Marie used 6,600 words to reply to my blog. Let’s see how she did.

You continue to use the term “all Christians” or “all Catholics”. You have stated that it is not “all individuals”, and we know it is not even a majority of early fathers and theologians, much less “all”. So how, exactly, do you define that term relative to the beliefs on the canon through the centuries?

Marie denies the authority of the Church. Instead of simply recognizing what Catholic Church teaches with regard to authority, she chooses to act confused when the issue comes up. I explained this and defined it, with Scripture, in my last blog, so she should simply read that over and over again until she comes to an understanding. She doesn’t have to agree. But the explanation was there for the taking, so I’ll just direct her back there again.

As for the beliefs of the early Church Fathers, the majority accepted the canon of the Catholic Church, which is the canon for St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate.

There were diverse opinions concerning the apocryphal books all the way up to the time of the Reformation. It was then that the Roman Church finally forced everyone to accept her decision on the canon under the threat of condemnation if they refused.

There were a few individuals who hesitated to accept the Deuterocanonical books included in St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (which was completed by about 400 A.D.). However, such examples consist less than 1% of all Christians during a 1,100 year period when 99% of all Christians accepted the 73 book Bible.

When it came time to have an infallible declaration of the canon (at Trent), the Church defined the canon as the 73 books the Church had used since the Bible was first compiled. The Church did not force “everyone” to accept this declaration however, just Catholics. By that time, there were a number of revolutionaries who wanted to start their own religion, so they could choose any books they wanted. Many of them chose to remove 7 books from the canon of the Catholic Church in addition to parts of Daniel and Esther. It is interesting to point out that in the 66 book Bibles, there is no mention of God in Esther. You have to look in a Catholic Bible to find the entire book of Esther, where you will also see references to God. 

And it wasn’t even the Septuagint that Trent canonized, making an impossibility of the claim that “all Catholics” have “always accepted” what was “infallibly” defined in the 16th century.

Marie is going to have to explain this statement further. I’m not sure what she’s talking about here.

Before getting into those details and moving forward with my response to your statements, however, let’s take a step back on one critical issue and examine a few facts. First, we know with certainty the Hebrew canon did not include the apocryphal books (I prefer to use Jerome’s term) because the New Catholic Encyclopedia (an official organ of the RCC) explicitly states this fact: “The protocanonical books of the Old Testament correspond with those of the Bible of the Hebrews, and the Old Testament as received by Protestants.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm  We also have this from an older Catholic Encyclopedia: “For the Old Testament, however, Protestants follow the Jewish canon; they have only the Old Testament books that are in the Hebrew Bible” (vol II, ‘Canon, Biblical’, Washington D.C.: Catholic University, 1967, p. 29). But you seem to be in disagreement with the above statements from the NCE. You said, “The Catholic Church did not add anything to the OT canon. It has merely recognized the canon that was also recognized by many (but not all) Jews.” Can you provide the references to back up this claim? The Hebrew canon today does not include the apocryphal books. So are you suggesting that it once did but the books were later removed? If so, when were they removed? What documentation do you have?

First, the New Catholic Encyclopedia is a publication from a Catholic university in the U.S.A. While it is fine to use it as a resource, it is not infallible, it probably is not inerrant and it is certainly not all-inclusive. With that clarification I’m content agreeing with the above statements (the one immediately above, not all prior statements of Marie). However, there is a distinction between the “Hebrew Bible” and the Old Testament canon. A little explanation as to what I mean when I refer to the Hebrew Bible, click Here. So no references or documentation is necessary because Marie was simply mistaken as to what I meant.

