Mar 242014
 

Question-of-Canon-3It seems like every day there are more and more books, blogs, and articles attacking the historic Christian faith.

With this article, I want to start a new series of articles looking at tools that we can use both as pastors and laypeople to defend conservative “evangelical” beliefs.

Our first article will start where the attacks usually do…with  Scripture.

Michael Krueger has written two books on the topic of the canon of Scripture…both are invaluable in forming a theology of canon that can answer critics and skeptics.

 

The first (and they should be read in this order) is “Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books.”

The second is “The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate.”

The first book speaks to the actual formation of the New Testament, the second to liberal objections to the canon itself and both provide an excellent framework for understanding and articulating a conservative, biblical response.

In both books, Krueger engages both with liberal scholars and higher criticism, but he does so in a way that is understandable and accessible to all of us…all that is required is a desire to seriously engage the topic.

Here is the authors website.

Sometimes it’s easier to listen to podcasts and lectures…you can hear Dr. Kruger on this subject here, here, and here.

What tools have you found valuable in defending  the veracity and authority of Scripture?

  40 Responses to “Tool Talk: Michael Krueger and the Canon”

  1. I usually go look to see what Dan Wallace from DTS has to say on anything to do with the Canon. For me, he is the last word.

  2. Can I still say FIRST!!! this late in the day?

  3. MLD,

    Dan Wallace is excellent.

  4. Thanks for the MP3s – they should fill up my drive time for the rest of the week

  5. Michael, I finally am getting around to reading ‘The Heresy of Orthodoxy’ which should probably be put in the tool box too. You mentioned that on the blog a couple years back…

  6. Steve,

    That was a very good book…made me think. 🙂
    The point of these articles will be to inform and support those who hold to a traditional,historic, Christian faith and feel overwhelmed by all the criticism of our beliefs that is so in vogue today.
    One of the things that will be different is that I will also try to post audio and video material to accompany the books…we should use this platform and technology to the fullest.

  7. MLD,

    You’re welcome…I hope you find them valuable and that others follow your example…this time. 🙂

  8. “What tools have you found valuable in defending the veracity and authority of Scripture?”

    How do you defend something subjective like “authority”?

    You state “defend authority”…how do you quantify that? No errors? No contradictions? Historically perfect? First-source material? Miracles/Sign Gifts?

    What makes the scripture “authoritative” outside of itself and your claim?

  9. RiBo,

    You’ve made your positions clear.
    My sole interest is in strengthening the faith of those who do hold to historic, Christian theology and providing the tools to do so.
    You and others may find the arguments unconvincing.
    Those of us who believe that God intended to and did preserve His word will find it valuable.
    Those are the people I’m writing to and for.

  10. If you can’t define and quantify specifically what makes something “authoritative” outside of its own claims…then you can’t really claim it as authoritative outside of its own claims.

    The Mormons and the Muslims have books they claim as authoritative and Christians say they are not authoritative b/c they contain demonstrable errors and inconsistencies and mistakes etc….which would beg the question that Christians think the bible is perfect and w/o error which is one appeal to their “authoritative” claim…yet the bible does contain the same and similar demonstrable errors, mistakes, contradictions, factual errors etc as the Book of Mormon and the Koran etc.

  11. RiBo,

    Those are your opinions.
    Mine differ.
    I’m not going to debate you…there are plenty of other sites on the web that can do a better job than I can.

  12. I didn’t state an opinion, it is a fact that if you cannot quantify what makes something “authoritative” outside of its own claims, it is not demonstrated as authoritative outside of its own claims.

  13. In the Old Testament…you read claims of authority by a particular prophet and then a story in the OT where the specific prophecy comes true or the prophet calls fire down from heaven etc.

    In the NT you have claims of authority and then you have stories in the same NT that those claiming the authority walked on water, turned water into wine, healed a withered hand in the sight of others, etc.

    I’m not saying the bible doesn’t contain spiritual truths…but we certainly don’t see anything today that validates it as 100% end-all be-all “authoritative” that is quantifiable other than its own claims and your personal belief it is authoritative.

