Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The Canon of Scripture (1)

You probably wouldn't fill the 02 Arena if you were organising a conference the theme of which was The Canon of Scripture. For many the term might well be associated with dusty old tomes of theology, dates that hardly anyone can remember and DWEMs (Dead white European males). Incidentally, some of the greatest theologians of the early church were neither white nor European. Athanasius, for example, was an African, as was Augustine. Some of the strongest centres of early Christianity were to be found in North Africa.

Back to the canon of scripture. This topic is one which underlies many of the questions about the authority of the Bible and why we should accept the Bible as we have it. The criticism is usually that the church invented the Bible as we have it and therefore we should see it for what it is - a piece of literature compiled for political purposes. Critics claim that the writings rejected by the church, like the gnostic scriptures, are actually the real Christian scriptures which were suppressed by Constantine and the Catholic Church. That's the kind of thinking behind the (fictional) storyline of The DaVinci Code.

Understanding how the canon of scripture came together is important in our dialogue with people who have questions about the Bible's reliability.

No comments: