Inspired Writings After the Close of the Biblical Canon?

Q. Please consider the following verses:

Revelation 22:18-19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”
Proverbs 30: 5-6 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to THIS word, it is because there is no light in them.”

If you would, please provide me with scriptural evidence in which God states men will come after the completion of the Bible and create other inspired writings.

A. The Catholic Church does not claim that any other inspired writings have been created by men after the close of the canon. So, Protestants and Catholics agree that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.

You may mistakenly think that the Catholic Church has added to the scriptures because we believe doctrines that Protestants reject. But what the Catholic Church teaches is the whole deposit of faith just as Paul exhorts us to do in:

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

We adhere to both the oral and the written teachings of Jesus to His apostles. And as St. John says:

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

So, we know that there is more than just what got written down. The Catholic Church has the Fullness of the Truth. We have both the Oral and the Written Tradition that St. Paul speaks about.

The reason that the Catholic Church has doctrine that Protestants do not have is not because we have added to the Deposit of Faith, after the Bible was canonized (400 A.D.) but because Protestants have rejected the oral traditions recommended by St. Paul in 2 Thess. that have always and everywhere been believed by historical Christianity.

Advertisements

10 Responses to Inspired Writings After the Close of the Biblical Canon?

  1. “So, Protestants and Catholics agree that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.”

    Ordinarily I wouldn’t comment on such a technical point, but this appears as a defence of Catholic doctrine, so I will.

    I don’t believe we have it written in any council or church father anywhere the close of the canon/public revelation was at the death of the last apostle(St. John). In fact historically there were a few other books considered inspired but later dropped when the canon was semi finalized at the end of the 4th century.

  2. catz206 says:

    John 21:25 only tells us that John selected only some of the deeds of Christ to write about…this does not tell us that the Roman Catholic Church has the fullness of the truth or that there is anything more that we need to know. Consider what John says earlier in 20:30-31. What has been written has been so that we can believe and have life. As for the Pauline Tradition- there is an interesting discussion by David Nilson on the topic:

    http://bywhoseauthority.blogspot.com/2009/02/spoken-traditions.html

  3. Catz206,

    In reference to John 21:25 – the reason that there is only some deeds describe is because it would be near impossible to write down all that Jesus said and did. This does not mean that it is non-essential.

    The fullness of truth- St. John 16.13 in context is directed to the Apostles alone not all Christians. And the context is for operating the whole church after Jesus departs. And in 1 St. Timothy 3:15 – it states that the church is the pillar of truth. So while scripture is the truth, you need a specific visible church which can proclaim and teach that truth.

    All Christians should read St. John 16:13 in that the Spirit will lead them personally in all the truth needed to lead their own individual personal lives, but one can’t read it in context that they can lead other persons spiritually as pastors. That is why Apostolic succession is important. That authority and that guidance coming from the Holy Spirit only comes through them not everyone. So whether one selects Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant communions they need to establish that line to guide the collective church.

    The term Roman in Catholic church refers to the type of liturgy in this case the approved latin rite is what Rome and in the more general sense western church uses. So while the liturgy does reflect truth during the service its not the fullness of truth. If you want to read about the historic meaning of the term Catholic I did one on my blog – http://quickbeamoffangorn.wordpress.com/2008/02/11/what-does-catholic-historically-mean-christian-is-my-name-catholic-my-surname/

    John 20:30-31 note the author doesn’t have any parables in his Gospel, that doesn’t mean they weren’t important. His audience is directed towards Gentile people, hence a summation of the Gospel. Reading Mr. Nilson and basing the elimination of the collective knowledge of the church on two verses from St. Paul is IMO poor judgement. But certainly your free to make that choice.

  4. catz206 says:

    “In reference to John 21:25 – the reason that there is only some deeds describe is because it would be near impossible to write down all that Jesus said and did. This does not mean that it is non-essential.”

    John specifically says that he wrote what he wrote so that others could believe. Check out the other verse I gave you to go with my claim.

    “The fullness of truth- St. John 16.13 in context is directed to the Apostles alone not all Christians.”

    In context, John’s epistle is directed at those he wishes to believe his story and is also written at a much later date (90ad?) than the others. Many of the original apostles are dead at this time too. John clearly has a wider audience in view. Still, I agree with you wholeheartedly that John 16:13 is a promise made specifically to the apostles. What does this mean for the wider audience? These are the ones we need to go to for our instruction. The NT is the best preservation for the apostolic word…the promise has not been expanded to others (I argue for this on my blog).

