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WHAT BOOKS BELONG IN BIBLE?
 
Foreword-
 
The Bible is a book written by men but the Church holds that it is necessary to believe that it was written somehow by God as well so that it is the word of God to be a Christian.
 
Books belong in the Bible if they are true to their original versions and if they contain the marks of divine inspiration. For all we know the writers of Bible books could have been altering their scriptures themselves after they wrote them to corrupt the word of God. They could have received a revelation and then written it down to suit their own thinking. We have loads of evidence that the Bible is not divinely inspired which means that Bibles are just tricks by men to get censoring the word of God and to keep him quiet if he does want to speak. Men put together Bibles and these men were all into power and followed a dishonest faith.
 
THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE
 
The word canon means rule or yardstick. The canon of scripture means the writings which have divine authority and which all claims must be measured against.

Judaism and Christianity both were not afraid to add books to the canon which contained books that said that they must not be added to.

Scripture by definition means writings from God which supersede any other books in value and importance.  Jesus himself canonised the Torah, the law of Moses, as infallible scripture and more emphatically than he canonised anything else. He did not canonise himself as explicitly!

God said in the Law that nobody was to add to or to subtract from his Law, the first five books of the Bible. It is significant that this gets more emphasis on the last book of the Law, Deuteronomy (4:2 and 12:32 for instance). That should silence anybody who says that later attempts to add to the Law in the Bible agree with the Law for they are exceptions and exceptions prove the rule. Furthermore, how can they be exceptions when they largely contain material that is less important than the Law? All books from Joshua on are additions to the Law and so are heretical. The Sadducees of Jesusí time believed that only the Law was inspired scripture.

Isaiah 8:20 said that no trust should be placed in anybody who taught anything that was not in the Law and the Prophets. Yet the Christians came along adding new scriptures to the Law and the Prophets namely the New Testament. Books written after Isaiah were added to the canon by the Jews. We have to take Isaiah literally for anybody with a bit of effort could have added new books to the Bible and founded a sect so Isaiah would certainly not have recognised the New Testament as the word of God for though it said it supported the Law and the Prophets it lied.
 
The popular consensus that the Sadducees recognised the five books of the Law as inspired by God is said to be unwarranted (page 40, The Canon of Scripture). Josephus was allegedly misunderstood when he said that they only listened to the written laws but that could mean all the laws in the Old Testament and ignored the oral laws which were merely tradition. No doubt they would have disparaged and rejected books that contradicted their theology like Daniel which prophesies a resurrection. Sadducees scoffed at the concept of an afterlife and of angels so they probably did stick only by the Law. Most of them would have. The Prophets looked back on the Law so much that it was really the only scripture that was needed and it itself said it could not be added to. Somebody had to pay attention to this teaching.

The first canon of the Christian Church was worked out by a man who butchered what may have been Luke or similar to it and many of the epistles of Paul to create a heretical canon that was anti-Jewish and anti-flesh. This man was called Marcion and this happened in 140AD. He gave the Church the idea of gathering together a New Testament canon.

All the orthodox canons recognised the four gospels and Acts and all the letters attributed to Paul. Irenaeus in 170 AD said that the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were so stable that that even the heretical Gnostics accepted them and twisted them to back up their peculiar doctrines (page 49, Why Does God?). Irenaeus was exaggerating here for it is known that the Gnostics used any holy book that was going to get converts among those who presupposed the gospels were inspired and they interpreted it in a mystical spiritual or symbolical sense to get hidden meanings from it and they wrote scores of gospels of their own. Besides, it was only a few Gnostic sects, notably the Valentinians, who accepted the same scriptures as the Orthodox Christians. What was unique about Irenaeus was that he was the first to realise that reasons had to be given for why this book and not that was canonical (page 81, The Early Church). The reasons were that the apostles sanctioned the writings and above all that the writings conformed to the doctrine of the Church not to mention that there had to be four gospels for there were four winds! None of the reasons bears plausibility because he was writing too late and there is evidence that the Church was already well into apostasy by then. Altered gospels, for example, Tatianís Diatessaron were officially accepted in many important regions of the Church before then.

Christian teaching is that it is the original scripts strictly speaking that are infallible and divinely inspired.  Transcriptions or translations are not covered with the same protection.  They are only God's truth in so far as they faithfully give what the original author meant and wrote. 


