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November 11, 2011

The Apocrypha and Canonization of Scriptures

Pastor, I was born and raised to be a Catholic but I started attending a Christian Fellowship back in 2006. I haven’t gone through Christian baptism until now because my parents got converted into Muslim religion about 2 or 3 years ago. They knew that I am enjoying and growing closer to God with my church and I feel going through christian baptism soon will not be a problem with them. What I’m concerned about is my uncle who wants me to remain as a Roman Catholic. He’s been a member of Corporate Couple for Christ for years. He is one of my mentors who explained several differences between Roman Catholic and Born-Again Christian. I respect my uncle’s point of view but personally, I really see no difference at all or should i say the name of the religion itself (roman catholic/born-again christian) does not affect my faith in God?

I did blog about your concern in this past blog entry,  I think that as we age, we are given a freedom to choose on our own. As a pastor, I am careful not to manipulate, coerce and pressure people to convert. I think it is not my job to do that. Our job is to present the biblical basis of our faith and what we believe in. The sole authority of our lives should be the Scripture and not any pastor, family member or tradition.

As I make decisions I would always search the Scripture if there are any contradictions with my action and the word of God. It is your duty to study the beliefs of the Catholic faith and the doctrine that your church teaches. As you compare it with Scripture, it is incumbent upon you to make a decision with all the biblical support that you have acquired.

About your uncle’s concern about conversion, I did answer a similar question on this blog entry, click here

I love reading the bible. I’ve actually got two bibles, Roman catholic bible and christian bible. I just recently noticed that Maccabees 1 and 2, book of wisdom and Sirach were excluded in the Christian bible. I initially asked my uncle about this and he quickly answered: “Maccabees 1 and 2 talks about resurrection which born-again christians do not believe in” I am not stopping you to make friends and fellowships but you must stick with the original teachings only coming from a roman catholic bible. No need for you to go through their christian baptism. Pastor, I am now confused and this is not good at all. Why are those books not included in a christian bible specifically the book of maccabees? 

The apocrypha (???????? means “hidden”) is a set of books written between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ that is rejected by the Protestants and officially accepted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1546 as being inspired.  These books are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch.

In church history, for books to be canonized as authentic and inspired, they go through 4 kinds of test to be approved.

Test # 1 was apostolicity: was the author an apostle or did he have a connection with an apostle.

Test #2 was acceptance: was the book accepted by the Church at large.

Test #3 was content: did the book reflect consistency of doctrine with what had been accepted as orthodox preaching and teaching?

Test #4 was inspiration. Did the book reflect the quality of inspiration?

The books in Apocrypha did not pass the 4 tests for the books to be used in public worship.

The Canon developed slowly over the first centuries of the Church. Clement of Rome (95) mentioned at least 8 New Testament books in his letter to the Corinthians. Polycarp (108) acknowledged fifteen books. Iranaeus (185) acknowledged twenty one books. Hippolytus (170-235) recognized twenty books. The Muratorian Canon (170) included all the New Testament books except Hebrews, James and 3 John. In 376, Athanasius cited all twenty seven books. The Synod of Hippo (393) affirmed that only the Old Testament and the twenty seven books of the New Testament were to be read in the churches.

According to theologian FF Bruce, “When the Synod of Hippo listed the 27 books of the New Testament, it did not confer upon then any authority which they did not already possess, but simply recorded their previously established canonicity.”

Got questions, click here

 

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