, there are obstacles and dangers, but if the foundational premise just isn't true ...

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

That’s why I went with the Catholic Tradition after ceasing to be LDS

Not to psychologize you, but I'll admit that makes a certain amount of sense to me given your LDS background. I'm glad you didn't go with atheism, which seems to me be the most common final landing spot for ex-LDS. 

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

Good conversation

Likewise. Thanks. 

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7 hours ago, Spammer said:

Yes, deciding on your personal arbiter is a subjective process. You identify someone whose subjective interpretations you believe are God-sourced and treat them as your objective standard. This is the Catholic way and the LDS way, for those who view the LDS prophet as having the last word. These individuals have an external arbiter, subjectively determined, in whom they place their trust. Someone else interprets the Bible for them, someone they believe God appointed to that role.

I think we can put Calvinist into this group.  After all, they they accept Calvin as their arbiter of scriptures.  He has interpreted the Bible for them.

7 hours ago, Spammer said:

LDS folks for whom personal revelation is the last word, and Protestants for whom the Bible is the last word, don’t have an external arbiter who has the last word. Since the former rely on testimony, they are their own last word - internal thoughts and feelings are interpreted as caused by God. Unless they allow the prophet to have the last word, the buck stops there. They are their own interpreter. They are their own arbiter. Sola testimony.

I suspect that in reality there are very few Protestants study the Bible on their own and are therefore their own arbiter.  I would say that most of the church goers sit in a pew and swallow what is fed.  (If they don't like it they change churches until they find one they like.  Maybe in that way they are their own interpreter, but only in a circumnavigated way.)

7 hours ago, Spammer said:

It’s no different for Bible-only Christians. Protestants say the Bible is their external ground, that it gets the last word. The Bible doesn’t make sounds and interpret itself for you. You interpret it, which means the external arbiter who gets the last word isn’t the Bible, it’s you, the Bible’s interpreter. Your ‘something external’ turns out to be yourself. You are your own arbiter, unless you voluntarily submit to an external human agent who gets the last word. But then, if you do that, you would cease to be Protestant.

I agree, mostly.  As I mentioned above, Calvinist and Lutherans etc. do have an external arbiter.

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6 hours ago, Spammer said:

I believe a loving God wouldn’t leave us in that state and must have appointed a human agency to be His official interpreter for human ears - since the Bible doesn’t make any sounds to tell us what God really thinks. 

Well, kind of.  If the people in general reject the gospel, God will not force it on them.  It is against His nature.  A God appointed human arbiter can only do the people good if they are willing.

The problem with the Christian world it that as a whole they are "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby the lie in wait to deceive", mostly for money or fame.

Paul has described the Lords remedy for this.

6 hours ago, Spammer said:

The trick is to identify which of the claimants is really the one God appointed to that role.

That is the trick, but we are not left without clues.

6 hours ago, Spammer said:

That’s why I went with the Catholic Tradition after ceasing to be LDS.

You went from one human arbiter to another because you believe God would leave us without a human arbiter?

I am not following your logic here.

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50 minutes ago, Vance said:

I think we can put Calvinist into this group.  After all, they they accept Calvin as their arbiter of scriptures.  He has interpreted the Bible for them.

As I mentioned above, Calvinist and Lutherans etc. do have an external arbiter.

Can't speak for Lutherans, but I'm a so-called Calvinist (with regard to soteriology) and a Presbyterian (with regard to ecclesiology), and I don't accept Calvin as a binding arbiter for scriptural interpretation. He wrote some insightful works, but he was far from infallible. So, no.

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40 minutes ago, Vance said:

The problem with the Christian world it that as a whole they are "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby the lie in wait to deceive", mostly for money or fame.

"The problem with the Mormon world it that as a whole they are 'tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive', mostly for the prospect of ruling their own creations." (1)

Does that seem like a fair assessment to you, Vance?

I happen to think my Mormon neighbors are just trying to get by and do the best they can in life, but to each his own. 

---

(1) 

3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I will exist and reign over creations beyond counting when the universe I live in now will be counted as an old story

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52 minutes ago, Vance said:

You went from one human arbiter to another because you believe God would leave us without a human arbiter?

