Friday, September 4, 2009

Bible Myth #10: Early Christians had the Bible

The early Christians didn’t have a Bible. The Bible as we know it today didn’t exist until about 400 AD; up until then there were over 250 works that claimed to be inspired. Today we know only 27 of them are accepted as inspired.

Besides, at that time only one in ten people could read so if God only wanted us to have a book to explain salvation; he should’ve waited until now to give it to us (though many parts of the world are still largely illiterate).

The early Christians had tradition, oral tradition, taught by the apostles, not the Bible. The Bible was born from that tradition; the sacred tradition of the Catholic Church, and the Holy Spirit who guided our bishops to select which writings were inspired and which were not.

The early Christians were Catholic.


dave ruiz said...

Dan ,All the early christians had was Jesus himself, the apostles and the Holy Spirit thereafter,(the "All" is sarcastic-that is a lot of "all"). Immediately thereafter you had ALL 27 books to some extent available to all or some of the church. In the 300' s you had the beginning of all 27 books together. It is immaterial as when the 27 books were put together while the apostles were alive-they were writing it ! To say that the foundation of the church was done apart from scripture is ironic. Indeed scripture itself says the twelve apostles were foundational to the church (Revelations). Indeed they appointed and had others appoint elders etc, as we do today. However,it is not "bible" vs. tradition or apostles and succeeding elders. It is apostles being scriptural and writing scripture (that covers old and new testament). It is up to All succeeding elders and believers, to be guided by the Holy Spirit within scripture also. Nothing changes. The bible is the yardstick yesterday, today and forever. Of course elders and tradition have there place, but again in line with scripture, as shown by God himself to each and every individual. There will always be compromised, even false elders, doctrine,and tradition to discern from. If you are not born again, even then, only by the grace of God will you be guided into truthful discernment. Again, look at Peter. He used scripture, teachers (judaic upbringing-full of rabbis and a "magisterium) and in the end, God the Father showed him how to make discern it all, to gloriously say, "Thou art the Christ".

Dan said...

Interesting. Help me understand what you mean by this:

“It is immaterial as when the 27 books were put together while the apostles were alive”

The last apostle died around 100 A.D. The 27 books were put together in the 300s (according to you). How do you reconcile that 200 year gap?

“The bible is the yardstick yesterday, today and forever”

If the “bible” was the yardstick yesterday (meaning all previous days) then what yardstick did Christians have from 200-300 A.D.? By your own words you acknowledge that they need the bible and they DID NOT HAVE IT until the 300s. How do you account for that?

This is why Catholics revere the Bible AND Tradition. The apostles were not just inspired to write but to teach. This teaching-that-wasn’t-written-down (called “oral tradition”) was the core of what the early Christians had to go on. How do they know the letter to Titus was inspired? It conformed to the teaching of the apostles. How did they know the letters of Clement weren’t inspired? They didn’t conform (perfectly) to the teaching of the apostles (and Jesus, of course).

Tradition and Scripture flow from the same Spirit through the mouths of the same authors (Jesus and the apostles). They are equal; they are the same! (the same truth; Jesus Christ). How could we have the Bible without Tradition? What would the early Christians have used to determine which books were inspired? The Holy Spirit did NOT guide them to draw correctly from a hat. They were led to see which writings conformed to the teaching (Tradition) of the apostles and by this process those writings were considered "scriptural".

How can the truths within Tradition be less than the truths in Scripture? Or, to put it another way, if you don’t trust Tradition, how do you trust the Bible that came from that Tradition?

Perhaps you will say you trust the Tradition of the first-century Christians but not of the Roman Catholic Church’s Tradition today but I challenge you to show evidence of why that is. I challenge you to show the existence of Tradition in the early Church that you would follow. This isn’t the first time I’ve requested this.

I asked you to show me even one early Christian who said baptism is only symbolic; instead of answering you began commenting on other posts.

I asked you to show me even one bishop who agrees with your theology and not Roman Catholic theology. Once again, you went and commented on other posts instead of responding.

The Tradition of the early Christians was MUCH closer to Roman Catholicism than the beliefs you’ve expressed and this was the Tradition given to them by the apostles This was the tradition the Holy Spirit used to guide them into selecting the correct books of the New Testament. If you disagree then provide positive evidence of early Christians who held the same beliefs you do.

dave ruiz said...

Dan."Immediately thereafter (100A.D) you had all scripture available to the churches-"to some extent" It certainly was not 200 years later as you say.It did take some time for copies to travel to outer churches(several years, a decade maybe). Their rapid spread is well documented. The yardstick between 200-300 A.D. was scripture, whether they had 22 books or 26 or 27 books. They did not put those books aside and say, "We will just wait another century for a big conference, until then we will take the teachers word for just what is the gospel,from Spain to Egypt.You know I did not read all 27 books of the new testament to get saved .......There was NO teaching by the apostles that was NOT written down. They did NOT orally tell folks to infant baptize and to do priestly confessing, and to pray for those in purgatory, and that indeed there is transubstantiation, and Mary was immaculate and was "assumed" up to heaven. The best you can say is that I speculate, but so do you if you say they did speak on these issues. What we know for sure IS WHAT THEY WROTE BY INSPIRATION. .......Tell me did Andrew say anything that would contradict John's gospel ?Just because every single word they spoke was Not written down ,why would you presume it is not covered by what was written by someone inspired ? Are you saying God left some things out out the full written story that he relied on Oral speaking and did not have it written ? It did NOT work in the Old Testament, why would it work in the new ? It is enough to discern what God has written ,but you want to add what MAY have been spoken by the apostles ?......"Get it in Writing"...... What is written is what was spoken solidly and for sure.... I have given you some early christians who have similar views as I .Who cares if read about them in a book or a blog or a web site. .....I told you of a pope who thought you are not regenerated at baptism.does he not count ? The bishops who fought against popery do not count ? The bishops and monks who fought against Marianism do not count ? Was not Luther a catholic monk and learned teacher?...... You definitely put a high reliance on what others believed and said and did 1800 years ago. They have their place, but not to your extent. Indeed you are half riding on their back (half tradition and half scripture). What is wrong with riding directly on what the apostles wrote, for indeed they are our foundation ,according to Revelations...... Indeed, my primary evidence against any falsehood, whether catholic or protestant or worldly, is scripture, as it was with the bishops and monks and popes that I alluded to above.