And who were the “many” Jews that recognized the apocryphal books? There is no evidence, for example, that the Alexandrian Jews held to a broader canon than those in Palestine. We can get into that more deeply if you like, but for now I’ll include this from biblical scholar F.F. Bruce: “It has frequently been suggested that, while the canon of the Palestinian Jews was limited to the twenty-four books of the Law, Prophets and Writings, the canon of the Alexandrian Jews was more comprehensive. There is no evidence that this was so: indeed, there is no evidence that the Alexandrian Jews ever promulgated a canon of scripture.” (F.F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988), pp. 44-45. See also Roger Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), pp. 382–386)

Actually, I was referring to the Alexandrian Jews and there is ample proof that the Alexandrian Jews recognized the Deuterocanonical books as canonical and this is agreed upon by numerous Protestant scholars, such as Protestant historian JND Kelly who wrote: “It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the twenty-two, or twenty-four, books of the Hebrew Bible of Palestinian Judaism. It always included though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocrypha, or deuterocanonical books. For the great majority, however, the deuterocanonical writings ranked as Scripture in the fullest sense.” (Early Christian Doctrines)

Kelly is not alone, and he is joined on this issue, by Catholics of course. A succinct explanation of this can be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia

Moreover, Jesus encountered the religious leaders of His day in numerous debates over canonized Scripture, but never once did any of them claim not to know what comprised the canon of Scripture. Jesus held them accountable to knowing Scripture and not once did any of them deny knowing a particular passage was included in the Word of God.

That shows that even the Jews who followed only the first five books, were very knowledgeable of the Septuagint. 

They were losing debates left and right against the Son of God. If they didn’t know the canon, why didn’t they just say so? Why didn’t they claim ignorance? That would be the easiest way out of losing their debates, would it not?

They were losing the debates because they were debating the author of the book. Jesus had a bit of an advantage in the debates. You know, being God and all… 

As for why Jesus’ challengers did not simply claim ignorance of Scripture? It looks to me like it was a combination of pride and ignorance. They didn’t know what they didn’t know and they were too proud to say so even if they knew they didn’t know it.

The truth is, they never questioned the books Jesus quoted as Scripture because they already knew what Jesus quoted was in fact Scripture. They knew the Hebrew canon. That was never an item of discussion.

And Jesus quoted from the Septuagint about 80% of the time… which included the Deutero books. 

Second, we know that God entrusted His Old Testament oracles to the Jews (Rom. 3:2). Despite your preference, this cannot be dismissed quite so easily.

Rom 3:2 reads: “Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” There is no dispute that the Old Testament came to us through the Jewish people. All 46 books were written by Jewish writers under the inspiration of God. Marie’s selected verse does not eliminate any of the 46 books of the Old Testament, nor does it vouch for any of them.

If your boss comes in on Monday morning and says something to the effect of, “Last year I entrusted Project A to Jane, and this year I am entrusting Project B to Bob,” what right do you have to then meddle in Jane’s business on Project A from last year? Absolutely zero. Similarly, God entrusted His Old Testament oracles to the Jews (Rom. 3:2) and He entrusted His NT gospel to the apostles (I Thess. 2:4). The same Greek word for “entrusted” is used in both verses and carries the same meaning. Just as you would have no authority regarding Project A in the example, no one, including the RCC, has the authority to change the canon of the Jews.

Somehow Maria’s reasoning is to bring you to the conclusion that Martin Luther was “entrusted” with determining the canon. I jest. We all know that is ridiculous. But we also know that neither Rom 3:2 nor 1 Thess 2:4 tell us anything about the canon. This makes sense because when St. Paul was writing his letters and epistles, other books of the Bible were still being written as well. This may be one reason why God didn’t specify the canon of the Bible in the Bible. He gave us a way to do that once the Bible was complete. We call that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. (1 Tim 3:15). The very same Church who received its authority from Jesus Christ: “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Mt 18:18-19)

So when you claim that certain early church fathers were simply stating what they believed were the books of the Hebrew Bible, this is precisely why they did that. They had Paul’s letter to the Roman Church; they KNEW the inspired statement of Paul indicated a body of divinely authoritative writings produced through the Jewish nation.

Not actually. The real reason the early Church Fathers spoke of the Hebrew Bible was because some of them were dealing with criticism from Jews who considered fewer than 46 books to be the inspired Word of God. My previous discussions of Athanasius and Jerome contain their explanations.

