Rethinking the Canon of Scripture: My Interview with Credo Magazine

Michael J. Kruger

Posted on

February 25, 2015

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. Our desire is to see biblically-grounded, Christ-exalting reformation and transformation in the church today.

The latest issue of the magazine is entitled, “By the Book: How Well Do You Know Your Bible?”, and includes contributions from Robert Plummer, Kevin DeYoung, Doug Moo, Tom Schreiner, and others.

Here is Matt’s first question (in bold) and my answer:

Many scholars have approached the canon of Scripture thinking that they must find that special date in the early centuries of the church when the canon was finally closed and the church officially declared the books of the New Testament canonical. But you completely reorient our approach to the canon when you say in your book Canon Revisited, “From the perspective of God’s revelational activity, a canon exists as soon as the New Testament books are written—the canon is always the books God has given to the corporate church, no more, no less.” This sentence seems to get to the very thesis of your book. So tell us, what do you mean and why is this so different from how others have approached the canon?
Most modern approaches to canon are done on only a historical level, with no serious attention to the theology of the canon. Thus, when scholars want to investigate the “date” of the canon, what they are really investigating is the date of the reception of the canon by the early church. Investigating the date of the reception of the canon is entirely legitimate but it’s not the whole story. In addition to the date of the canon’s reception, there is also the question of the date of the canon’s existence. And this latter issue can only be discussed when theological considerations are allowed into the discussion (e.g., canonical books are given by the inspiration of the Spirit). One might say this is looking at the canon from a “divine” perspective, rather than just a human one.

To read the full interview, go here (p.14-17).

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