“Sola Scriptura”, the Canon, and Roman Catholicism

Dr. James White and Dr. Michael Kruger, President and Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC, discuss the issues of the NT Canon, Sola Scriptura, and Roman Catholicism.

I don’t know why it starts where it does; so please rewind to the beginning after clicking on it.

Anyone commenting by way of seeking to refute the Protestant position on Sola Scriptura or the Canon as oppossed to the Roman Catholic view, needs to demonstrate that they have listened to the whole thing first. 

I especially encourage Muslims to listen to this carefully and take notes. It will help you understand why liberal critical scholarship is wrong about the canon of Scripture, and why the popular “Da Vinci Code” type argumentation by Dan Brown is wrong. Also, it will help to understand why the common mis-conception that the council of Nicea in 325 AD had anything to do with the canon of Scripture, is wrong. For more on the Council of Nicea of 325 AD, see here.  Also, you should invest in 3 of Michael Kruger’s books, in order to properly understand the truth of these issues:  

1.  Canon Revisted

2.  The Heresy of Orthodoxy, with Andreas Kostenberger

3.  The Question of Canon

see his 3 books at his excellent website here; and also see his past series on the canon.  

and here.

Also, see my earlier post on 2 of his books and website.

The English word “canon”, comes from the Greek word, “canon” ( κανων ) which came from Hebrew קנה ( QaNeh ), which originally meant a “measuring rod”, “a reed”, and came to mean “standard” (in Arabic and Farsi = معیار ،”criterion” (Furqan) فرقان , “rule”, “law” قانون , “principle” قاعده. It is related to the Arabic word, Qanoon (قانون ), which is another for “law”, “rule”, besides Sharia/Shariat شریعت / شریعه.  

“Canon” eventually came to mean the list of books that Christians believed were “God-breathed”/inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) and inspired. (2 Peter 1:20-21) They were only “canon”/ “standard” because they were already “God-breathed”/inspired. As R. C. Sproul has written, “the Bible was canon as soon as it was written”. (p. 82, Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible, Don Kistler, editor, Soli Deo Gloria, 1995) The books of the Bible were God-breathed and therefore canon, the minute they were written and the ink dried, for the NT, in the first century, for the OT when they were written. Because the 27 books of the NT were God-breathed at the time they were written, from around 48 AD to 96 AD, they were already canon because they already existed as God-breathed, inspired books. (same principle applies to the OT canon – they were inspired / God-breathed at the time of writing.) That is what Dr. White means by “canon is an artifact of inspiration”; “a book is canon, because it was already “God-breathed” when written.

That it took some time for the early church to discover all the books was because:
1. When they were originally written from 48-96 AD, they were individual scrolls written to different areas, communities, churches, by various people. So churches in certain areas did not even have all the books or letters yet, because others were written to other areas.
2. The codex form of a “book” was not even used much until the middle of the second century.
3. Many scholars believe it was the Christians of the early centuries that made the codex form popular and eventually evolved into our modern “book” form with a binding.
4. The Romans burnt many of the Scriptures during the first 3 centuries.
5. The persecution of Christians and difficulty of travel and communication contributed to the time it took to gather them all together under “book cover”, so to speak.

Also: Other Significant points to keep in mind:
1. The earliest list of all the 27 books together is by Origen around 250 AD.
(see here) at Dr. Kruger’s site


here. at Triablogue by Jason Engwer

2. The most well known list is Athanasius in 367 AD with his Festal letter 39. After listing the 27 NT books, Athanasius writes, “in these alone is the teaching of godliness” – notice the word “alone”. “sola” in Latin, Mono in Greek. It is a piece of historical evidence for “Sola Scriptura” in the early church.

3. But, both Irenaeus and Tertullian use most of the NT books (all four gospels and all of Paul’s letters except for they are silent on Philemon, a very small book. And they use Hebrews, 1 John and 1 Peter, Jude, and Revelation), these are either quoted as Scripture, alluded to, or named as authentic and written by an apostle or student of an apostle, by Irenaeus (writings – 180-200 AD); and Tertullian (writings -190-225 AD). They are silent on Philemon, James, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John. But Clement of Rome, in 96 AD, earlier, uses 2 Peter! Before Irenaeus and Tertullian, we don’t have earlier writings that are large. The letters and writings of Clement of Rome (96 AD), Ignatius (110 AD), Justin Martyr (165 AD), Polycarp (155 AD), the Didache(70-120 AD), The epistle of Mathetes to Diognetes (130-190 AD ?), pseudo-epistle of Barnabas (70-131 AD) (NOTE – this is not the late 16th Century forgery “The gospel of Barnabas”), the Shepherd of Hermas (140-155 AD) – these earlier writings are very small compared to the volumes that Tertullian and Irenaeus wrote.

Posted in Apologetics, Canon of Scripture, church history, Muslims using Roman Catholic Apologetic Arguments, Roman Catholicism, The Canon of Scripture | Leave a comment

James White on the Dividing Line (May 8, 2014) – 1. Behold the secular woman and 2. William Lane Craig’s Molinism

First part, Dr. White discusses the young woman named Emily Lett, who made a video of her decision to have an abortion, her thoughts before and after the abortion. It does not show the abortion, or results of the abortion.   Dr. White’s title:  “Behold, the secular woman” is appropriate.  He also made some excellent exhortations that in all our righteous anger (Psalm 4:4; Ephesians 4:26) over this callous act of murdering her own unborn child, we need to weep for the new secular generation and reach out to them with the gospel and love.  They are the new mission field in our culture. 

The Second part was deep.  It is analyzing William Lane Craig’s Molinism and middle knowledge and libertarian free will.  Molinism came from a Jesuit priest named Molina who was charged with the task of coming up with an answer to the Reformation’s view of the bondage of the human will without grace and the Sovereignty of God.   Rich Pierce made the insightful comment that the way William Lane Craig explains God sounds like He is just an algorithm, a mathematical formula.  Deep stuff.  

Posted in Abortion, Free will, Molinism, moral corruption of culture, William Lane Craig | Leave a comment

Understanding Mormonism

Is the Mormon my Brother? by James R. White

Since Glenn Beck, a Mormon, spoke recently at Liberty University, it seemed especially appropriate to post this now. I had most of this ready in a draft for a while now. Denny Burk commented on Liberty allowing Beck to speak here.

James White commented also this morning here, along with comments on Ergun Caner, hypocrisy and Liberty University.

It seems that Liberty University puts conservative politics and social values as more important than the doctrines of the gospel and historic Christianity, and making it clear that Mormonism is a false religion, polytheism, and a cult.

Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries analyzes the religion of Mormonism, otherwise known as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. Mormonism is not Christianity at all; it is polytheism – thousands, even millions of gods exist in Mormon theology. It is not a Monotheistic religion. One of the most interesting comments that Dr. White has made is, in my own words, something like, “Islam has more in common with Christianity, in the doctrine of God, than Mormonism.” I knew this many years ago before even knowing about Dr. White.



From Dr. White’s You Tube Page.

Letters to a Mormon Elder, by James White

Is the Mormon my brother?, by James White

One nation under gods: A History of the Mormon Church, by Richard Abanes

Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin

Posted in Apologetics, Mormonism | Leave a comment

Jesus rose from the dead in history; the empty tomb

N. T. Wright’s book on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, that Dr. Habermas mentions, with a 550 page word study on the two Greek words for resurrection, anastasis (to stand up again) αναστασις and egeiro – εγειρω (to raise, to lift up).  


These Greek words, whether used by Jews, Christians, pagan Greeks, etc. were always or almost always used about a body – a body that had died.

The resurrection proves that Jesus really died, and that His death was the atonement for sins and that Jesus truly was all that He Himself claimed that He was – Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, God the Son, prophet, final sacrifice and atonement for sins.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died (απεθανεν) for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried (εταφη), and that He was raised (εγηγερται, perfect past passive indicative = “he has been raised up”, 3rd singular, from εγειρω, to raise) on the third day according to the Scriptures, (“according to the Scriptures” = κατα τας γραφας)

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν πρώτοις, ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον, ὅτι Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν κατὰ τὰς γραφάς, 4 καὶ ὅτι ἐτάφη, καὶ ὅτι ἐγήγερται τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ κατὰ τὰς γραφάς

Remember James Dunn’s assessment of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:
James D. G. Dunn on the apostle Paul’s testimony in 1 Corinthians 15:1-9 – “This tradition, we can be entirely confident, was formulated as a tradition within months of Jesus’ death.” Jesus Remembered, page 855. That was some time between 30-34 AD, very early testimony. And Mark wrote his gospel, from Peter’s preaching, sometime between 48-60 AD.

“Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’

Mark 16:4-7

“Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified”

“He has risen”
εγερθη – Aorist Passive Indicative, 3rd singular – “He was raised”, from same root word in 1 Cor. 15:4 – from εγειρω – “to raise up”

Posted in Apologetics, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Paul B. Williams’ favorite scholar affirms the apostle Paul and 1 Corinthians 15:1-9

Muslims like to cast doubt on the apostle Paul and his writings; and they like to use liberal scholarship. Paul Bilal Williams likes to use James D. G. Dunn a lot in his polemics against the New Testament and against the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Al Masih.