You tried to dismiss this with, “This is important, because as a Catholic, the opinions of the Jews was considered, but not definitive.” And, “Since we are talking about the Christian Bible, we should stick to Christians or at least those ancient writers who commented on Christianity.” How about sticking with the Holy Spirit, Bob? I presume you would agree He carries more authority than ancient writers. The inspired Word of God contradicts your statement and declares the opinions of the Jews WERE definitive (Rom. 3:2). That was God’s sovereign decree and the RCC has no authority to change it. These two facts alone would be enough for a reasonable person to conclude that the apocryphal books do not belong in the canon of Scripture, no matter what the Roman Church says. But there’s much more.

Romans 3:2 does not say what Marie thinks it says. I simply cannot explain it over and over again, but maybe I can try it in a different way. Romans 3:2 simply recognizes that the OT was written by Jewish writers, under the inspiration of God. It does not say that there are fewer than 46 books in the OT. 

The apocryphal books contain historical errors and heresies. I’ve only named one of each so far, but there are several others. You readily admitted that the statement in the book of Judith was an obvious historical error. The Holy Spirit, however, 1) does not inspire error and 2) does not contradict Himself. He would not include historical stupidities in the inspired Word of God. You attempted to justify a known and obvious heretical teaching from the Apocrypha by appealing to it as allegedly belonging to the Old Testament. This doesn’t help your cause, however, because the heresy that alms giving purges all sin contradicts the OT, too. Also contradicted by the truly inspired Word of God is the apocryphal claim that honoring one’s father atones for sins (Sirach 3:3). Really, Bob? You believe this nonsense? Wow. The clear and consistent testimony of the truly inspired Scripture is that atonement for sin is made only by a blood sacrifice. You should be ashamed for trying to support a known heresy using the words of Jesus Christ, the one whose very blood was shed for the atonement of sin.

Hey, Jesus said it, not me. I’m sticking with Jesus. Marie can continue to quote things without any relevance to their context if she wants. Good luck with that Marie. 

Why do you believe the Holy Spirit inspires historical stupidity, heresy, and contradictions in His Word?

This is how Marie regard Scripture. Sad.

Finally, just to bring attention to the obvious, you previously claimed the Catholic canon is “inerrant and totally inspired”. And now you are reduced to making excuses for the errors (which means it is not “inerrant”) and the heresies (which means it is not “totally inspired”). Fascinating.

Marie sounds angry now. However, as any Christian knows. Scripture must be interpreted. Here is what is fascinating: Marie interprets it on her own, which interestingly, is unscriptural. “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation..” (2 Peter 1:20) When it comes down to understanding Scripture, it is best to turn to the wisest, most learned and most gifted Christians. People like Augustin, Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux… I could go on and on as the list is inexhaustable. Marie chooses to ignore all of this wisdom and rely on Marie. Therefore, I offer resources and thoughts from people who wrote the textbooks now studied by people who are working toward PhD’s and Marie calls the information “excuses”. Am I guilty of violating Matthew 7:6?

In addition to all of the above, we also note the majority of leading theologians within the Roman Church throughout the Middle Ages and all the way up to the Reformation who followed Jerome in the rejection of the apocryphal books as inspired by God.

Marie keeps saying this as though she thinks mere repetition of a claim makes it true. It doesn’t and it isn’t. 

You said, “In any event, her argument here is disproven by the fact that the Deuterocanonical books are included in all the Bibles produced prior to the 16th century. They are also listed in the canon in all Church documents that address the canon of the Bible.” I thought you had been reading my prior posts. I never claimed that the apocryphal books were not circulated with canonical Scripture. They were, however, separated and distinguished from the truly inspired Scripture.

Unfortunately I have read all of her posts. She fails to accept the fact that all Bibles included the Deutero books and none of them differentiated between the Deutero books an the rest of the books based on things such as inerrancy, being inspired by God, etc… If Marie is to be believed (and we know that is not the case) the Bibles printed before the 1500’s would have contained warnings, cautionary remarks, notes and statements, which explained that certain books were not inspired and inerrant Scripture. 

So, we have these facts:

I just need to clarify that “we” don’t have the same facts. I have facts and Marie has a mixture of facts, wishes and misperceptions. But for sake of giving Marie her chance, here is her list of “facts”. Fact #1

The Hebrew canon did not include the apocryphal books.

