Many people have proposed various subjective standards for determining which books are to be considered as the Inspired, Written Word of God. But, unless they can show that they received these standards from God they must accept that they are relying on purely human reasoning. For example some people attend "Jesus Seminars" and they vote on various Scripture passages in the New Testament with different colored balls. One color indicates that they believe that Jesus really said the given quote, and another color expresses their doubt that He said it, and a third indicates that they are sure that He didn’t say it.
Some people, in an attempted defense of their rejection of the
Deuterocanonical books, have insisted that only the books of the Old Testament
that are quoted in the New Testament should be accepted as canonical.
However, they are quick to abandon "their standard" when they are faced with
the reality that "their standard" would also cause them to reject Ezra, Nehemiah,
Esther, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Obadiah, and Nahum, since these
are not quoted in the New Testament.
Martin Luther had developed his theory that only those books that taught his Dogma of Justification by Faith Alone should be accepted as part of the canon. However, he didn’t work out this theory until after he had lost a debate with a Catholic (either Cardinal Cajetan in 1518 or Johann Eck of Ingolstadt in 1519 AD), when 2 Maccabees 12:43-45 was quoted to refute Martin Luther’s "Faith Alone." His subjective standards were also the given for his reason for claiming that Hebrews, James, Jude, and the Book of Revelation were also not to be considered as fully the Inspired Word of God. (Although, evidently the Lutherans of the 17th century added these NT books back into their canon.)
In Luther’s German translation of the Bible, he took Hebrew, James, Jude and Revelation and placed them at the end of the New Testament. He categorized them as inferior to the rest of the Bible. He also had done this with the seven Deuterocanonical Old Testament books. (Until recently, the Deuterocanonical books called "apocrypha," were still in many Protestant Bibles, but in a separate section at the end.)
The book of James contradicts Luther’s principle of Justification by Faith Alone. James 2:24 says "See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." Rather than change his theology, Luther just denied that, James the Apostle, was the author of James and removed it from his canon.
In his preface to James he claimed,
"But this James does nothing more than drive to the Law and to its works. Besides, he throws things together so chaotically that it seems to me he must have been some good, pious man, who took a few sayings from the disciples of the Apostles and thus tossed them off on paper…In a word he wanted to guard against those who relied on faith without works, but was unequal to the task."In his preface to Hebrews, Luther said,
"We should not be deterred if wood, straw, or hay are perhaps mixed with them [precious notions], but accept this fine teaching with all honor."In Luther’s commentary on Revelation he wrote, "Everyone may make up his own mind as regards this book. As for me, I have a personal aversion to it and that is enough."
In another translation of Martin Luther’s writings, "Martin Luther:
Selections from his Writings" Dillenberger, page 35, we read in the Prefaces
to Luther’s German Translation of the New Testament in 1522 in regard to
the epistle of St. James:
"Firstly, because in direct opposition to St. Paul and all the rest of the bible, it ascribes justification to works, and declares that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered up his son. St. Paul, on the contrary, in Romans 4:3, teaches that Abraham was justified without works, by his faith alone, the proof being in Gen. 15:6 which was before he sacrificed his son. Although it would be possible to save the epistle by a gloss giving a correct explanation of justification here ascribed to works, it is impossible
"In sum he wished to guard against those who depended on faith without going to works, but he had neither the spirit nor the thought nor the eloquence equal to the task. He does violence to scripture and so contradicts Paul and all of scripture. He tries to accomplish by emphasizing law what the Apostles bring about by attracting men to love. I therefore refuse him a place among the writers of the true canon of my Bible."
Catholics used human reasoning in determining the canon, but Catholic
theology allows for and believes that the Holy Spirit guided them with grace
in their infallible pronouncements in this all important matter. Protestant
theology disallows such infallible guidance for Catholics as well as for
themselves. Without the aid of God's infallible grace it would be impossible
to judge supernatural things, that is, that this is the written Word of God,
with just natural means.
The Protestant scholar J. Kelly writes:
"It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the [Protestant Old Testament] . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocrypha or Deutero-canonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of Christians was . . . the Greek translation known as the Septuagint. . . . most of the Scriptural quotations found in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew.. . . In the first two centuries . . . the Church seems to have accept all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture. Quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas. . . Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache [cites] Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon [i.e., the Deuterocanonical portions of Daniel], and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is too frequent for detailed references to be necessary"Protestant Scripture scholar F. F. Bruce in his book, THE CANON ON SCRIPTURE, states:
"In 405 Pope Innocent I embodied a list of canonical books in a letter addressed to Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse; it too included the Apocrypha.72 The Sixth Council of Carthage (419) Re-enacted the ruling of the Third Council, again with the inclusion of the apocryphal books…
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the Deuterocanonical Books
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Deuterocanonical books - what they are