 I am not following your logic here.

No. I went from one arbiter, to atheism, to Buddhism, then back to Jesus. CS Lewis showed the way back to Jesus, but not to any tradition. That took reading the ancient Christian literature of the first three centuries and Margaret Barker’s ‘Great High Priest’. That convinced me that neither the LDS way nor Protestantism can be found anciently. Perceiving the need for an arbiter was icing on the cake and was rekindled by thinking about differences between the ancient Catholic tradition and the modern chaos of Protestantism. That’s just a gloss on a complex process involving many variables. Prayer was not one of them, not until I had first decided to unite with the ancient way I discerned through my research.

Edited by Spammer

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30 minutes ago, cksalmon said:

Can't speak for Lutherans, but I'm a so-called Calvinist (with regard to soteriology) and a Presbyterian (with regard to ecclesiology), and I don't accept Calvin as a binding arbiter for scriptural interpretation.

Then why take upon yourself his name?

30 minutes ago, cksalmon said:

He wrote some insightful works, but he was far from infallible. So, no.

I have not, nor will I claim that a God authorized agent must be infallible.

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16 minutes ago, Spammer said:

No. I went from one arbiter, to atheism, to Buddhism, then back to Jesus. CS Lewis showed the way back to Jesus, but not to any tradition. That took reading the ancient Christian literature of the first three centuries and Margaret Barker’s ‘Great High Priest’. That convinced me that neither the LDS way nor Protestantism can be found anciently. Perceiving the need for an arbiter was icing on the cake and was rekindled by thinking about differences between the ancient Catholic tradition and the modern chaos of Protestantism. That’s just a gloss on a complex process involving many variables. Prayer was not one of them, not until I had first decided to unite with the ancient way I discerned through my research.

So, the scholarship of a Protestant pushed you away from Protestantism.  And here a lot of LDS really love her work.

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25 minutes ago, Vance said:

So, the scholarship of a Protestant pushed you away from Protestantism.  And here a lot of LDS really love her work.

It’s ironic. I read her at the suggestion of an anonymous, online BYU alum who claimed to be pals with Nibley. I read her book after delving into patristics. He suggested that since Barker uses terminology that her LDS readers get excited about that it would help me. Reading her stuff so soon after reading the pre-Nicene church fathers, who all sounded an awful lot like Catholics (which shocked me), wading through her careful documentation of the ancient temple roots of the oldest Catholic liturgies pushed me firmly into the Catholic camp. I was baptized the next year.

Edited by Spammer

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21 hours ago, cksalmon said:

"The problem with the Mormon world it that as a whole they are 'tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive', mostly for the prospect of ruling their own creations." (1)

Does that seem like a fair assessment to you, Vance?

No.  The doctrine is rather clear.  You know the old "16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

  17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
and,
 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

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20 hours ago, Spammer said:

It’s ironic. I read her at the suggestion of an anonymous, online BYU alum who claimed to be pals with Nibley. I read her book after delving into patristics. He suggested that since Barker uses terminology that her LDS readers get excited about that it would help me. Reading her stuff so soon after reading the pre-Nicene church fathers, who all sounded an awful lot like Catholics (which shocked me), wading through her careful documentation of the ancient temple roots of the oldest Catholic liturgies pushed me firmly into the Catholic camp. I was baptized the next year.

There is a lot about the Catholic Church to be admired.  For one, it is a real church, not some nebulous conglomeration of varying congregations.

For myself, I could never swallow the doctrine of the Trinity.  At least (knowledgeable) Catholics will admit that it is a post Apostolic, extra Biblical creation of the Catholic Church. And IF the Catholic Church is the true heir of the Ancient Christian Church, THEN they would be fully in authority to create the doctrine.

I do find it rather humorous that our Protestant brethren reject the authority of the Catholic Church, but swallow hook, line and sinker, the Catholic derived doctrine.

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20 minutes ago, Vance said:

I do find it rather humorous that our Protestant brethren reject the authority of the Catholic Church, but swallow hook, line and sinker, the Catholic derived doctrine.