James D. G. Dunn on the apostle Paul’s testimony in 1 Corinthians 15:1-9  - “This tradition, we can be entirely confident, was formulated as a tradition within months of Jesus’ death.” Jesus Remembered, page 855. (some online sources that are quoting this, say the page number is 825, but I have the electronic version of Jesus Remembered and it is on page 855.

Interesting that Paul B. Williams’ favorite NT scholar affirms 1 Corinthians 15!

1 Corinthians 15
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Fact of Christ’s Resurrection

15 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Posted in Apologetics, Apostle Paul, Bible is not corrupted, Historical reliability of the Bible, Islam, Muslims, Reliability of the Bible, The Atonement of Christ, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Response to Matthew Vines’ book, “God and the Gay Christian”

God and the Gay Christian?”  A Response to Matthew Vines’. 


Denny Burk had an article on Matthew Vines’ book earlier this morning.

I responded with a couple of comments:

Ken Temple April 22, 2014 at 9:27 am #
James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries also responded to Matthew Vines’ video lecture that he argued for his “Gay Christian” position. ( for 5 hours total )

one person named Nathan Cesal quoted Ezekiel 16:49
Nathan Cesal April 22, 2014 at 10:48 am #
Ezekiel 16:49 Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

To which I replied:

Ken Temple April 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm #
You left out verse 50, which includes homosexual acts – the word “abominations” (also used to describe homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 and adultery and incest in Ezekiel 22:11 and other sins like stealing, murder, adultery, lying, idolatry, etc. in Jeremiah 7:9-10.

The Hebrew word, to’evah (תועבה = abomination) is clear.

Ezekiel 16:50 “Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”

Posted in Homosexuality, moral corruption of culture, The gay agenda | Leave a comment

Refuting Paul William’s take on “but some doubted” in Matthew 28:17

Paul Bilal Williams, in a tweet to Nabil Qureshi, asks about Matthew 28:17, “but some doubted”.   Interesting that he left out the part about the disciples “worshiping Jesus”.  Indeed.  The Greek construction seems to point to the 11 worshiping Jesus, but that there were others there that “doubted”.  The “doubting” is probably a term of amazement as in “wow, I don’t believe it!”  or “Amazing! It’s too good to be true!”  Luke 24:41 captures the essence of this statement - “they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement” (Luke 24:41, NASB)   If it was real doubt, it was only temporary, whether it was some of the 11 or the others, as in the 500 brethren of I Corinthians 15:6.  

Keith Thompson demonstrates that the 500 brethren who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ was in Matthew 28:10-28.


James D. G. Dunn on Paul’s testimony in 1 Corinthians 15 - “This tradition, we can be entirely confident, was formulated as a tradition within months of Jesus’ death.” Jesus Remembered, page 855. (some sources, say the page number is 825, but I have the electronic version of Jesus Remembered and it is on page 855. Interesting that Paul B. Williams’ favorite NT scholar affirms 1 Corinthians 15!


“but some doubted” – this comment by Tim Chaffey seems to capture the essence of what Matthew is trying to say: 

The doubt exhibited here is not unbelief, but more like hesitation, which is what the Greek word distazo implies (see BDAG, p. 252). This is not the typical word for doubt used in the New Testament (diakrino). In fact, it is only used in one other time (Matthew 14:31, see below for explanation). Instead of refusing to believe what they were seeing, like some have said, the disciples were amazed. The concept here is somewhat comparable to our modern statements like “It’s too good to be true,” or “Pinch me, I’m dreaming.”  (Tim Chaffey) 

It seems the “some” ( Greek, hoi = literally “those”, plural of “he” ho) are others who are there with the 11 disciples.  


There are other passages that support this idea and show why the three claims listed in the introduction are illegitimate interpretations. Jesus appeared to the group of disciples (minus Thomas) on Easter night. At first, they were afraid, but He comforted them by showing them His hands and feet and telling them not to be afraid. Even after these things, we read that “they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement” (Luke 24:41, NASB). The disciples already believed Jesus had risen from the dead. Just minutes earlier they told the two disciples who had seen Jesus on the road to Emmaus: “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:33–34). But now that they could see Him with their own eyes, they were amazed and rejoiced, which was the reason for their “doubt.”


Earlier in His ministry, a man with a demon-possessed son pleaded with Jesus to cast out the demons. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” The man’s response is intriguing—he cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:14–24). (Tim Chaffey) 

Posted in Apologetics, Apostle Paul, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ | 2 Comments