“Grace and Truth”: How the NT Describes the NT Canon

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, by Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier (c. 16th century)

We can find NT passages that refer to a completed OT canon (Matthew 5:17–18; 23:34–35; Luke 24:44–45; Romans 3:2; 2 Timothy 3:14–16). But we look in vain for NT passages that identify a completed NT canon. This shouldn’t surprise us since during the writing of any NT book to which we might appeal, the NT canon as an organic whole had not yet been completed.

But this fact raises an important question: Where must we look for a witness to a completed NT canon?1 The Church of Rome has an answer to that question. According to Rome, what the Church declares is NT canon is NT canon. Indeed, they use this as one of their arguments for the co-dependency and co-authority of Scripture and tradition. The church’s authority is grounded in Scripture, but Scripture’s authority depends on the authority of the church. For this reason, Catholics argue, we must base our doctrine of a completed NT canon on church tradition.2

1190 reads

The Canon Is Closed: The Cessation of Special Revelation

Reposted from It Is Written. Read Part 1.

I believe the gifts of NT prophecy and tongues served an important but provisional role in the founding of the New Covenant community. To establish this thesis I will need to demonstrate two premises: First, scripture-quality revelation has ceased. Second, NT prophecy and tongues are forms of scripture-quality revelation. The first premise, which is the focus of this post, is (generally) affirmed by all parties. This fact is critical in that it clarifies the real point of the debate and helps us to avoid mischaracterizations.1

Major Premise: The Canon Is Closed

Special revelation reaches its ultimate historical goal in the apostolic witness to the person, words, and work of Jesus Christ. And this inspired apostolic witness reaches its final covenantal form in the canonical writings of the New Testament. Since special revelation has reached its ultimate goal and final form, the church should not expect any more scripture-quality revelation until the bodily return of Christ. I develop this argument with some detail in my three-part lecture series “The Necessity of Scripture.”2

5476 reads

The Book of Revelation: How Difficult Was Its Journey into the Canon?