Yes, they reject the authority of their mother, but accept the Trinitarian doctrine AND the New Testament canon their mother authorized and gave to them. Go figure. It’s ironic.

Edited by Spammer
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3 hours ago, Spammer said:

Yes, they reject the authority of their mother, but accept the Trinitarian doctrine AND the New Testament canon their mother authorized and gave to them. Go figure. It’s ironic.

Not to mention Greek Platonic philosophy that was already 1600 years old during the Reformation, right in the middle of the Renaissance.  

While trying to be "modern" all they did was reflect past errors in my opinion and eschewed what was actually "modern" for their time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16th-century_philosophy

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10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Not to mention Greek Platonic philosophy that was already 1600 years old during the Reformation, right in the middle of the Renaissance.  

While trying to be "modern" all they did was reflect past errors in my opinion and eschewed what was actually "modern" for their time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16th-century_philosophy

All true, apart from that pesky ex nihilo teaching, which is the outlier to the Platonic philosophy’s ex materia creation. Platonic ex materia creation and the Neoplatonic emanationist variant have both been condemned by the Church.

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14 hours ago, Spammer said:

Yes, they reject the authority of their mother, but accept the Trinitarian doctrine AND the New Testament canon their mother authorized and gave to them. Go figure. It’s ironic.

Well the Roman church didn't actually have an official canon until the Council of Trent and to be frank it is anachronistic to think the Roman church defined the canon. That would be like me insisting to Romanists that they should acknowledge that Christ's 12 Apostles were indeed Mormons.   

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2 hours ago, MosiahFree said:

Well the Roman church didn't actually have an official canon until the Council of Trent and to be frank it is anachronistic to think the Roman church defined the canon. That would be like me insisting to Romanists that they should acknowledge that Christ's 12 Apostles were indeed Mormons.   

The Roman canon confirmed at Trent is the same canon confirmed by the Roman church a century earlier at the Council of Florence, which was the same canon confirmed by the Roman church at the Council of Carthage (397), which was the same canon confirmed by the Roman church at the Synod of Hippo (393), which was the very first time a council of bishops from across the Roman church met to officially list and approve a biblical canon for use by the churches.  Hippo confirmed the same canon approved at the Council of Rome in 382, the same year the pope commissioned Jerome to translate the complete Bible into Latin (this is the Vulgate), which, unsurprisingly, contains the exact same books approved at each of the aforementioned councils and in Catholic bibles today.  The Vulgate is still the official Bible of the Roman Church.

So, at each council, an identical list of books affirmed by the Roman church at Trent was declared to be canonical. Trent only officially defined what had already been officially defined by the Roman church as canonical in the 4th century (which, incidentally, is the same list of books listed by Irenaeus, Catholic Bishop of Lyon, in 180 as approved for use in the churches). On occasion, you'll come across a Protestant scholar discussing all of this history, but he typically won't use the word 'bishop' or 'Catholic,' for obvious reasons. Instead, reference is made to 'church fathers' or 'church leaders' who established the canon.  Make no mistake: the 'church leaders' in attendance at those councils and who made all those decisions, were Catholic bishops and going to church with them was like going to a Roman Catholic church today: there were priests in vestments, altars, incense, chanted psalms, and the Eucharist.  

Here's a fun fact.  When the King James version was translated, it was originally published (1611) using the exact same Roman Catholic canon, the same list of books in Jerome's Vulgate.  The Anglican Church was Catholic at the time of the split, after all.  The Anglican church of the KJV translators also had altars, priests, incense and chanting, you know, Catholic worship.  The Anglicans just removed the pope, because the King wanted a divorce and the pope said no.  That means the KJV in every LDS church member's quad originally followed the Roman Catholic canon, until most Protestants later removed the deuterocanonicals, along with priests, altars, incense and chants.  Most still use vestments and all still read the psalms, even if they no longer sing or chant them, as in Catholic usage and the usage of the synagogues and in the ancient temple in Jerusalem, their original context.  You can still purchase an original 1611 KJV, by the way.  I have one.

