AndDontCallMeShirleyThis is one of the great contradictions of Watchtower reasoning.
BIGGIE I in fact pray throughout the day perhaps 8-10 times a day I pray to God through Jesus that the canonicity of the 27 NT books and collated by Constantines Nicean bishops is a HUGE problem.
I tell God this all day long! BIGGIE problem
"Apostasy took root and flourished" (WT, July 15, 2013, page 18)
More-this is the most important thread to me here at JWN in 5 years!
The whole cannonicity of the 27 books being approved by God is HUGE.
How did/could/would God use paganized catholic bishops prompted by murderous emperor Constanine (saw the cross in the sky telling him to slaughter) to collate his word?
It makes me breathless...
The idea that there was One True Form of Christian Worship and that Apostate Christianity set it at some point is yet another JW construct that came tumbling down when I took a closer look. Such a thing never took place. It was the Wild West back then with about a gazillion sects with all sorts of wacky ideas, thus the ambiguities and contradictions you find in the NT.
Why would he use them under inspiration to copy accurately in a way we could guarantee gives us the literal word of god? Why would he use them via the Holy Spirit to choose the true inspired books written under inspiration as if by gods own hand? But, then he couldn't keep his name in the bible. EVERYTHING else is true! 100% certainty. He just couldn't keep his name in there.
Hellacious is my favourite new word!
The Watchtower has staunchly argued that the Greek Scripture canon was firmly in place by the end of the first century. However, I don't recall any support ever offered to back this up.
Although a great apostasy had already begun by that time, evidently there may have been some anointed ones who resisted apostate Christendom and were able to compile the books of the Bible successfully. Jehovah's direction enabled the wicked ones of the "weed class" to then enact what anointed ones had already decided upon! What miraculous evidence that God has preserved his Word until today!
Hi Doug! Interesting topic. You said:
It is now known that these 4th century Christian Church Fathers made mistakes, as several of theNT writings were prepared long after the supposed Apostle had died. Will the WTS be consistent and resurrect all writings from that period and make their own decisions on which writings to accept as Scripture (including those not currently part of the NT Canon) and which to reject, such as those falsely attributed to an Apostle, including 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, the Pastorals, 1 and 2 Peter?
The Apostle John and the Apostle Paul never died, so the above statement is a moot point. Note 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18. The early Christian congregation understood that some of them would die off and then come back in the first resurrection and some of them would be chosen never to die and would live and "survive" down to the Lord's Day. Paul includes himself in the surviving group. The question before Paul by the congregation was whether either group would go to heaven before the other? So Paul explains...
1 Thess. 4:15 "For this is what we tell YOU by the Lord’s word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep [in death]; 16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. 17 Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with [the] Lord."
So this confirms there would be some from the 1st Century who would not die, as Christ said elsewhere that some would not die until he returned. Now I know you don't accept certain things in Scripture or the gospels, but I first became aware of this when Paul himself was pointed out to me by holy spirit. At first I wasn't quite sure since I had thought Paul had died per the Bible. So I rushed home to check out what the scriptures said and came across 1 Thessalonians where Paul clearly includes himself among those who would not die but who would SURVIVE down to the Lord's day, which would happen 2520 years after the fall of Jerusalem and thus in the 20th Century regardless of what specific date you think Jerusalem fell! 607, 587 and 529 BCE yield 1914, 1934 and 1992 -- your choice! That's still a long time to be alive, but Paul does use the word "SURVIVE" which is very much reflective of the length of time they would remain alive. So not only has Paul never died, but I've seen him personally.
Of course, you can't believe me nor the Bible. But just wanted to let you know what some of the elect believe and thus we apply this to how the canon developed and who put together all those letters of Paul. Paul, being alive, was in a position to shepherd the final canon of the Bible.
But speaking of the Bible canon, it turns out that the NT Bible writers cross-quoted from all the OT books, which is considered a criteria by the WTS for authenticity. Here is what they say regarding this in the "Insight" book under "Apocrypha:"
Additional ancient testimony. One of the chief external evidences against the canonicity of the Apocrypha is the fact that none of the Christian Bible writers quoted from these books. While this of itself is not conclusive, inasmuch as their writings are also lacking in quotations from a few books recognized as canonical, such as Esther, Ecclesiastes, and The Song of Solomon, yet the fact that not one of the writings of the Apocrypha is quoted even once is certainly significant.
I came across this reference based on my own research when I discovered that the Book of Esther was certainly not inspired. Further, the Song of Solomon likewise is clearly pagan in origin! Thus it woudl seem that the NT Bible writers in a way, established their own internal canon by cross-quoting from the OT works. Those works did not include the three books of Esther, SOS and Ecclesiates, two of which are clearly uninspired, pagan and/or non-historical!
So there is another "canon" to consider, which is the internal canon of books that are quoted from by the NT Bible writers, which exclude Esther, Ecclesiates and Song of Solomon. So this was quite a relief to see that a couple of books that I knew were of pagan influence were not cross-quoted by the NT Bible writers, thus giving me a basis for excluding them as inspired or part of the "apostolic canon"?
Thanks for your research and an interesting topic!!
The canonicity of the Bible has been a topic of longstanding interest for me and so I am very glad to see this thread. I want to contribute a few thoughts on this and ask questions as well but will do so later. For now I will say that two of the accepted canonical books I’ve always had trouble with are Song of Solomon and Philemon. The former is passionate, even sublime, love poetry. But it certainly has no place in the accepted catalogue. It contributes nothing to our understanding of God and his purposes regardless of how grand and beautiful its language is. As for the latter, I don’t see how a letter that was nothing more than personal correspondence between Paul and a fellow believer should ever have been considered divinely inspired.
I have grown distrustful of any and everything the WTS has published on this topic. The scholarship and reliability of WTS research are quite low and I am looking further afield in my study. The Internet has been a great help as have some resources with local colleges and universities in metropolitan Denver. Clearly, I have much to learn and I look forward to some exciting discoveries. As for the Bible itself, I hold it in the highest regard. The question I now face with it is distinguishing what can be called “inspired” from the thoughts and opinions of its writers which are not inspired. I still read the New World Translation; but it is only one of many translations I consider. The New English Bible and the Jerusalem Bible are two of my current favorites, especially the Jerusalem Bible because I still believe that the Divine Name should be rendered as such and not replaced with titles and adjectives.