Is the Church over the Bible or is the Bible over the Church?

Codex Sinaiticus

It is well known that misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding the origins of the NT (and OT) canon abound on the internet. Da Vinci Code style claims are in plenteous supply–ranging from the claim that the Council of Nicea established the NT canon to the claim that apocryphal gospels were as popular (if not more so) than the canonical gospels.

Of course, if one were to respond to each and every erroneous claim on the internet there would be time for little else. But every now and then, an article combines so many misconceptions about the canon is a single place, that a response is warranted. This is the case with the …

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Bible Secrets Revealed: The Complete Series

Bible Secrets

For the last few months I have been working through the various episodes of Bible Secrets Revealed from the History Channel.  This series challenges a number of popular beliefs and conceptions that people hold about the Bible, and raises questions about the integrity and reliability of the Scriptures.  In each of the posts below, I summarize the main content of each episode and offer an evaluation and response.

This entire series has reminded me of two critical truths:

1. Our popular culture is prone to distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Bible. I was struck again by how sensationalistic and misleading popular-level programming can actually be when it …

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Roman Catholicism and the NT Canon: Today on the Dividing Line with James White

Pope

My new book, The Question of Canon, is designed to challenge a particular approach to the New Testament canon that is prevalent in the modern academy.  It is the approach that suggests that in the earliest stages of Christianity the canon was in disarray; the canonical process was a wide-open affair where no one agreed on much of anything and no one was able to distinguish canonical books from apocryphal ones.

What is ironic about this critical approach is that it has an unexpected ally: Roman Catholicism.  The Catholic claim is remarkably similar to the one of critical scholars (at least in its premise).  Both claim that the canonical …

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Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 4)

Jesus

This is the fourth installment of a new series reviewing the History Channel series entitled Bible Secrets Revealed (for others, see here, here and here).  The newest episode is entitled, “The Real Jesus,” and addresses the question of what we can know about the historical Jesus.

Not surprisingly, the tenor of this latest episode is the same as the other episodes, namely that the accounts of the Bible (in this case, the Gospels) cannot be trusted.  This documentary catalogs a number of places where (it claims) the Gospels are simply mistaken.  Let’s run through some issues that are raised.

1. The Virgin Birth.  Almost from the start, …

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