Correct. The Septuagint did contain the Deutero books. And as I explained in my previous blogs, Jesus and the apostles used the Septuagint. Marie’s “fact” #2

God entrusted His Old Testament oracles to the Jews just as He entrusted the NT Gospel to the apostles.

Thankfully she didn’t cite Romans 3:2 again here. But to be clear on what St. Paul meant: God inspired Jewish writers to write the OT. Marie’s 3rd “fact”

Anyone who adds to His Word will suffer His rebuke and be shown as a liar (Prov. 30:6).

Correct. She got one right! Marie’s 4th “fact”

The apocryphal books contain historical errors and heresies which precludes them from being inspired by God.

Marie takes Scripture out of context, ignores the genre and ignores other Scripture in order to make this claim. I explained this one last time around. That is good enough. Marie’s 5th and 6th “facts”. 

The apocryphal books were separated from truly canonical Scripture by leading theologians in the Roman Church all the way up to the Reformation. They were not officially added to the canon by the Roman Church until the 16th century at the Council of Trent.

Some theologians and saints sounded hesitant to consider the Deutero books part of the canon, but some have been wrongly portrayed so because they were merely recognizing what some of the Jews considered canonical. Marie plays this weak hand far to frequently. 

Secondly, all Bibles contained the Deutero books for over 1,100 years. If the Deutero books were not recognized as part of the canon, the Bibles would have had fewer than 73 books or they would have had all kinds of disclaimers as the the reliability of the Deutero books. 

Why would a reasonable person, then, believe the apocryphal books to be inspired Scripture?

It is nice that she asks a reasonable person. 1,600 years of the best and brightest minds in the world all agree that the 73 book Bible is the Bible. I’m siding with the smart ones and the saints. 

He wouldn’t, unless he was Catholic and therefore forced under the threat of condemnation to blindly follow the decision of fallible men.

She got me there. Clearly I haven’t thought this through. I suspect that anyone diligent (maybe crazy is a better word) enough to read my blogs, will see that I have thought this through. Maybe more thoroughly than the vast majority of Christians in the past 40 years.

So I’m going to do some slash and burn on a few of Marie’s “observations” now. She makes a bunch of statements and challenges that are off topic. These darned blogs are long enough without having to chase rabbits down holes…

But you accused me of being general in reference to this late work of Jerome, so let’s clear that up:

Jerome, “Against Rufinus”, Book II:

Marie proceeds to provide quotes that she purports to come from St. Jerome, but when I go to Against Rufinus Book II, there is no such quote. Either she cited the wrong source or she foolishly relied on a non-Catholic commentary again. Either way, I’m moving on to what Maria calls a “flip-flop” on Athanasius.

 

You originally said that Trent ratified the canon of Athanasius (obvious error) and that the Church has never wavered on the 73 books since Athanasius listed what he considered to be the correct canon (obvious error).

Marie chooses to overlook the fact that there is a New Testament canon and an Old Testament canon. Athanasius laid out the 27 book New Testament Canon which combined with Origen’s Old Testament canon gives us the 73 book canon. Canon, canon and canon. No error. 

You tried to recover from your erroneous statements by asking, “Did I say that Athanasius listed the 73 books infallibly declared the canon at Trent?” Yes, actually, you did. You said, “I also know of no Bible prior to Luther, which contained any canon different than the canon first set forth by Athanasius” and “You simply fail to recognize that Trent ratified Athanasius and every Council after Athanasius, which considered the canon”. If no Bible prior to Luther contained any canon different than the canon set forth by Athanasius, then no canon prior to Luther contained the apocryphal books. You were certainly under the impression that Athanasius included the apocryphal books when he listed the canon. You clarified this by stating, “Trent ratified Athanasius.” So, yes, you certainly did say it and you were entirely wrong when you did so. You now realize your error, however, so we do have progress.

Marie is wrong again. However, I contributed to her misunderstanding. I should have been clearer in what I meant. But with thousands of words flying back and forth in this dialogue, such things happen. Hopefully this clarification helps the rest of the discussion. 

