Were the Earliest Christians Only Concerned About Oral Tradition?

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I’ve spent the last week or so diving deeply (again) into the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.  The Apostolic Fathers are an informal collection of early Christian writings, roughly 95-150 AD, which include books like the Didache, 1 & 2 Clement, the Epistle of Barnabas, and letters from Polycarp and Ignatius.  In recent years, scholars have expressed increased skepticism about whether these writings can inform our understanding of the development of the canon.  What appear to be citations of and allusions to New Testament books are not that at all, we are told, but instead are best explained by these authors drawing upon oral tradition.  This preference …

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10 Misconceptions About the NT Canon: #3: “The NT Authors Did Not Think They Were Writing Scripture”

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Note: This is the third installment of a new blog series announced here.

Sometimes, even in the academic world, things get said so many times that people assume they are true.   And when that happens, no one bothers to look at the historical evidence in a fresh way.  This has certainly been the case when it comes to this third misconception about the New Testament canon. It is routine these days to assert that the New Testament authors certainly did not think they were writing Scripture, nor had any awareness of their own authority. Mark Allan Powell, in his recent New Testament introduction, affirms this view plainly, “The authors …

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Morality and Unbelief: Bart Ehrman’s New Blog

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I just discovered today that Bart Ehrman has a new blog (which may be old news, but it is new to me).  If you are not familiar with Ehrman, he is a NT Prof at UNC-Chapel Hill, specialist in early Christian texts, former evangelical, outspoken critics of evangelical Christianity, and author of many bestselling books.  Ehrman promises quite a few interesting things on this blog: to present his latest ideas, interact with reviewers and critics, and to continue discussions that have begun in his public debates.  All that sounds great.  But, here’s the catch:  you have to pay to join the site.  Of course, the blog makes it very clear …

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Is Anyone More Holy Than Anyone Else? The Missing Category of the ‘Righteous Man’

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“No one is more holy than anyone else.”   That was the statement I heard in a recent sermon.  At first, I thought I must have misheard it.  But, I had not.  The point being made to the congregation was clear: abandon your ‘self-righteousness’ and recognize that you are no holier than the person in the pew next to you.

Now, statements like that sound compelling at first.  Humble, even.  After all, we are trained to go after those Pharisees among us (usually defined as anyone who appears to be holier than we are!).  Moreover, we have the reformed doctrine of total depravity entrenched in our minds, reminding us that our …

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