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The concept Scripture does not exist within Scripture

The concept of a demarcated, delineated canon of Scripture, does not not exist in Scripture; the slogan “sola scriptura” is a rationalist Protestant imposition from the outside, and this slogan and methodology is a hallmark of under-educated pastors.

Over its first circa 1400 years, the classical confesions of Christianity did not mention the concept of a demarcated, delineated canon of Scripture. The Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon never made statements such that “Books xyz belong in the Bible and the Bible is the inerrant word of God”. Why not? Partly because the thinkers were wise enough to avoid such categorical statements. Church Fathers as well as reformers such as Calvin, knew well that e.g. 2 Peter is a forgery.

Not a single classical CREED of Christianity or Judaism says anything about the “Bible” or “Scripture.”

The First Council of Nicaea (325 CE) stated nothing about the “Bible” or “Scripture.”

The First Council of Constantinople (381 CE) stated nothing about the “Bible” or “Scripture.”

The Creed of Chalcedon (451 CE) stated nothing about the “Bible” or “Scripture.”

The codifier of Torah-law, Rabbi Mosheh ben Maimon (“Maimonides” also known as “The Rambam”), compiled what we call the Shloshah Asar Ikarim, the “Thirteen Fundamental Principles” of the Way of Israel, as derived from the Torah. Two of these ikarim deal with the divine origin of the Torah, but here Torah means the “instructions” or “directive teachings” of the Almighty, given through Mosheh, and not to a book per se.

The Calvinist, Reformed Protestant CANONS OF DORDT (1619) mention the concept “Holy Scriptures” circa 34 times, but without defining and demarcating it.

However, with the Westminster Confession of Faith—a Reformed confession of faith drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards, to be a confession of the Church of England—the era of defining a demarcated, delineated canon of Scripture as part and parcel of confession of faith, became a standard practice. In the Westminster Confesion, we read,

Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these: [66 books listed]… The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God… The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical;[17] so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.

We see that the Westminster Confession of Faith begins with a definition of the Bible’s content. Chapter 1 declares that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, written Word of God. As the Word of God, the Bible is considered “the rule of faith and life.” The Holy Scriptures are said to possess infallible truth and divine authority, containing “all things necessary for God’s own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life”, so that no new revelations or human traditions can be added to it. The Confession of Faith states that, in the original languages, the Bible was kept pure and authentic. Because of this, the Scriptures alone are the church’s final authority in all religious disputes. The confession states that “the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture” is “the supreme judge” of councils, ancient writers, doctrines, and private revelation.

This development is psychologically understandable—it gives certainty to beliefs, to life—it pretends to tame the thereatening monsters of chaos. But it is also a sign of a decline in scholarship and of intolerance. Instead of rationally discussing and investigation the Books in the Bible, their “divine inspiration and canonicity” is now an imposed axiom instead of an ongoing inquiry. Isues that are supposed to be fluid and open are now solidified, postulated, closed — certainly not a monument to civilisation, but a sign of decline and laziness; the imperative to investigate and think is simply outsourced to a written confession.  This cultural phenomenon with its rigid and absolute slogans such as “The Holy Bible is God’s complete and only word to humanity” is termed Fundamentalism — the outsourcing of a responsibility to a written confession.

What did the “Church Fathers” know about the “Bible”? Did they hold to contemporary “Fundamentalist” ideas that the Bible “dropped out of heaven”?

Three of many examples:

  1. The names of the books MARK, MATHEW, LUKE and JOHN were “allocated” to these anonymous works in circa 180 AD by the Church Father IRENAEUS. All the ancient scholars knew this well.
  2. The Church Father Eusebius of Caesarea said about 2 Peter (paraphrased), “this letter is probably a forgery, but many people have come to like it, so let’s leave it at that.”
  3. The Reformer CALVIN said of 2 Peter “I do not recognise the voice of Peter here” and strongly doubted the authenticity of this work.

In short: Scholars always knew he fallible, human side of any human project…

Contemporary “Christian Fundamentalism” is a sign of a lack of scholarship and of cultural decadence. The intelligent person studies 1000 hours and then lectures no more than 1 hour. The ratio {(study-hours) / (talk-hours)} is kept deliberately high, always above 100 and preferably above 1000. In contrast, the windbag “studies” 1 hour and then babbles for more than 100 hours, never double-checking supposed “facts”. When a culture falls into decadence, it follows the windbags and abandons the careful scholars.

Most Fundamentalists practice BIBLIOLATRY—an idolatrous veneration of the “Holy Bible”.

What is the nature of this fundamentalist idol, the “Holy Bible”?

The first part of a Protestant “Bible” is one of many collections of valued sifrei qadoshim (holy books) that grew out of the Way of Israel. Christianity essentially “broke into the Library of Israel, grabbed a single collection of books, ran away with it, and then forgot about the other 9999 excellent books in the library”.  Israel had in the order of 1.2 million prophets, and the writings less than 25 of these prophets are in the TaNaKh; the insights of the other thousands of prophets and seers became part of the oral tradition of Israel — Torah SheBeAlPe — most of which was only committed to writing in the centuries after circa 150 CE.

The second part of the Protestant “Bible” is a chaotic collection of chaotic books, mostly forgeries, given authority by glueing it onto Israel’s TaNaKh, re-naming the TaNaKh the “Old Testament” and naming the concocted collection of incongruous propaganda-material, the “New Testament” and finally calling the 2-part collection the “Holy Bible”.  There’s some good stuff in the NT, but the problem is: “All that is good is not new; All that is new is not good.”

The great sin of the “New Testament” is the crafty & pious initial steps in the smuggling-in of idolatrous practices such as “praying to Jesus” and “worshiping the lord Jesus”—giving a holy façade to idolatry, calling idolatry “salvation”.

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