Regarding the fact that Athanasius used the Septuagint but did not include the apocryphal books in the canon, you said, “Actually “We” don’t note that. Maria does, but she only speaks for Maria. What I note is that Athanasius identified the Old Testament canon that was accepted by the Jews he knew. Athanasius did not declare what the Christian Old Testament canon was at the time.” I thought you previously said the canon of Athanasius was the one always followed by the Church up to, and including, Trent? More evidence of your massive flip flop.

I was more specific here, noting that Athanasius gave us the New Testament canon. But Marie feigns ignorance in order to give the illusion of a flaw in my explanation. But you see what I’m saying here even if Marie acts as though she doesn’t. 

You then tried to force in your opinion that after Athanasius listed the books of both Testaments and said “Let no man add to these”, he was only referring to the NT. Good try, but your fallible opinion on the matter is irrelevant. If we simply let Athanasius speak for himself, we note the following: Athanasius listed the OT books by name in one paragraph, he listed the NT books by name in the next paragraph, and then in a third paragraph he made a few statements regarding those lists:

  1. These are the fountains of revelation
  2. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness
  3. Let no man add to these or take from these

We know that he is still focused equally on the OT in the third paragraph in two ways:

1)            He says “in these alone is contained the doctrine of godliness”. If he is not speaking also of the OT Scripture, your argument moves to assuming Athanasius did not believe the doctrine of godliness was found in the OT inspired Scriptures. Can you substantiate that?

2) He specifically refers to the OT canon when he speaks of the Scriptures of the Jews.

And so when he says “Let no man add to these”, he is speaking equally of the OT inspired Word of God.

Apparently Marie believes that my opinion is the only infallible opinion in this discussion. Be that as it may, her analysis on this is not persuasive. Marie has thoroughly proven the fact that she is highly skilled at taking things way out of context. Actually, this isn’t a skill, it is a significant weakness. Now it is Marie who is trying to portray herself as the queen of context. I’ll just say what I said the first time as that aptly explained this issue: The selected quote from Athanasius is contained in a paragraph that discusses the New Testament, not the Old Testament.

Moreover, just to make sure his audience is clear, in the very next paragraph Athanasius specifically named the books that were NOT in the canon: The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd.

As I explained last time, this is the Jewish canon, based on the Jews he knew. Athanasius was not defining the Christian Old Testament canon as Origen had already done that. Athanasius was focusing on the New Testament. 

Speaking of Athanasius, you said, “…he certainly accepted more than the 66 books later chosen by Martin Luther”. Of course. I stated this in a prior post from several days ago: “He did include Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah as additions to canonical Jeremiah. Despite these additions to the canonical works, however, Athanasius believed that these 22 books ALONE were the divinely inspired OT Scriptures from which the Church was to draw her doctrine of salvation.”So, as I’ve said numerous times, the apocryphal books were circulated with the canonical Scriptures even though they were not considered inspired by God.

Since Marie is so focused on the Old Testament books liste by Athanasius, she should accept these other books as canonical. But Marie only wants to recognize Athanasius as far as she thinks he helps her personal argument. The inconvenience of context is not going to get in her way either. But since she brings up the reference to the 22 book Old Testament again, I’ll go back to the fact that Athanasius was reciting the beliefs of the Jews he knew. He was not defining the Christian Old Testament canon. Marie then launches into a discussion as to why she thinks Origen’s Old Testament canon was not adopted by Trent. In a nutshell, she concludes (her explanation is very hard to follow, so I apologize if I have this wrong) that part of Ezra was included by Origen and Jerome, but not by Trent. She’s goin to have to spend more time on this point as I don’t think it is persuasive, but I’m open to hearing more about it. She does provide some references to Catholic sources which support a position that I have not disputed in this discussion: Trent difinitively defined the canon of the 73 book Bible. This is true and uncontested in this discussion. The point in dispute is whether Trent pulled the 73 books out of midair or if they ratified the longstanding practice and understanding of the Catholic Church up to that point. My conclusion is that Trent did not manufacture a new canon. Trent looked at all the facts and found that the 73 books that make up the Catholic Bible, were already the longstanding books of the Bible. 

Marie can stomp her feed and sputter all she likes, but the fact is, Trent ratified the 73 book Bible that had been accepted by the Church and therefore, all Christians, for centuries before Martin Luther came along and alleged something different.

