QUESTIONS ON THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON

Refuting The False Teaching Of Catholicism
That Their Church Councils Established The Canon Of Scriptures

By John Henry

June 17, 2003


Some would have us believe that there were no churches that had all 27 books of the New Testament before the Roman Catholic Council of Carthage in 397 A.D.  They teach that the Roman Catholic was responsible for identifying and assembling the New Testament canon of Scripture.  Here are 21 questions that if answered honestly will refute these Roman Catholic notions.

1.  Prior to the completion of the book of Revelation, did the members of the early churches have special revelation gifts to guide them?

NOTE:  "...whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is Perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (1 Cor 13:8-10)

2.  After God completed the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of John, and the 3  Epistle of John by the hand of the Apostle John were they circulated among and copied by the 7 churches of Asia, and other churches? 

NOTE:  John pastored the Church of Ephesus, one of the 7 churches.

3.  Did the churches of Jerusalem (and Judaea), Antioch (and Syria), Colosse, Rome, Cenchrea, Corinth, Macedonia, Asia, Cilicia, Galatia, etc., etc. circulate among themselves copies of the previously mentioned books of John, plus the letters by James and Jude, the Book of Acts, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Paul's letters to the churches in Roman, Corinth, Galatia, Philippi, Colosse, Thessalonica, Ephesus, and his letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philomon?

NOTE:  The Scriptures were being circulated as early as 65 A.D. [Phil 4:16, James 1:1; 1 Pet 1:1; Rev 1:11], and were being compiled before 70 A.D. [2 Pet 3:15-16; Jude 17]

4.  Did 2nd Century Gallic Christians in France have contact with the churches in Asia? 

NOTE:  After a massacre by heathens in 177 AD they send word of it, not to the Church in Rome, but to brethren in Asia Minor. (Which Bible? edited by David Otis Fuller, pp. 202-203)

5.  Did the Waldensian churches (ancient Baptists) of Northern Italy and Southeast France have the Word of God in their languages (Italic, Galic) as early as 157 AD ? (Bible Version Manual by Donnal T. Clark, p. 19)

6.  Did the Waldensians claim "that they...had the full enjoyment of the heavenly truth contained in the holy Scriptures ever since they were enriched with the same by the apostles; having in fair MSS preserved the entire Bible in their native tongue [Italic or Old Latin], from generation to generation"? (History of Baptists by G. H. Orchard, p. 257)

7.  Did Calvin's successor, Theodore Beza (1519 - 1605), date the Italic church back to 120 AD? (Which Bible?, p. 208)  In 1524 did the Roman Catholic Cardinal Hosius admitted that Anabaptists [Baptists] dated back to the days of Constintine? (Housius, Letters Apud Opera, pp.112,113 as quoted in Trail of Blood, p. 3, Ashland Av. Baptist Church, Lexington, KY, 1933)  Did Hosius further state,  "The Anabaptists are a pernicious sect of which kind the Waldensian brethren seem to have been..."? (Hosius, Works of the Heresatics of our Times, Bk. I. 431. Ed. 1584 as quoted by John T. Christian).    In 1819 did a study commissioned by the King of Holland determine that "...Baptists...were originally Waldenses...[who are]...the only religious community which has continued from the times of the Apostles..."?  (The History of the Baptists by Thomas Armatage, p. 149)

8.  Did Clement, the early independent fundamental Baptist pastor of the Church of Rome quote from Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, Titus, James, 1 Peter, and Revelation in his letter to the Church of the Corinthians (95 AD)?

NOTE:  Eighty-five years after the completion of the canon [in 180 AD], Irenaeus who was discipled by Polycarp, who was discipled by John, who was a disciple of Christ Jesus attested as cononical all New Testament books except Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3rd John, and Jude.  The Revelation is also cited by ancient Baptist like Irenaeus [130 - 200 A.D.] 65 times, Tertullian [160 -220 AD] 205 times, and Hippolytus [about 170 - 230 AD] 188 times.  Second Peter 3:8 is cited in the Epistle of Barnabus [written sometime between 70 and 132 AD].

9.  Does Clement's, Irenaeus' or anyone else's failure to mention, list or assemble all 27 books of the New Testament into one volume mean that they are not canonical?

10.  Since the Church at Rome fell into deep heresy and corruption long before the days of Constintine, could it still have been considered a New Testament church?

NOTE:  Zephyrinus, the pastor of the Church of Rome [199-218 AD] was publicly rebuked by an independent fundamental Baptist pastor from a near by church by the name of Hiippolytus.  He said the pastor of Rome was "corrupt and bribed to connive at error."  Hiippolytus said of Callixtus, the next Pastor of Rome [218-222 AD], that he was the inventor of "indulgences."  Callixtus claimed to have power to forgive sins.  Hiippolytus said that "he was an imposter [not saved] and knave [crook]."  Callixtus married church members into rich pagan families in order to acquire wealth.  Hiippolytus refused to fellowship with the church in Rome, calling it a school of corruption.  Zephyrinus and Callixtus were corrupt both doctrinally and ethically.

11.  Is it possible that the depository and keeper of the New Testament Canon could be any kind of denomination or universal (catholic) church? ( 1 Tim 3:1-15) 

12.  Was Roman Catholicism after the days of Zephyrinus and Callixtus, and especially after Constintine "the pillar and ground of the Truth"

13.  Is the God ordained depository and keeper of the Biblical Canon, "the pillar and ground of the Truth," the local New Testament church?  Were local New Testament churches that were never in fellowship with Rome (i.e. Waldenisians, Novationists, Dontatists, Montanists, Paterines, Cathari, Paulicians, Petro-Brussians, Arnoldists, Henricians, Albigenses, etc.) "the pillar and ground of the Truth" (1 Tim 3:15;  cf. John 16:13-15)? 

NOTE: Those ancient independent fundamental churches were all branded as Anabaptists [Rebaptizers] by Rome and finally recognized as Baptists.

14.  Should we look to late Roman Church history (200 AD on) for the finalization of the Canon?  Was the Roman Catholic Council of Carthage in 397 A.D. the authority for finalizing the canon?

15.  During the time of the writing of the books of the Bible (about 50 - 100 AD) or during the early days of the church did it matter if God's Word was bound in one volume or not?

16.  Did God provide the books and sufficient light to understand them to each of the very early churches?

17.  If, in the early days of the church, a church did not have every book of the Bible in their possession would it change the fact that all 27 New Testament books and all 39 Old Testament were inspired or that they were canonical?

18.  In Old Testament times was the rule still Scripture Only?  If a NT church was missing books of the Bible was the rule still Scripture Only?

19.  Does God require us to act on what we do know or on what we do not know?

20.  In time was the Canon complete when John finished the Book of Revelation? (Rev 22:18-19)  In eternity past in Heaven was it complete even before that? (Ps 119:89)

21.  Did the Holy Spirit guide the church to know which of the books of the Bible were inspired and to be included in the Canon?

NOTE:  Satan did try to confuse the church with psudo-scriptures, and deceivers,  but the Holy Spirit quickly guided the churches into "ALL TRUTH."  John 16:13-14 says:  "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you [plural, i.e. the church] into ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."



Articles Standing For The King James Bible