I was recently interviewed on the topic of the NT Canon by Matthew Barrett, editor of Credo Magazine. This magazine is excellent resource, committed to Christ, the authority of Scripture and the fundamental tenets of the Reformation. Here is their own description:
At its core, Credo Magazine strives to be centered on the gospel, confessing the substitutionary death and historical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of sinners. In doing so, Credo Magazine not only draws upon the historic creeds and confessions of the faith, but especially the great pillars of the Reformation: sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli Deo gloria.
There are so many historical details to manage in the study of the NT and OT canon, that it is often difficult to step back and get the big picture. Scholarly energies are typically preoccupied with whether a certain church father cited a certain biblical book, and thus the entire biblical collection is rarely viewed as a completed whole.
In short, we tend to study the canon one book at a time. But, as Walter Brueggemann observed regarding this approach, “That is problematic because one never gets a sense of the whole of the Bible” (Creative Word, 5).
When we take that step back, and examine the overall …
The story of the New Testament canon is a fascinating one, with many twists and turns. There are books that were accepted very quickly, almost from the start (e.g., the four gospels), and there are other books that struggled to find a home (e.g., 2 Peter).
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 …