10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #1: “The Term ‘Canon’ Can Only Refer to a Fixed, Closed List of Books”

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

Graham Stanton has correctly observed, “In discussions of the emergence of the canon, whether of the Old or the New Testament writings, definitions are all important, and the devil is in the detail.”[1] Indeed, one’s definition of canon drives one’s historical conclusions about canon–particularly regarding its date.  And precisely for this reason, there has always been a vigorous debate amongst scholars over what we mean by the term “canon.”

However, in recent years, that debate has taken an interesting turn.  One particular definition of canon has begun to emerge as the dominant one.  In fact, …

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New Blog Series:10 Common Misconceptions About the NT Canon

Over the next month or so I plan to write a new blog series on 10 common misconceptions (or misunderstandings) about the origins and development of the NT Canon.   These are misconceptions that are not only held by the average layman, but are often shared by those in the academic community as well.

It is always difficult to know how such misunderstandings develop and are promulgated.   Sometimes they are just ideas that are repeated so often that no one bothers (anymore) to see if they have merit.  In other cases, these ideas have been promoted through popular presentations of the canon’s origins (e.g., The Da Vinci Code).  And in …

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5 Misconceptions about Spiritual Abuse: #3: “The Bible Doesn’t Talk about Spiritual Abuse–It’s Just a Modern Psychological Construct”

In anticipation of the Nov 1st release of my new book, Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church, I am making my way through a 5-part blog series on misconceptions and misunderstandings of spiritual abuse. You can read prior installments here and here.

We come now to #3 in the series: “Spiritual abuse is not in the Bible or church history—it’s just a modern psychological construct.”

A number of folks may balk at the idea of spiritual abuse solely on the grounds that the terminology itself is relatively modern. If it does not appear in the Bible (or church history), it is argued, …

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Think You Know the Christmas Story? Here are Five Common Misconceptions

Bah, humbug.

That’s probably one of the most well-known lines in literary (and now, cinematic) history. Everybody immediately recognizes the curmudgeonly voice of Ebeneezer Scrooge as he pours cold water all over our Christmas spirit.

And his point is still made today by some, albeit in different words.  It’s that the Christmas story just isn’t true. It’s rubbish. It’s made up. It’s all in our heads.

While now is not the time for a full-scale defense of the historicity of the Christmas story, Scrooge’s skepticism does prompt us to wonder whether we’ve gotten the story right. Are we telling the story that really was, or are we just telling the …

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Think You Know the Christmas Story? Here are Five Common Misconceptions

Bah, humbug.

That’s probably one of the most well-known lines in literary (and now, cinematic) history. Everybody immediately recognizes the curmudgeonly voice of Ebeneezer Scrooge as he pours cold water all over our Christmas spirit.

And his point is still made today by some, albeit in different words.  It’s that the Christmas story just isn’t true. It’s rubbish. It’s made up. It’s all in our heads.

While now is not the time for a full-scale defense of the historicity of the Christmas story, Scrooge’s skepticism does prompt us to wonder whether we’ve gotten the story right. Are we telling the story that really was, or are we just telling the …

Continue reading...