The Foundation of Orthodoxy and the Cannon
Presented to Dr. Keith Goad of
In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for
Brittany N. Askew
February 6, 2012
06 February 2012
The process by which Scripture has been preserved and compiled is one whose history is worth noting. The early church had many opportunities to share the Good News of Christ via word of mouth, but from the time of Christ’s resurrection until the mid-second century, there had not been a single culmination of writings considered to be essential for the purposes of teaching and spreading the Gospel. Increasing heretical opposition in conjunction with the need for a standard of living to follow gave rise to the formation of the New Testament Canon; however, this would not come without multiple false teachers and many arguments over what would classify as “inspired by God”. To seek the answer to one of history’s most important questions, we must understand what the canon is, how it was inspired and to whom authority was given in determining what would be included in such Holy Scriptures. The Canon
It is important to note that in order to accept the canon as Holy and the very Word of God, there is a presupposition that must come first. In order for this book to carry any value, we must first assume that there is in fact, a God, and that He is Holy, Righteous, and Creator of all things. Without this assumption, there would be no need for the canonization process. After this assumption, we must ask where the letters, teachings, and written laws came from. Who wrote them and what gave the authors the authority to claim their writings as inspired by God? The first individuals to write any significant teachings concerning Jesus and His followers were the apostles. These men lived and breathed among the time when Jesus walked the earth. They followed Him in word and deed. After the resurrection of Christ, the apostles “opposed heresy and taught the truth by both word of mouth and the written pages.” After the death of the apostles, the church accepted their writings as authoritative due to the “divine commission” the writers received from Christ. In essence, they were eye witnesses to the glory of the Lord Jesus. “They were channels through which God gave man divine revelation.”1 These men were significant, and God would choose to use them to proclaim His message. The apostle Paul wrote many of the books/letters that we see in the New Testament today. There is evidence that Paul's letters had been collected by churches in several geographical locations by the end of the first century C.E. His letters to various churches in Rome are some of the earliest manuscripts to be included in the formation of the canon. In addition to Paul’s letters, several individuals compiled a collection of the sayings of Jesus, his teachings, and his many astounding deeds. These writings would be arranged in a manner that accounts for the way we see the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) presented today: some chronologically and others based upon the content of teaching. Like the letters of Paul, these gospels, along with other writings, were collected by various churches.2 With many of these writings emerging forming quite the library, the church was rapidly becoming an educated body. It became clear that there needed to be some form of an official list of books (canon) that could constitute as the ones most inspired by God and written by individuals whom He had directly given authority. Marcion
Marcion was the first individual to make an attempt to formulate some sort of canonical literature for the early Christian church. His lists included many of the writings of Paul and Luke. However, issues arose when Marcion proposed that the church do away with the sacred...
Bibliography: Elwell, Walter, A. “Slippery Slope Argument.” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2. 2001.
[ 4 ]. Elwell, Walter, A. “Slippery Slope Argument.” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2. 2001.
[ 5 ]. Justo L. Gonzalez, “The Deposit of the Faith.”The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation 1. 1984, 69-81.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document