After this, Marie ignores the overwhelming evidence and tries to focus on specs of evidence in order to argue her position. Instead of admitting that no 66 book Bibles existed before the 16th century, she moves to another individual Catholic who she believes hesitated to accept the 73 book Bible, St. Cyril of Jerusalem. 

Cyril of Jerusalem is an important witness. He was a bishop of one of the most important sees in the early church and, from a Roman Catholic perspective, part of the “infallible” teaching magisterium. He was responsible for instructing catechumens in the basics of the faith and his “Catechetical Lectures” were written for that purpose. The “Catechetical Lectures” is a very large volume which deals with the entirety of everything necessary for the catechumens to believe.

Unlike Marie, St. Cyril did not speak for everyone. He was one bishop, a very good one, but only one. And no single bishop in the Church can speak infallibly, nor can he speak for the universal Church. When he was speaking with (the key word here is “with”) the rest of the bishops, he participated in the infallible teaching authority of the Church, but his own personal opinion, understanding or belief could not, on its own, create doctrine. 

And what does Cyril say? “…have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings”. And these, of course, would be anything outside of the 22 books he named. He was obviously incorrect for including Baruch, but he wasn’t as schooled in the Hebrew as was Jerome. This, of course, is why leading theologians all the way up to the Reformation followed the teaching of Jerome.

Once again, Marie cherrie picks what she wants out of Cyril’s statements. Is she taking things out of context too? Probably. I dont’ have the time to keep chasing her allegations down in order to explain how she’s wrong. We simply have to proceed with the presumption that she is wrong until she proves otherwise. Her efforts thus far give us the right to do this because with each argument, she has proven her lack of credibility. So what does Cyril mean when he says “apocryphal”? He might actually mean books that are not in the canon. As we have seen with other Church Fathers, there were books that they described as “apocryphal” and often, if not usually, these were not the Deuterocanonical books. We’ll see what Marie says about this. 

You tried to justify all of Rome’s unbiblical traditions by resorting to the writings of the church fathers. The thing is, though, TRUE apostolic succession is teaching and preaching what the apostles actually taught and preached. We have an inspired history of the first century church of the apostles in the book of Acts.

Unbiblical? What does Marie mean by unbiblical? Oh the fun I could have pointing out the unbiblical teachings she probably follows. And billions of pages of blogs could be spent pointing out that all the Chuch says and does is biblical. But that is for another time.

Not only Acts, but Hebrews, Romans, 1 Peter, 2 Peter…, all give us glimpses of what the apostles taught and preached. There are also many other records that give us information on this too. We don’t have to rely solely on scripture because one does not have to be inspired by God to know what people were saying and doing at various points in history. 

In the THAT church, you will not find: priests offering sacrifices for sins;

Actually we do find that in the early Church. Numerous early Church Fathers wrote about the Mass and specifically the fact that the Mass was a sacrificial offering. A great resource to learn more abou this is a book titled The Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilina. In his book, Aquilina cites to numerous sources to show that Marie is “out to lunch” on this issue. Marie goes on to provide a long list of Church teachings that she claims are recent inventions. She’s wrong on each point, but this discussion is not about all the teachings of the Catholic Church, it is about the fact that the Bible Marie has today, is available to her only because the Catholic Church has compiled, protected, reproduced, interpereted… Scripture for nearly 2,000 years before Marie came to be. 

Her conclusions are nothing more than a recitation of Lorraine Boettner’s unsubstantiated claims which he set out in a book in which contains almost no citations to any authority other than the wild imagination and flawed assumptions of Lorraine Boettner. 

As I’ve said, the modern RCC looks nothing like the church of antiquity. Moreover, she officially went apostate in the 16th century when she began anathematizing the truth of the Scriptures.

Marie is going to have to give some specifics to explain this broad conclusion. 

You said, “Most certainly? Another overly aggressive statement that likely betrays the weakness of the argument. Also, Marie’s definition of the “church” is not accurate. The Church is the body of Christ, which includes all the baptized, not just theologians, bishops and cardinals.” You call it “overly aggressive” and yet you offer nothing to substantiate your opinion. Less than impressive. Your fallible opinion is irrelevant.