If Matthewís gospel was originally written in Hebrew why do we only have a Greek translation now?  It follows that the Church invalidly made Matthew part of the Bible because divine inspiration refers to Matthewís finished product not a translation.  Matthew is uncanonical.

The Muratorian Canon used at Rome about 200 AD had no Third Letter of John, no Hebrews and added the Wisdom of Solomon and the Revelation of Peter to the New Testament canon. These are its differences from the current canon. By fifty years later, Origen following the Church dropped James and Jude and the Wisdom and the Revelation of Peter and the last two letters of John. There was a dispute at the time about whether the Didache and the Letter of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas and the Gospel of the Hebrews and the New Testament books which were left out should be canonised.

The present canon was made in 367 AD by the Eastern Church when it finally got all the disputes about what books belonged in the New Testament solved and St Athanasius wrote a letter to tell inform the world (page 106, The History of Christianity). SOME of the Western Church approved this list at the Council of Hippo in 393 AD and Carthage in 397 AD. Then it became official. The infallible Council of Trent of the Roman Church ratified this list and made some changes.

Perhaps the Muratorian Canon has the most authority for it was the oldest and therefore the most traditional? But we are told that it never claimed to be final or closed. It was a canon but not a closed canon for there were books whose status had to be defined. This is hard to believe for the word canon means rule. Why didnít they just refer to a list? Why didnít they say all the books in the list are okay but it will take time to decide if they should be canonised? Why did they leave out the harmless books that others adopted? It was a canon full stop. A canon isnít very much good if it is an open list. The canon had to have been a closed one and we should assume that.

Christians say, ďThe books that were disputed were not of great doctrinal importance so their taking time to be accepted does not prove that the Christian Church is false and that it canít be under the direction of God. The books that were held by many parts of the Church to be scripture and by much of the others as possibly scripture which were later rejected were not important either. The canon of scripture is not made by the Church but only discovered by the Church after much diligent research and only books which were authorised by the apostles and fit the doctrine of the apostles and claim to be the word of God were accepted. The objection of many that the Church arbitrarily chose the books it wanted is unjust.Ē

In fact, it was arbitrary for the Church could not prove at the time it was making the canon who really wrote the books or even if the books were complete for whole paragraphs could have been dropped out of the books as originally written. And if the disputed New Testament books were not important then it was arbitrary for they could have been done without.
 
And the Church had other books burned so that there would not be too many serious disagreements. And the Church incinerated them without giving any evidence that it knew what it was doing. And it would have been branches of the Church that were responsible which makes it less likely that they had considered things carefully.
 
What happened to the books that the Gospel of Luke said existed? The Church soon ended up with few books to make a New Testament canon of. And the epistles of Ignatius though considered to have apostolic teaching and to be correct were not even considered for the canon. Another indication of arbitrariness is that we have no evidence that the Church could prove that the books had an apostolic origin. They even canonised books that had not claimed to be the word of God. Claiming to be the word would come first and being apostolic would come second for even the apostles could not be infallible unless they intended to write what God wanted them to write. This point is conveniently ignored by Christian apologists.

What business has the Church claiming to be the follower of the apostles when by right the apostles should have each put their signature and decree of approval on every book that is in the New Testament? It is reasonable for this to be have been done when they were the heads. If they expressed the word of God and God comes first then they would have had to put their seal on every book and prove that they approved of it. But this proof does not exist so why should we listen to the New Testament?

When the Bible has the spiritually useless book of Ruth and endless repetitive stories and genealogies how can one believe that it is the word of God and that the canon is reliable?
 
REVISING THE CANON

It would make more sense to reduce the canon of the Bible.
 
You could argue that the Law of Moses forbids anybody adding to its teaching so that you can deny that the rest of the Old Testament is the word of God. Then you could have John and the Johannine epistles as the only true gospel. This minimises contradictions. A Bible that needs too many solutions for its conflicts with history and philosophy and itself lacks credibility. It would need a divinely inspired interpretation to be sure that the solutions were valid otherwise you are saying the Bible must be Godís word for it never contradicts itself and it should while all the time you are just believing in what somebody thinks of the Bible.

