Friday, September 12, 2008

The Infallible Interpreter

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

- 1 John 2:26-27
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you

- Ephesians 1:15-18
It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me

- John 6:45*

Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians all agree that the Bible is infallible. We also agree that an infallible interpreter is needed in order to truly understand what the Bible teaches. But who is that infallible interpreter?

Orthodox and Catholics say that the infallible interpreter is the church, and that may well be true. But these Scripture passages at least give credence to the Protestant response that the infallible interpreter is the Holy Spirit Himself. And moreover, each of these verses seems to suggest that the Holy Spirit works in such a way as to illuminate the individual believer in a direct manner, and not necessarily through a magesterium or councils.

* All Scripture quotations are from the ESV.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Restricted Canon in the East?

“There are many lists of canonical Old Testament books from various church fathers and councils. The lists from the Eastern churches tend to support a restricted canon very much like that of the Hebrew tradition. In several cases (Origen, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Epiphanius) Baruch and the Letter to Jeremiah are included as parts of Jeremiah-Lamentations, with no other apocrypha mentioned.”

--Daniel J. Harrington, S.J.

More information:
*Also take a look at Melito, Gregory, Amphilochius and note the different lists for Epiphanius
*Origen only includes the "Letter of Jeremiah"
*See previous posts for a brief defense of the Hebrew canon (2/29/08)

* The Canon Debate: The Old Testament Apocrypha in the Early Church and Today Daniel J. Harrington, S.J. (Ch.12 p.199).
* The Canon Debate Appendix by Lee McDonald p.585-586.
*The Canon of Scripture F.F. Bruce p.74-75.