Regarding Trent (perhaps you're working with the common misconception that the Catholic Church = the Roman Catholic Church), it so happens that the Councils of Rome, Carthage and Hippo took place at a time prior to the 5th century Christological controversies, meaning the Roman canon was defined when the Roman church was still in communion with the other branches of the ancient Catholic Church:  Greek/Byzantine (now Eastern Orthodox), Coptic, and Syriac (now Syrian Orthodox in the West and the Nestorian Church of the East).  Rome and these other churches were all one big church, the one Catholic Church of the martyrs that had survived centuries of persecution, with representatives from each branch meeting in council at Nicea in 325.  The bishops who attended these Roman councils, and the bishops from the other non-Latin Catholic churches who did not attend, were all Catholic bishops. Every branch of the one Catholic Church accepted the New Testament list confirmed at each of the Roman councils, but each of the non-Latin Catholic churches confirmed a slightly different list of Old Testament books at their own councils.  The Orthodox churches use the Septuagint for their OT, quoted by some New Testament authors, and have a few more books than the Roman canon (including an extra psalm).  The Coptic Church has all of those plus the Book of Enoch, also quoted in the New Testament.  That explains Trent.  After Luther sparked the Reformation and removed Bible books he didn’t like, and after Rome and the Orthodox Churches formally went their separate ways (once the final effort to heal the Great Schism failed at the 15th century Council of Florence), Rome officially re-confirmed it's canon, the original Western canon, as the only one to be used in any of the Roman churches.  

So, when I say the Roman Church established the canon used by Protestants today (minus the books Protestants eliminated, without any authority to do so), that's a true statement.  The men making all of the decisions about which books should be included in the Christian Bible used in the West were all Catholic bishops of the Latin (Roman) Rite.  There's no anachronism.

Edited by Spammer
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From the Jerome Biblical Commentary(1964 edition) :

Quote

For Roman Catholics, it was at the Council of Trent that the canon of Scripture received its final definition...The special significance of the decree of Trent is that it is authoritative and conclusive. This was not the first time the question of the canon had been raised in the Church. (p.516)

Now...

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

The Roman canon confirmed at Trent is the same canon confirmed by the Roman church a century earlier at the Council of Florence...

Back to the commentary:

Quote

A complete list of OT and NT books was drawn up at the Council of Florence in a document known as the Decree of for the Jacobites. The intention behind this papal bull, which was aimed at the reconciliation of Eastern Christians, is difficult to evaluate; it does not seem to have the value of a solemn universal canon for the Church at large. The Council Fathers at Trent who adopted the list of Florence, also debated the questions of how binding that list was.  (p.516-17) 

It goes on to read:

Quote

Thus, in assessing the ecclesiastical testimony prior to Trent, we seem justified in considering all this testimony as having lesser force than that of universal Church decisions, even though collectively  it gives witness to the general belief of the Church. This assessment makes it easier to understand the hesitation and doubts uttered within the Church even after the pre-Tridentine decrees had been published. All things considered, it seems best to hold that it was not before the Council of Trent that the canon was firmly and finally fixed-simul et emel-in such a way as to leave no room for doubt.

You go on to say:

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

...which was the same canon confirmed by the Roman church at the Council of Carthage (397), which was the same canon confirmed by the Roman church at the Synod of Hippo (393), which was the very first time a council of bishops from across the Roman church met to officially list and approve a biblical canon for use by the churches.  

For someone who has adopted such an idiosyncratic idea of what constitutes "Catholic" you sure did pick out synods with limited attendance rates whose influence outside a chunk of North Africa and half the Italian Peninsula were pretty limited at best. They didn't keep reinventing the wheel, they were struggling to obtain universal assent from people who thought little about the authority of these ecumenical get-togethers.
 

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

Hippo confirmed the same canon approved at the Council of Rome in 382, the same year the pope commissioned Jerome to translate the complete Bible into Latin (this is the Vulgate), which, unsurprisingly, contains the exact same books approved at each of the aforementioned councils and in Catholic bibles today.  The Vulgate is still the official Bible of the Roman Church.