The Law of Moses was once good enough before, though it was just five books, and it shows that a small canon can be good enough now.

Matthew is the gospel that most explicitly supports the Jewish Christian faith and the authenticity of the Law so you could say that it alone is the New Testament scripture. You could reduce the New Testament to one book.

If you want to cut the Old Testament off altogether you could just have the gospel of Mark and the First Letter of Peter as your canon. Both of these can be interpreted in such a way that the Old Testament can be seen as a mishmash of error and truth but not scripture but which just contains Godís word here and there. Second Peter would be dismissed, along with most modern scholars, as a forgery and because you cannot accept Paulís full approval for the Old Testament and this epistle says that Paulís writings were scripture.

Interpretation is very flexible and fluid. You could interpret Paul as opposing the Old Testament except for bits that contained true prophecy and canonise his epistles alone. Or you could just have the Old Testament and Paulís letters. It is certain that since we know the doctrine in these letters is Paulís his writings are supreme in the New Testament because it emerged from an authorised apostolic authority and Jesus made the apostles the foundation of the Church. We do not have the same assurance of apostolic authority and accuracy for any other book of the Bible therefore we can drop them. The Church said from the start that the books have to be from an apostle to be taken as scripture so Paulís writings are what the attention should be paid to and should be the yardstick against which the rest of the New Testament is judged for its apostolic origin is less certain according to all faithful Christians and doubtful and impossible or indeterminate according to the rest.

Any book claiming a miraculous origin such as the nineteenth century, Gospel of Holy Twelve, would have more right to be included in the canon than any New Testament book for the gospels and acts and epistles were all written the ordinary way. This book claimed to have been dictated from Heaven. I see no reason why you could not consider Joseph Smithís Book of Mormon to be the only extant reliable scripture and scrap the New Testament entirely. The Book of Mormon claimed to have been translated from golden plates given to Smith by an angel of the Lord.

Encourage Christians to study these matters and create new canons for anything that cuts off books off the traditional list is a step towards improved rationality and confusion among the superstitious factions of the Church can only be a good thing.

The amount of disagreements among the Christians are infinite. If Jesus had been the Son of God and as concerned for Godís word as he said Ė the New Testament says he even died for this concern to make the scriptures come true or as he put it to fulfil them he would have left behind a theological manual to resolve all these problems. He was the one claiming a hotline to God so he should have done this. As Jesus has left nothing but division and schism and hateful argumentation behind him, it is clear that this implies we are not to add to the Old Testament at all for one of the key themes of that Testamentís God is keeping his chosen people together. Jesus was a false prophet and not what he claimed to be. You may say that you could say the same of any Old Testament prophet. But these never claimed like Jesus that they could know what they wanted. They were just men who occasionally got communications from God. Believing in Jesus creates more mysteries, one of which we met a few lines ago, than it solves so commonsense says it is better not to bother.
 
SCEPTICS IN ERROR
 
It is important that sceptics of the Bible get their facts right.
 
They like to say that the New Testament list of books, and the idea that there are only four gospels, was sorted out late in the history of the Church and that those who chose them were biased and innovators determined to impose their own version of Christianity on the Church. They want to hold that the Church arbitrarily rejected gospels it didn't like.
 
Irenaeus in 180 AD when he spoke of there being four gospels was not making an innovation but just reiterating a tradition that was well established by then (page 37, Who Chose the Gospels?). It is a lie that Irenaeus ordered the destruction of other gospels - he merely advised that believers should not read them (page 59). Clement of Alexandria is said to have quoted gospels besides the four as authoritative whereas in fact he cited the four gospels at a ratio of 120 to 1 concerning the other gospels (page 72). He did not quote the other gospels as authorities but as useful to make his points just as a preacher might quote a fairy story. Seraphion permitted the Church at Rhossus to read the gospel of Peter as there was dissension in the Church there over it. He admitted he hadn't read it and regretted this permission (page 91). He spoke of the gospel as being put forward by them as if it had only just appeared. It was new for he had read the four gospels and didn't read this one. He speaks of it as being put forward by "them". So it appeared among one of the groups in the Rhossus Church. So nobody can say this was a gospel accepted by the general Church. 

