Is the Church Over the Bible, or the Bible Over the Church?


The perennial question in the debate over sola Scriptura is whether the church is over the Bible or the Bible is over the church.  If you take the latter position, then you are (generally speaking) a Protestant who believes the Scriptures, and the Scriptures alone, are the only infallible rule and therefore the supreme authority over the church.   But, here is the irony:  Roman Catholics also claim to be “under” the authority of the Bible.

The Roman Catholic church insists that the Scripture is always superior to the Magisterium.  Dei Verbum declares, “This teaching office is not above the Word of God, but serves it” (2.10), and the Catholic Catechism …

Continue reading...

10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #6: “In the Early Stages, Apocryphal Books Were as Popular as the Canonical Books”

Gnostic Gospels

This is the sixth installment of a blog series announced here.

One of the most common claims by some critics of the NT canon is that apocryphal writings, particularly gospels, were as common and as widely-used as the NT writings.  Helmut Koester is a good example of this trend.  He laments the fact that the terms “apocryphal” and “canonical” are even used by modern scholars because they reflect, according to him, “prejudices of long standing” against the authenticity of these apocryphal texts.[1]  Koester then argues, “If one considers the earliest period of the tradition, several apocryphal gospels are as well attested as those which later received canonical …

Continue reading...

The Early Text of the New Testament Now Available (in the UK)

P1 Matthew

I just heard from the folks at Oxford University Press this week and they indicated that the volume edited by Chuck Hill and myself, The Early Text of the New Testament, is now available in the UK.  Unfortunately, like many Oxford volumes, it is a bit pricey at 90 pounds ($175).  Ouch.  But, hopefully some major research libraries will pick it up (and some scholars with a generous book budget!).   The book is available in the US in August.

Here is a blurb from the back cover and the table of contents:

The Early Text of the New Testament aims to examine and assess from our earliest extant sources

Continue reading...

Veggie Tales, Moralism, and Modern Preaching

veggie tales

A number of years ago, my kids were into Veggie Tales.  And, truthfully, so was I.  It was actually quite enjoyable to watch these charming videos, cataloging the journeys of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, et al.  Indeed, I could probably recite the opening song word for word.

On this note, it was interesting to learn this week that in an interview with World Magazine the creator of Veggie Tales, Phil Vischer, has expressed regret over the “moralism” of Veggie Tales:

I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity.

Continue reading...