  14. RiBo,

    I’m sure you can find a stimulating discussion around those issues somewhere online.
    You will find many who agree with you.
    That’s not my concern.
    I’m writing as a person who accepts the authority and veracity of Scripture to others who believe likewise and are looking for reasons to hold to what they believe.
    I’m not interested in, nor will I be participating in a debate on the matter.

  15. Michael, you are not going to debate RB, but he is going to debate you. 😉

  16. You made a claim. This thread is about the authority of scripture. I asked some very basic questions.

    I am assuming your answer is an agreement there is no quantifiable metric to gauge the “authority” of the bible outside of its claim to authority and your personal belief.

  17. Thanks for the post, Michael.
    I already put the mp3’s on my phone and think I will do like MLD and make use of my drive time.

  18. It’s not about “debating” it’s about intellectual honesty…which is hard to find in evangelicalism.

    When you make claims and then can’t define basic metrics…it’s pretty telling of the bait-and-switch that is rampant in evangelical apologetic.

    “Bible is AUTHORITATIVE! You can trust the bible!”

    …such powerful statements…you must have some quantifiable metric…then it’s “Well I just believe it and I’m not going to talk to you”

  19. The truth I have found with regards to every biblical “bible is AUTHORITATIVE!” type is that their faith is the bible not God…and while God may be perfect etc…the bible isn’t. It’s got the same/similar mistakes as the Book of Mormon and the Koran as Christians point out often in dismissing those books as authoritative.

  20. RiBo,

    The books I referenced in the post address those issues.
    Again, my job isn’t to convince you, and that’s not the purpose of what I’m doing.
    You may find it intellectually dishonest or any one of many disparaging terms, but to be blunt, I don’t care.
    I’ve chosen what I’m doing and why and I’ll stick to that.

  21. Derek,

    You’re more than welcome…we’ve already had more downloads than I expected.

  22. ” but to be blunt, I don’t care.”

    That is readily apparent.

  23. RB,
    I would debate you, but we know where that would go. LOL 🙂

  24. Preach to the choir, just don’t claim anything other than you believe the bible is authoritative b/c it says it is…similar to the Book of Mormon and the Koran. All three make the same claims and all three lack any metric outside of themselves to validate their claims.

    Doesn’t mean the bible doesn’t contain some spiritual truths we can all agree on like “love your neighbor” and “helping the widow and orphan” is “good”, etc….but doesn’t mean it is a science book or the sole authority on morality etc either…as is often the case…it has a dubious record (see slavery, execution of children with stones, mistreatment of women, commands to slaughter children and infants in a war-context after the enemy is already defeated etc).

  25. My calling is to the choir…and I’m good with that.

  26. “My calling is to the choir…and I’m good with that.”

    That was good.

  27. I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about what I do here and what I want to do here…and I keep coming back to the conversation I had with Dr. Packer on my birthday a few years ago.
    My job is to teach and or at the very least facilitate learning within the church…not argue or be in constant strife.
    There are lots of places that do that sort of apologetics far better than I would or could and that’s their calling.
    I need to do what I do…and for the blog and I to stay relatively healthy, I need to not do things I’m not called to.

  28. Which choir, there are like 9,000 to 30,000 different ones 🙂

    OK, assuming the Scripture is “authoritative” etc now what?

    If this thread isn’t about apologetics, then what’s your point of the thread?

  29. “What tools have you found valuable in defending the veracity and authority of Scripture?”

    “There are lots of places that do that sort of apologetics far better than I would or could and that’s their calling. I need to do what I do…and for the blog and I to stay relatively healthy, I need to not do things I’m not called to.”

    You don’t do apologetics…but you post a thread that is apologetics.

    I engage in a discussion thinking it’s a thread about apologetics, b/c it states it is…and then you tell me this isn’t the place for apologetics.

    You are one confusing dude.

  30. RiBo,

    This is my last comment on this.
    You want to engage in endless deconstruction of the Scripture and the faith.
    Neither myself or the majority of my readers are interested in those discussions…they cause people to leave and refrain from commenting.
    You are completely entitled to whatever beliefs you have, but I’m not going to host those debates anymore, nor am I going to be contentious about the matter.
    There are many other avenues where you can have those discussions, places where those debates are welcomed and encouraged.