I could have pointed Marie to 1 Cor 12:27, but I overestimated her familiarity with Scripture. Marie continues to wander off-topic, so I’m going to skip over her inaccurate ramblings so we don’t get bogged down with a treatise on 2000 years of Christian teaching. 

You ended with, “The funny thing about Maria’s argument is that she accepts 66 books of the Catholic canon without even stopping to consider the fact that she wouldn’t even have those 66 books if it were not for the Catholic Church.” The OT canon was entrusted by God to the Jews (Rom. 3:2); it is the Hebrew canon that we are therefore to accept as divinely inspired. The Hebrew canon excludes the apocryphal books.

Oh, the Romans 3:2 reference again… Marie remains oblivious to the fact that she may be aware of 59 books of the Old Testament if the Catholic Church had not protected the Bible, but she would not have any of the New Testament. In other words, Marie would not know Christ if it were not for the Catholic Church (assuming she knows Him now) because few if any fragments of the New Testament would exist today and those that did, may have been corrupted by heresy.  

And we know from the inspired Word of God that the Scriptures were once-for-all delivered to the Saints in the first century (Jude 3). The shape of our New Testament canon was not determined by a vote or by a council, but by a broad and ancient consensus by early Christians who were already converted through the Word (James 1:18, I Pet. 1:23). These early Christians were under the conviction and illumination of the Holy Spirit from the writings of the Apostles and oral teachings of Jesus long before any Council pieced together the Bible.

Marie can say this because the Catholic Church defined the canon and then protected, translated, copied and distributed it to Christians for centuries. But nothing she says diminished the strength of my argument.  

The canon of the Roman Catholic Church, however, was not infallibly defined until the 16th century at the Council of Trent. That’s quite a long time to be without a set of inspired Scripture, wouldn’t you agree?

We had the inspired scripture all along. And the only way to identify what was inspired and what wasn’t, was to listen to the Catholic Church, so while I agree and always have agreed that the canon was not infallibly declared until the 16th century, all Christians (except for Marie apparently) acknowledge that the Bible existed for centuries before Trent and it was the 73 book canon of Jerome’s Vulgate which was finished in the early 400’s.

You said, “Hence the need for the Church Councils who met and defined the canon based on the entirety of Christian knowledge and tradition at the time.”Just which church councils determined the books of the Hebrew canon for the Jews? How did a godly Jewish man, living 50 years prior to the time of Christ, know (for example) that Isaiah and II Chronicles were inspired Scripture?

I’m not really interested in discussing what the Jews considered canonical, especially given the fact that Marie tends to misconstrue things like this so easily. We know how we got the Christian Bible though, so we’ll just keep our discussion to that topic. 

The truth is, we have the Bible today in spite of the Roman Catholic Church. During the Middle Ages at the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church forbade anyone to even have a Bible in their hand. If you went to a confessional at that time, your sins could not be forgiven unless you returned the Bible to the Church.

I wonder if Marie can provide a cite to this one…

The Bishops of the Catholic Church not only placed the Bible on the list of forbidden books, they also outlawed private interpretation of Scriptures and called for all Bibles to be burned.

And these two…

Pope Alexander III labeled those who read the Bible as heretics. Pope Paul IV prohibited the possession of translations without permission of the Inquisition. The Jesuits induced Pope Clement XI to condemn the reading of the Bible by the laity. Popes Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI and Pius IX condemned Bible Societies.

People can say anything, even lies. People can even repeat lies of others as though they purport the truth. If these claims of Marie’s are true, she can point me to Church documents that will prove them as true. Since she is alleging these were official actions of the Church, there will be very clear Church documents on these things. Let’s see if she can do it. If not, she’s either lying or she’s propagating a lie manufactured by someone like Lorraine Boettner. Up to this point, Marie has been taking things out of context, citing to sources that either don’t exist or don’t say what she thought they said and using cut and pasted arguments from anti-Catholic Protestants, which have no supporting basis. But now she has made specific allegations about the Church’s mistreatment of the Bible. I know her claims are not true, and I think you will agree once you see that she is unable to come up with evidence to support these lies.