Blog Template Theology of the Body: The Church's Scriptures

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Church's Scriptures

"What criteria did the early Church use in determining which popular documents would compose its Canon?

Basically, the early Church has three criteria which it imposed upon the texts.

First, the books must have apostolic authority- that is, they must have been written either by apostles themselves, who were eyewitnesses to what they wrote about, or by followers of apostles. So in the case of Mark and Luke, while they were not among the original twelve disciples, early tradition has it that Mark was a helper of Peter, and Luke was an associate of Paul.

Second, there was the criterion of conformity to what was called the Church's Rule of Faith. That is, was the document congruent with the basic Christian tradition that the Church recognized as normative?

And third, there was the criterion of whether a document had had continuous acceptance and usage by the church at large. have to understand that the Canon... came about because of the intuitive insight of Christian believers guided by the Spirit. They could hear the voice of the Good Shepherd in the Gospels; they could hear it in only a muffled and distorted way in the false teachings. When the pronouncement was made about the Canon, it merely ratified what the general sensitivity of the Church had already determined. The Church simply listened and sensed that these were authoritative accounts."

- Bruce Metzger, The Case for Christ.