It is often leveled against Protestantism that it is divided, confused and desperately in need of returning home- to the Holy Orthodox Church? While Protestants may be used to hearing such claims from their Catholic brothers and sisters, it may come as a surprise to hear the same coming from what seems like the other side of Christendom. Indeed, the world is getting smaller and now Protestants have come face to face with a long lost relative from the great schism between the East and West.
The critique against Protestantism is leveled anew. It is divided, confused and in need of order. Scripture alone is inadequate, and only part of the larger Church tradition. Besides, how can Scripture alone be trusted when Protestantism is missing some of their Old Testament Scriptures?
The charges of possible missing books and conspiracies are not only problems advocates of Scripture Alone are subject to. As far as the danger of tainting God’s sacred word goes, Eastern Orthodoxy is quite liable to the same warning as well as the danger of adding uninspired books to the canon.
One could charge that the infallibility of the Church ensures a reliable canon, but how would one go about showing that Church infallibility is most likely the case? It seems that maybe we ought to look for practical, and in some areas- material indications of Church infallibility, and in the absence or countering of such evidence, the Protestant ought to peer into the past and see what historical support there is for or against his Old Testament canon.
In this blog, I will show that the books now contained within the Hebrew and Protestant Old Testament canon are the books that the Christian Church should accept as canonical based off of historical support and the insufficient evidence needed to deny or add to the list. This will counter one of the critiques against Scripture Alone as well as challenge the Eastern Orthodox view of Church infallibility.
Also, these posts are not meant to cause division, but are a response to some more aggressive Eastern Orthodox people who have caused distress to some fellow Protestants. These posts are also in response to an Orthodox friend who explicitly asked me to make a case for evangelicalism (the canon debate is one step). That said, I must also add that there is much Protestants can learn from the Eastern Orthodox Church and that we should not be so quick to dismiss many of their views on other subjects just because they have made mistakes in other areas.
There is much to be discussed when it comes to both the Old and New Testament canon. Unfortunately, I will be limiting much of my information to what pertains to the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox discussion. Personally, I love researching the canon and have found it difficult to put this kind of limit into place.
Anyway, here is what I will be covering:
1. The Centuries of Silence
2. The Hebrew Canon
3. The Two Categories of Books
4. The Misunderstandings surrounding Jamnia and the LXX
5. The New Testament Use of Apocryphal Works