CONCLUSION
 
The Books that have been put in the Bible have been put there for political reasons and not because they belong there. Under close examination, it can be seen that the choice of what was put in was arbitrary at times. A list is just a list and nobody should be compelled by the Church to accept its list.  Many books accepted by tradition as being from Jesus' authorised teachers are in fact forged.  The Bible having non-apostolic authors for not to mention liars means the canon must still be open and new books can be added.
 
FURTHER READING

A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
A Test of Time, David Rohl, Century, London, 1995
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, Undated
An Act of God, Graham Philips, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1998
Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press Bucks, 1988
Attack on the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1965
Belief and Make-Believe, GA Wells, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1991
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
But the Bible Does Not Say So, Rev Roberto Nisbet, Church Book Room Press, London, 1966
Catholicism and Christianity, Cecil John Cadoux, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1928
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, FrontLine, Florida, 2008
Creation and Evolution, Dr Alan Hayward, Triangle, London, 1994
Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
Essentials, David L Edwards and John Stott, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Free Inquiry, Fall 1998, Vol 18, No 4, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst, New York
God and the Human Condition, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London, 1967
God Cannot Lie, David Alsobrook, Diasozo Trust, Kent, 1989
God, Science and Evolution, Prof E H Andrews, Evangelical Press, Herts, 1985
Godís Word, Final Infallible and Forever, Floyd C McElveen, Gospel Truth Ministries, Grand Rapids, 1985
Hard Sayings, Derek Kidner, InterVarsity Press, London, 1972
How and Why Catholic and Protestant Bibles Differ, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ and Donald Senior, CP, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1983
How to Interpret the Bible, Fergus Cleary SJ, Ligouri Publications, Missouri, 1981
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996
Inspiration in the Bible, Fr Karl Rahner, Herder and Herder, New York, 1966
Jehovah of the Watch-tower, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1974
Letís Weigh the Evidence, Which Bible is the Real Word of God? Barry Burton, Chick Publications, Chino, California, 1983
Know What You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1973
Know Why You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1971
New Age Bible Versions, GA Riplinger, Bible & Literature Foundation, Tennessee, 1993
New Evangelicalism An Enemy of Fundamentalism, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1984
None of These Diseases, SI McMillen MD, Lakeland, London 1966
Our Perfect Book the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1958
Proof the Bible is True, Rev JMA Willans BD, Dip.Theol. Vermont Press, Larne, 1982
Radio Replies Vol 3, Radio Replies Press, Minnesota, 1942
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
Remarks on the New King James Version and Revised Authorised Version, DK Madden, 35 Regent Street, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7005, 1991
Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, Charles Pellegrino, The Softback Preview, New York, 1995
Science and the Bible, Henry Morris, Moody Press, Bucks, 1988
Science Held Hostage Whatís Wrong With Creation Science and Evolutionism, Howard J Van Till/Davis A.Young/Clarence Menninga, IVP, Downerís Grove, Illinois, 1988
Science Speaks, Peter W Stoner and Robert C Newman, Moody Press, Chicago, 1976
Set My Exiles Free, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
Testament, The Bible and History, John Romer, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1988
The Authority of the Bible, Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, 1980
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989
The Bible is the Word of God, Jimmy Thomas, Guardian of Truth, Kentucky
The Bible or Evolution? William Jennings Bryan, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Bible, Questions People Ask, A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication, Liguori Publications, Missouri, 1980
The Bible, The Biography, Karen Armstrong, Atlantic Books, London, 2007
The Canon of Scripture, FF Bruce, Chapter House, Glasgow, 1988
The Church of Rome and the Word of God, Rev Eric C Last, Protestant Truth Society, London, Undated
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts, 1982
The King James Version Defended, Edward F Hills, The Christian Research Press, Iowa, 1973
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Edited by Raymond E Brown, Joseph A Fitzmyer, Roland E Murphy, Geoffrey Chapman, New York 1990
The Theology of Inspiration, John Scullion SJ, Mercier, Cork, 1970
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Verbal Inspiration of the Bible, John R Rice Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1943
What is the Bible? Henri Daniel-Rops, Angelus Books, Guild Press, New York, 1958
Which Version Now? Bob Sheehan, Carey Publications, 5 Fairford Close, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 3EF
Who is a Fundamentalist? Dr Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1982
Why Does God..? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Pauls , Bucks, 1970
Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997