    “So while scripture is the truth, you need a specific visible church which can proclaim and teach that truth.”

    Agreed. I believe in Sola Scriptura and not Solo Scriptura

    “That authority and that guidance coming from the Holy Spirit only comes through them not everyone.”

    I see that you wish to preserve true apostolic doctrine but why think apostolic succession accomplishes this rather than the very words of the apostles?

    “Reading Mr. Nilson and basing the elimination of the collective knowledge of the church on two verses from St. Paul is IMO poor judgement.”

    Our overall argument is much wider (see the rest of the blog) but his post still stands as part of a great treatment on the subject.

    Thankx for the response!

  5. catz206 says:

    one more point of clarification: he does not argue for the elimination of the collective knowledge of the church…none of us do. That would be far from wise. We simply view Scripture as our only “infallible” authority and guide to matters of faith and practice. This does not eliminate other authorities or insight within the Church.

  6. Thanks for your clairification on SOLO scriptura vs. SOLA scriptura. That’s progress, but I don’t think its quite clear enough.It still appears you would support formal sufficiency of scriptural which IMO is not supported by scripture vs. material sufficiency of scripture which is.

    As far as whom the audience was intended by the author is speculation other then the fact the text was Greek and therefore a Greek speaking audience. The church included St. John’s Gospel in the canon at a much latter date then 90 A.D. so the distribution of it for a general audience isn’t demonstrated without apostolic succession that I can see.

  7. catz206 says:

    “As far as whom the audience was intended by the author is speculation other then the fact the text was Greek and therefore a Greek speaking audience.”

    Yes, but Greek (especially Koine or market place Greek) was spoken by a broad and diverse audience. If one wanted his message to be read by as many people as possible he would have written in Koine Greek since people all around the known world would have understood it.

    The church included St. John’s Gospel in the canon at a much latter date then 90 A.D. so the distribution of it for a general audience isn’t demonstrated without apostolic succession that I can see.

  8. catz206 says:

    “The church included St. John’s Gospel in the canon at a much latter date then 90 A.D. so the distribution of it for a general audience isn’t demonstrated without apostolic succession that I can see.”

    Maybe it is just me but I don’t see how EO/RC brand of apostolic succession is needed for its distribution. Though I don’t have a problem (and actually think it likely) with the idea that the unified Church was responsible for its distribution.

  9. “If one wanted his message to be read by as many people as possible he would have written in Koine Greek since people all around the known world would have understood it.”

    Why would someone back in the 2nd century think about writing a message they wanted to get widely distributed?
    Manuscripts were very expensive, most of the population didn’t read and you had to have skilled copyist to preserve it over the long term. The only way to get the message out would have been verbally. That’s one of the reasons the message was passed orally from Apostle to bishop to bishop thru time.

  10. Joel says:

    “Yes, but Greek (especially Koine or market place Greek) was spoken by a broad and diverse audience. If one wanted his message to be read by as many people as possible he would have written in Koine Greek since people all around the known world would have understood it.”

    That is not a true statement. The Gospels were writen for the edification of the bishops who were to share the Word of God with the Faithful. In the First Century the Roman Empire was divided into east and west. The western half included most of North Africa (all except Egypt) and Italy and all of Europe west of that. The eastern half of the empire included Greece, the Anatolian Peninsula, Syria and everything south to Egypt.

    The Apostles came from the eastern part of the empire where Greek was the common language so Greek was the official language of the Church during the time the Gospels were writen. Greek was also the official language used by the Church in Rome and Spain in the First Century, but the congregations did not all know Greek. Latin was the language for every day use in the western half of the Empire where only the educated knew Greek.

    The Roman Empire was not the extent of the known world though. Everyone knew where India was and the Church extended all the way into China at the very start of the Christian Era. The Chinese did not know Greek, neither did the Indians. But their bishops knew Greek because the Apostles are the ones who apointed their bishops. The average Persian did not know Greek but there was a thriving Church in the Persian Empire that lasted for many centuries after the Muslim conquest.

    The Gospel of John was supposed to reach everywhere from Spain to China, from Russia to Ethiopia. It was writen in Greek because all the bishops in that vast expanse knew Greek, not because Greek was some kind of a universal language.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: