Love to hear your thoughts on this one!…Ok, so this one sort of morphed out of a thread on one of Lene’s recent blogs. And from there, viola! Houston, we have a blog post!
So the paradox goes like this….
First the 30,000 foot view:
If the Apocrypha was considered to be included in the Word for over a thousand years and then it was removed for part of the church (namely the Protestant church), what logical consequences does that have for how we view the Word and the Holy Spirit’s organizational actions on the church?
Now for some caveats:
- There was some continual disagreement over the centuries over the canonicity of the Apocrypha, from the 4th century AD into the 16th century AD at the Council of Trenth
- Jerome and Augustine presented differing views on the OT apocryphal books. Jerome, along with others like Origen, viewed the canon as only the Hebrew Bible, while Augustine viewed the canon as the Septuagint. We’re getting a little messy here, because well, both of these men were giants of the church. So I’m not walking to a conclusion that one of them was inherently spiritually flawed.
- The Protestant canon split was on similar lines, going the way of only the Masoretic Text instead of the LXX (Septuagint)
Here’s my logical knot that I’d love to get undone:
- The Word is God – John 1:1
- God does not change – Malachi 3:6
- The Apocryphal books were generally considered to be canon by much of the church for a thousand years.
- Why would the Holy Spirit include some books as part of his Word for 1000 years, then when the church split he allowed some of the canon (Apocrypha) to be changed for some Christians (Protestants)?
- If you’re Protestant, you have to admit here that the Word is God and that he is unchanging. How is it that people who were saved and are home with Christ right now truly believed the Apocrypha was the Word of God during their lives and probably got good things out of it, probably being built up spiritually in Christ? I’m assuming the Spirit spoke to them through it.
- If you a Catholic, you have to admit here that the Spirit is sovereign and that his Word is going to be preserved. Also there are many Protestants who are home with God right now as well, for whom the Spirit spoke to them through all of the Word, even without the Apocrypha.
- Does the Spirit give us so much free will that he allows even parts of his Word to be altered or up for discussion for changes? How does he judge that in light of Revelation 22:19 (applying this verse as inclusive of the entire Word; though the context is just Revelation here)? Is this simply a heart question…a 10th century Catholic who was taught the Apocrypha was the Word from birth versus a 21st century Protestant who was taught the Protestant canon was the Word from birth, but both have the same heart to pursue Christ and learn his Word…does it matter? What’s the impact on the heart with Christ?
I believe there are good Christians in both Protestant and Catholic churches – disclaimer, I am Protestant and I do get a little squeamish at some Catholic theology, but that is a discussion outside of the scope of this post. Also, if you hold to the theory that the 7 churches are historically spread out, then generally the medieval Catholic church is considered to be Thyatira, while the Reformation church was Sardis – which ironically the bad points of Sardis was that it was dead spiritually.
This really isn’t meant to be a Catholic vs Protestant post. Instead it’s trying to understand God’s will and movements in the church across history. My conclusions are:
- There were strong followers of Christ through all of these time periods, in both the Catholic and Protestant churches
- The Word of God is the Bible and is God.
- The Spirit spoke to his children through the Bible for all of his believers in every church and time period.
- For some reason, for some Christians it’s ok for them to consider the Apocrypha as Scripture. For others, it’s not ok for them to consider the Apocrypha as Scripture. My question is: why would the Spirit allow that to happen? Or better…what was his will in doing this, or allowing this, and why?
- All of this in the vein of simply trying to understand him better
Let me know what you think!