Tim Ward Reviews “The Question of Canon”

Michael J. Kruger

Posted on

January 19, 2015

Tim Ward, Associate Director of Proclamation Trust’s Cornhill training course in London, just published a very kind review of my book The Question of Canon (IVP Academic, 2013) over at Reformation 21.  Of course, Tim is the author of his own book on Scripture (also with IVP), an excellent piece of work entitled Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God (IVP, 2009).

Tim’s review actually covers two books, first J. Merrick and Stephen M. Garrett, eds., Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Zondervan, 2013), and then The Question of Canon.  As he observes, the first is a book on the theology of Scripture, the second is a volume on the history of Scripture.

Here are the first and last paragraphs of Tim’s review:

Michael J. Kruger’s The Question of Canon is an unqualified delight. It is clear-headed, attempts to be scrupulously fair to those with whom he disagrees, and is concerned to make no claims beyond what his arguments directly entail. It is a work of apologetics, responding to what Kruger takes to be the five most commonly held tenets of the liberal consensus on the history of the formation of the NT canon. This consensus view holds that the NT books were not written as canon but only became canon over time. Kruger calls this the ‘extrinsic’ model of the canon, as opposed to the evangelical ‘intrinsic’ model which sees canon as something inherent to the texts and in early Christianity themselves.
Kruger’s overall conclusion is that canon is a seed evident in the church from the very beginning, which grew over time. He sees himself as having undermined the extrinsic model sufficiently to allow a fresh look to be given to the traditional intrinsic model.
Throughout, the author graciously finds as many positives as he can in the positions he critiques, while being clear about what he thinks is the solid ground for his own position. He thinks that his arguments hold water purely as history, quite apart from the views one holds on biblical inspiration. Any reader who has been taught the liberal consensus on the NT canon in a way which makes it appear to be the only viable option for a sensible historian will be hugely helped by the lucidity, charitableness and strength of the arguments implied in Kruger’s probing of its shaky assumptions.


Thanks to Tim for this very positive review.  You can read the whole thing here.


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