CANON: What are the current challenges to canonicity?
Are books in the canon because they are authoritative, or they are authoritative because they are in the canon? The Davinci Code and the common assertions about Constantine are historical fabrications. “Canon” can mean three different things. Has God given us a structure to know which books should be in the canon? Can you prove, or is the point to have sound reasons for what you believe?
(Bill Mounce is asking the questions. If you want to hear them, listen to the audio option, not the video.)
I. WHY ARE PEOPLE QUESTIONING THE CANON?
A. Discovery of new apocryphal materials like the “Nag Hammadi” writings
B. Bauer’s charge that there were many different “types” of Christianity
C. Questions of authorship
II. WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT OF DAN BROWN AND “THE DAVINCI CODE?”
A. The purpose of the Council of Nicaea was to articulate the divinity of Jesus and his relationship to the Father
B. No evidence that the canon was discussed at all at Nicaea
III. WHAT DOES THE WORD “CANON” MEAN?
A. “Exclusive” dates the canon when it is fixed and final — fourth century
B. “Functional” dates the canon when people are using the books as authoritative
C. “Ontological” dates the canon as soon as the book was written — first century
IV. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “BECOMING” CANONICAL AND BEING “RECOGNIZED” AS CANONICAL
A. The Church recognizes that a book is canonical
B. The Church does not declare a book to be canonical
V. HOW DO YOU KNOW SOMETHING? (EPISTEMOLOGY)
A. Data books
B. What are the grounds by which a Christian can recognize that the books from God
C. Example of proving our sense perception using sense perception (circular)
VI. THE GOAL IS NOT TO PROVE SOMETHING TO THE SKEPTIC
A. Do we have grounds for thinking we can 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