The Complete Series: 10 Misconceptions About the NT Canon

For the last 3-4 months I have been working through a blog series entitled “10 Misconceptions About the New Testament Canon.”  This series exams some common beliefs out there in the academic (and lay-level) communities that prove to be problematic upon closer examination.

Although the series is not quite finished (two more to go), I have received several requests to have it all one place.  So, here is the list.  I will update this list as we go along.  Also, there will be a link to this list under the “Blog Series” heading in the left margin of my website.

  1. The Term “Canon” Can Only Refer to a Fixed, Closed

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10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #8: “Early Christianity was an Oral Religion and Therefore Would Have Resisted Writing Things Down”

Note: this is the eighth installment of a blog series announced here.

Recent years have seen a flurry of scholarly activity focused on the oral transmission of Jesus material within early Christianity.   Scholars (ranging from Gerhardsson to Dunn to Bauckham) have explored different models for how this oral tradition would have been preserved and delivered to each new generation.

Out of this discussion, however, a new objection to the origins of the New Testament canon has arisen.  The earliest Christians are now portrayed as being so committed to oral modes of delivery that they would have had an aversion to the written text.  Indeed, this entrenched resistance to the …

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Review of New Book, Did God Really Say?

In a prior blog post, I mentioned the publication of a new book edited by David Garner entitled, Did God Really Say?: Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture.  This book is a compilation of papers originally given at the 2011 PCA General Assembly by scholars from Reformed Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological Seminary.   Participants included Scott Oliphint, Michael Williams, Robert Yarbrough, Vern Poythress, John Frame, and myself.  David Garner also included a summary chapter.

I noticed in the Aquila Report today that there was a helpful review of the book by Aimee Byrd.  In particular, she notes a thread running through a number of the …

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Baur vs. Bauer: Is the New Testament Really Filled with Contradictory Theologies?

Perhaps no book in the history of the world has received as much scrutiny and criticism as the Bible.  For generations, scholars have picked apart every aspect of this book: its history, its transmission, its veracity, its theology, its morality, etc.  It has been criticized, ridiculed, mocked and condemned.  However, in their haste to heap criticism on the Bible, occasionally critics offer arguments that actually prove to be inconsistent with one another.  They make accusations against the Scripture that are mutually exclusive—they cannot all be true.  Of course, such inconsistencies are rarely noticed.  If a scholar is intent to find contradictions in the Bible, he will rarely find contradictions in …

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10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #7: “Christians Had No Basis to Distinguish Heresy from Orthodoxy Until the Fourth Century.”

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

Ever since Walter Bauer published his now famous Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity there has been a widespread obsession amongst modern scholars with the theme of early Christian diversity.  Study after study has explored how different, contradictory, and divergent early Christian beliefs were.  And it is on this basis that the terms “heresy” and “orthodoxy” are declared to be unintelligible prior to the fourth century.  After all, we are told, there was no Christianity (as we know it) prior to this time period, but only a variety of different Christianities (plural) all claiming they are the true …

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