What are the current challenges to canonicity?

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Lesson

Discussion about whether books are in the canon because they are authoritative or they are authoritative because they are in the canon. Has God given us a structure to know which books should be in the canon?

Outline

I. What are the greatest challenges of the church with the issue of canonicity?

a. Do we know if the books that make up the Bible are the right ones?

b. External factors

1. Discovery of new apocryphal materials like the “Nag Hammadi” writings

2. Bauer's book, "Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity"

3. Authorship questions

II. What has been the impact of Dan Brown and his view of the Council of Nicea portrayed in, “The Davinci Code?”

a. The purpose of the Council of Nicea was to articulate the divinity of Jesus and his relationship to the Father

III. How do you use the terms, “exclusive, functional and ontological?”

a. People often refer to an exclusive canon as a fixed, final, closed list of books

b. You have a functional canon when books are functioning like scripture

c. Ontological canon refers to recognizing that there is something inherently authoritative about these books

IV. What is the difference between a book becoming canonical and being recognized as canonical?

a. Including a book in the canon means recognizing something about it that is already true.

V. How do you know something?

a. Epistemology

b. Theology of canon

c. Example of materialism

VI. The goal is not to prove something to the skeptic

a. Do we have grounds for thinking we know which books are in the canon?

b. God has given us a structure for us to know which books should be in the canon