Due to some comment moderation snafus, the conversation was sort of disemboweled right when it was getting good and Devin pulled out but the comments are worth repeating.
If God did not protect the “historical selection process” of the Church from error in discerning which books are inspired
What is your argument that since God protected the Canon-finding in the Church, therefore the modern Roman Catholic Church is infallible?
A few gaps to fill there.
(And yes we do.)
2) That said, I don’t think I’d agree with the statement “God’s people have always identified His Word”. More like God brought His people to an understanding of it over time, but not all at the same pace. But quite a lot. There’s a reason why people from far-spread, remote locations all eventually came to the virtually same conclusions over the Canon despite access to email or Twitter.
2) They accept more than the 7, and they’re not sure about a couple of them.
3) For that matter, RCC’s Canon of the OT isn’t definitively closed either. You’re not really in a good position to chuck rocks.
Unless you’re referring to earlier ones, like from the first few centuries, who wouldn’t be like modern EOdox. And then in that case, you wouldn’t find solid and all-agreed acceptance of a given list of books, specific to the letter.
2) You’re equivocating between the early church and modern Rome, but you need an argument in between.
And I should think our trust in Jesus can make up for a lack of trust in sinful people.
So, again, Sola Scriptura comes out smelling rosier than Rome.
2) There wasn’t really a whole lot of competition. Nobody was proposing Homer or Julius Caesar as inspired. There was some indecision and confusion and disagreement about some books, but certainly not all. Don’t overstate the case.
3) Again, this reflects poorly on the infall interper for not stepping in to clear it all up.
4) Also, I don’t accept the presumption of “it seems implausible”. Why precisely does it “seem implausible”, and what are your prior probability judgments you used to come to that idea?
And how do you function since Trent couldn’t decide about 3 Esdras? I suppose your doctrines will not be guaranteed to be correct, no?
Reply to Michuta, not White, please. Michuta is the one who found it out and is honest enough to state it openly.
I reply: Nuh uh. The truth is that the Catholic canon is NOT closed.
It was generally settled long ago, and reaffirmed over the centuries, but like many doctrinal issues, did not have to be dogmatically closed until, say, the Westminster Confession when the Roman Catholics persisted in their ahistorical acceptance of the deuterocanonicals and the Protestants got tired of it.
Rhology, we all believe that God is the one Who protected the Church in discerning the canon. The problem Devin raises is definitely worth considering. Why the distrust in these great men who were, by God’s grace, selected to lead the Church, a Church which was then unified, if not by a fully canonized-Scripture, certainly by the Holy Spirit in guarding both the teachings and traditions handed on to the Apostles’ successors, as mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 : “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter…”?Conscience-binding certainty in the canon is inextricable with God’s historical selection process. Otherwise, regular joes like me, in our day, would have to either rely on some subjective feeling (like Calvin’s methods, which Devin refers to below) or else trust in and submit to the judgments of Luther, Calvin, et al, assuming they were the ones to whom the true canon was revealed.
However, modern Rome can’t fill this certainty either, since they’re not sure they have the right Canon.
Jason then said:
Thank you for your response. One problem I’d point out is in your assumption that I “went awry” in “assum[ing] that modern Rome holds apostolic succession…” For starters, I’m not a Roman Catholic; I’m a protestant who’s just looking into these issues. In any case, trusting that God kept the church unified and intact in the absence of a clearly defined canon, by protecting and guiding the teachings and traditions of the Apostles in the meantime, is not assuming the position of “Modern Rome.” Do you believe that God kept the Church unified in the absence of a clearly defined canon by guarding and protecting the Church at this period in history?
You wrote: “[Conscience-binding certainty] is never presented to us in the teaching of the NT” Are you saying that no one can be certain of the canon?
Just make sure to look sufficiently deeply. Romanists like to obscure the issue and never ask the same questions of their own positions that they ask of Sola Scriptura.
The way that you’d said:
Conscience-binding certainty in the canon is inextricable with God’s historical selection process
The Canon is not a necessary article of faith that delineates saved from not-saved. It CAN be known, and it is an important doctrine, but it’s not inextricably linked with God’s selection process. In the NT, God selects people for His kingdom, His church.
However, He didn’t “select” what books He revealed. He simply revealed what He wanted to reveal, and that’s what we identify.