Pope Damascus only had Jerome work on the New Testament, Jerome didn't get started on the Old Testament until after Damascus died and he fled to the Levant, only deciding to work on the Old Testament then. The Old Testament portion was actually controversial, see the letters from Augustine about people's contemporary reactions. It was only centuries later that versions of Jerome's Old and New Testaments became known as the Vulgate. Just looking at Rome's critical editions of the Vulgate bear all this out.

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

So, at each council, an identical list of books affirmed by the Roman church at Trent was declared to be canonical. Trent only officially defined what had already been officially defined by the Roman church as canonical in the 4th century (which, incidentally, is the same list of books listed by Irenaeus, Catholic Bishop of Lyon, in 180 as approved for use in the churches).


Irenaeus didn't give a list, we derive it by counting the books he cites in his extant works. He also considered the 'Shepherd of Hermas' scripture because he quotes it as scripture in in 'Against Heresies' (4.20.2).  Can't seem to locate that in my Vulgate. You are seeing unity where there simply wasn't.

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

Here's a fun fact.  When the King James version was translated, it was originally published (1611) using the exact same Roman Catholic canon, the same list of books in Jerome's Vulgate. 

That is a fact.

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

The Anglican Church was Catholic at the time of the split, after all.  The Anglican church of the KJV translators also had altars, priests, incense and chanting, you know, Catholic worship.  The Anglicans just removed the pope, because the King wanted a divorce and the pope said no.

Well that depends at which point in Henry the VIII's reign you look and which wife he was divorcing and who he was executing, or which heir had taken the throne. They didn't just get rid of the Bishop of Rome, they replaced him with a King who was not a bishop but was charged with leading and defending the Church. 

2 hours ago, Spammer said:

So, when I say the Roman Church established the canon used by Protestants today (minus the books Protestants eliminated, without any authority to do so), that's a true statement.  

That is anachronistic, even Romanist scholars today will tell you that. 

 

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8 hours ago, MosiahFree said:

You are seeing unity where there simply wasn't.

There was more unity among Roman bishops than you suggest. Sure, it was a process that took time and sometimes it was hard to obtain consensus among bishops, each of whom considered themselves equal in their apostolic authority. There were outliers, e.g. those like Irenaeus who used additional texts. Regardless, no one bishop spoke for the entire church and whenever a group of them did meet in council, the means for establishing doctrine and canonical rules, and the list of books suitable for use in the liturgy was on the agenda, the same list of books was affirmed - consistently - beginning in 382 and at every council that addressed the canon thereafter.

That is the sign of unity that marks an established canonical rule in the Catholic Church: bishops meeting in council to work out differences. That outliers exist doesn’t change the mechanism for establishing canonical rules - conciliar decision making. It was no different when the Church first established the Bible canon anciently.

 

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I have struggled in following all this. I have nothing to add except to affirm that there is no one Protestant, Catholic, Baptist, Anabaptist, or LDS interpretation of scripture, whether inclusive of one book with two testaments; the canonical scriptures for LDS Christians (sustained by the members); or the all-inclusive, but not all-canonical scripture for LDS Christians, inclusive of general conference talks. My faith is founded on the witness of the Holy Spirit in my life. The Spirit speaks to me both inside and outside of the Bible. My faith is restored and renewed as much by my wife's love, a beautiful snowstorm, or a great poem. As a Baptinite or a Mennotist I have been blessed by readings of the BOM. Probably not so much by D&C, and less by POGP. That is just me and my own personal experience. I also enjoy reading general conference talks. They are often excellent sermons, just the same as are those by A.W. Tozer, Billy Graham, and Spurgeon. They are uplifting and inspiring; they are a source of blessing. Why would I deny that? I don't believe they are canonical scriptures any more than a LDS Christian believes they are canonical scripture (until sustained by the members and the apostles). Elder Richards had his 1932 general conference talk stricken from the records of that conference.  So what? I can be blessed and informed by the Holy Spirit using a variety of methodologies, including a wonderful sacrament talk. A terrible sacrament talk does nothing for me; and based on the hall conversations, not so much for many others, either! 😄 I am not really sure the purpose of intent of this thread, but I thought I would simply chime in on my perspective, which may not fit any of your mold or your idea of what other groups believe. That is the great thing about the priesthood of all believers, that LDS Christians probably will never understand! 

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