- Defining The Issues:
- Objection: "The Bible does not contain an inspired table of contents. So how do you know which person wrote which books(s) of the Bible? How do you know that Matthew wrote Matthew?":
-How do Roman Catholics know which oral traditions are inspired? Do they have an inspired table of contents identifying which specific oral traditions that we are supposed to heed to? Can they do any of this without resorting to weak, vague, or empty definitions of what constitutes "Tradition?" Do we need some infallible organization in order to recognize that the Koran and the Book of Mormon are not inspired by God?
-Canonical writings such as Job and Hebrews have unknown authors, yet the Church of Rome has never identified who wrote those books. If "not knowing the author" automatically means a denial of the inspiration of a religious text, then would Roman Catholics be willing to reject the inspiration of such books of the Bible, since their authors are unknown?
-Obviously, we can and must be dependent on outside sources of information in order to gather the correct books of the canon. No figure from the early church can directly tell us which books of the Bible are canonical because they are now deceased. So we must resort to the extra-biblical writings of the early church. We must draw some of our conclusions from the early church fathers. However, this is not in any way problematical for the Sola Scriptura position because none of the evidence verifying the canon is infallible. We can have sufficient certainty that the canon of Scripture as we know it today is the written Word of God.
- Objection: "Who determined the canon of Scripture?":
- Need For Infallible Certainty On The Books Of The Bible, As Roman Catholics Claim?:
*“According to Catholic doctrine, the proximate criterion of the Biblical canon is the infallible decision of the Church. This decision was not given until rather late in the history of the Church (at the Council of Trent). Before that time there was some doubt about the canonicity of certain Biblical books, i.e., about their belonging to the canon.” (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3, page 29, Copyright 1967; Under “Canon, Biblical”)
*“The Tridentine decrees from which the above list is extracted was the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon, addressed to the Church Universal.” (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, under the category titled "Canon of The Old Testament)