  31. Ribo loves to bait the hook and the Phoenix one just has to nibble.

    Unfortunately my eye caught the shelf in the background on the video and I saw the most historically inaccurate book of all time…well, a bad one… Counterfeit Revival by HH. “The horror! The horror!”

  32. @31

    Actually, the introduction to Counterfeit Revival that was written by Tom Stipe was very weighty in that he wrote from experience of the leanness of soul due to an over emphasis on “renewal”.

  33. #6
    “We should use this platform and technology to the fullest.”
    ***
    And so you have so you will. More podcast by you would be bonus. You under estimate yourself and your contribution to others I think. But praise God for your calling that compels you forward.

  34. Ixtian,

    I know what Tom wrote and I respect him for it. I also know what Hank wrote.

  35. Monk,

    Thank you!
    I’m working on the podcast part…

  36. Michael, then why do you post a thread about “apologetics”? Makes no sense. If you don’t have a good answer then why do you ask others for things they’ve found that give a good answer…but then run from the questions?

    I’m not baiting any hooks, the issues are really simple. It’s about intellectual honesty and being truthful.

    The truth is the “apologetic” is faith-based and there is no metric to quantify it. The “bible’ is no more perfect in quantifiable metric than the Book of Mormon or the Koran etc. All three exhibit the same/similar problems of incongruity, mistakes, imperfections etc.

    If you choose the bible, it’s completely faith and other than some scant archeological evidence like the Pilate stone and finding some of the historical markers in the text also in tangible evidence (the other books have those as well)…there just isn’t anything you can hang your hat on from a scientific perspective.

    Does that invalidate the bible or Christianity? No. But it does invalidate a position that claims “The bible is perfect! I know this b/c it’s so reliable and you can prove its reliability!” and similar refrains.

    Truth is it’s not historically reliable in many areas, it’s not textually reliable in many areas, it’s not logically reliable in many areas and it does present competing narratives and contradictions in many areas as well.

    The bible does contain some spiritual truths and it is an imperfect document that does acknowledge what seems to be fact: there was a historical Jesus and Pontius Pilate and some other literal historical figures and we probably have some of what they said filtered through playing telephone and passing it on many times over and then re-translating it from one language to another (Jesus didn’t speak in Greek did he?)

    The above is a statement, not a “baiting of a hook”

    You can agree or disagree. I’m not looking for a discussion on it. I’ve done the research and it appears to be the correct analysis of the situation whether you like it or not and whether you acknowledge it or not.

    If you want to make the bible your God..no problem, knock yourself out. I can tell you without much doubt that the planet is not 6,000 years old and that there was no talking snake (and that issue is really made silly when you are forced into a position that says the literal devil was a snake or that the devil possessed a snake…either way you go….big problems).

    My suggestion is seek God in spirit and don’t make the bible an idol of man’s making. I know that is fearful for the vast majority of evangelicalism b/c its been beaten into you (sometimes literally) that the bible is God and to question that is to lose your salvation.

  37. …and to continue that thought…the “bible” is even less reliable b/c it becomes a function of what another man tells you it “really says!” due to the interpretative dynamic required to read a text, interpret a text and then a guru telling you “thus sayeth the Lord!” or “this is what it says!”

    It’s why there are 9,000 to 30,000 denominations and very little agreeement on most issues….even though all the Groups appeal to the same “bible”

  38. Now this is a place where the rubber hits the road. RB has claimed – “If you choose the bible, it’s completely faith and other than some…”

    May I say NOT SO!!! For those of us who have had an encounter personally with Jesus Christ and are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the fact of the Bible being true is a 100% settled issue.

    Now, for those who doubt it, they WILL get it if and when they have that encounter. To the unsaved, the Bible is a closed book – but the unbeliever goes around saying “well, if I don’t get it – then you don’t get it.” Without realizing that we not only get it, we have it.

    End of issue.

  39. If you click on Krueger’s web site in the article there are other recordings to listen to on the left hand side. I listened to the RUF at Appalachian State University.- pretty good.

  40. i’ve received a lot of good feedback on this…I’ll make sure to keep the same format going forward.

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