Aug 10, 2008
The Canon Is Not the Inerrant Word of God As the Church Teaches!
Then when will believers leave the principles and go on to perfection, and in what way does our exclusive dependency on the ancient canon hinder us?
If we take Jesus' words literally, all of what is included in the Canon cannot be the inerrant word of God as we have been taught to believe. At best, the Canon is merely a subset of the word of God!
Why is it important for a born again Christian pastor, evangelist, teacher and lecturer to raise this subject? I believe that the church is stagnant; it is feeding off of its internal organs (repeating the same behaviors and questionable texts over and over as if the Sovereign would not have advanced us any further in a 21st century context, Day 7 perhaps in a divine context).
The church has forgotten what was written in the 2000 plus year old documents, that the Sovereign would reveal more of itself in the future. Sincere church people are satisfied with gathering, singing, taking the Eucharist, performing the annual pageants, christening babies, performing marriages, raising offerings, having the annual picnic, going white-water rafting, organizing religious retreats, attending to customary and religious holidays…! However, answer the following.
Are we limiting ourselves by repeating past behaviors and limiting ourselves to a historically flawed text?
Is there more to what we ought to be doing, and more that we should comprehend by now that our predecessors would not have known or would likely not have understood during their time on Earth, men who saw but could not explain 'chariots of fire'?
What does God expect of a 21st Century Christian, a post-modern Christian whose spirituality is expected to have caught up with intellectual and scientific knowledge?
Are we letting God down, given our hyper-spirituality that is encased in a carnal church posture?
What would the Sovereign expect a post-modern 21 Century Christian to understand and do that his predecessors would not known or have done, 2000 years ago men could appeal to the Universe and cause moisture to fall from heaven?
Where should we be in terms of our capacity to know, to understand and to perform, keep in mind that we are far more advanced than 4BCE Christian happened to be?
Would the Sovereign expect that we would still be fighting among ourselves, thinking or talking on a 3rd grade level, okay for those in the 3rd grade, but shouldn’t we have knowledge, understanding and practices that far exceed those of our predecessors?
Have we grown up to the stature of Christ whole), or to a level of awareness that ought to become a group of humans who claim to be in touch with God in a 21 Century context? I think not!
Are we any different than the Hebrews that we often criticize, having said that they are stuck in the Old Covenant, and are incapable of moving beyond their ancient texts?
Are we stuck in an old Covenant ourselves, and as a result not even the Sovereign can move us past dancing, jumping, singing, raising offerings, taking the Eucharist or enjoying other religious activities and participating in historical/traditional religious behaviors, move over Shamans?
Before the Church can move forward to the next step, we must consider whether or not our primary literative source, Constantine’s Canon, is the inerrant word of God. Most Christians believe that it is, however, if you consider the words of Jesus - it is not! One minister argued on a prior occasion that you must believe all of it or accept none of it; in my opinion he went too far.
When you consider the disparate writers whose writings are included in the canon, and the number of biblical sources that are represented there, one can argue that while portions appear to be accurate and have both manuscript and spiritual authority, others are unsubstantiated and lack any support at all.
The Apostle Paul’s position in his epistle to his protégé Timothy, when he wrote that all scripture is “God-breathed…” suggests that we must consider what is and what is not by definition, scripture, including the Pauline letters.
Question: Did Paul consider the letters that he drafted and sent to disparate churches around the region to be scripture? Answer, I think not, and this is critical given that a major portion of the New Testament and what the church considers to be scriptures are predominately Pauline epistles. The Apostle himself even admitted that a portion of what he wrote in his epistle to the church at Corinth was not divinely inspired, he simply wrote by permission; Moses apparently did the same!
The Apostle’s position with regard to the next stage in the divine evolutionary cycle (which the church refers to as ‘the rapture’), as it is recorded in the book of Thessalonians - is not without flaw. Clearly, the Apostle 'misspoke'; he expected to be alive when the rapture occurred and to rise with those who were asleep. We know that the Apostle was summarily executed, having been beheaded approximately 2000 years ago, probably as a result of all of the individuals that he was responsible for their deaths.
How many Christians know that the Book of Revelations and other books that were included in the Canon were put there not by rote but by vote? The process of deciding which books would be excluded, or on the other hand which books would be included in the canon was based on which books received the highest number of votes. What can we learn from the Apocryphal writings that were excluded?
With respect to the Pentateuch, which was purportedly written based upon inspiration that Moses received directly from God, some of what Moses wrote was contradicted by Jesus. In fact Jesus commented on several occasions about positions that were taken by Moses and by others ‘of old times’, positions which were included in the Pentateuch. According to Jesus, many of the sayings by them old of old, including some of what Moses wrote (which have been included in the canon) that 'did not' originate with or come from God.
A perfect example of this would be those portions of Moses’ or others writings that were attributed to Moses regarding marriage, (particularly polygamous marriages) and divorce. Jesus said that in the beginning it was not so, which is one reason why the best of God's servants ought to be careful about what we, with the best of intentions, add on to what God said.
For even Moses, a man who ultimately ended up on the Mountain of Transfiguration, embellished and co-opted ideas from others at one time, which proves that everything in the canon 'is not the inerrant word of God', because it did not come from God!
Religious scholars believe that a lot of what has been attributed to Moses in the Pentateuch was apparently borrowed anyway. Again, Jesus said that what Moses wrote about divorce, 'in the beginning it was not so'!
There are hundreds of other examples to support my position; many texts that are not only without manuscript support, I suspect that these writings arose from manmade ideas. And having said that,those texts which have manuscript support particularly the poetical, allegorical, chronological and historical writings were oftentimes not meant to be taking literally. Have you ever written a poem? Do you have understand what poetic license means?
Why is it important to discuss this in a post-modern era, and is it my objective to destroy someone’s faith? The answer is no, for on the other hand my belief and therefore my purpose is to help the stagnating church move on to perfection. We must place what we have, accepted as historical truth, in its proper historical context for we need to move on.
Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth, many believers trust only in the Canon; they are not leaning on the Holy Spirit. The churches reliance on Constantine’s flawed Canon as an exclusive source, will prevent believers from pursuing and finding what is actual and factual as opposed to what is historically flawed and limited. How much power does the corporate church have today, the answer is in the question?
Have I tread upon dangerous ground? Of course I have, particularly to those who are seeped in tradition, and the ones who believe that something is true simply because it is what they believe to be truth!
Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon
Addenda: Why haven't I included other theological experts who have written on this topic? I would prefer that you hear it from someone who is 'born again'. I don't have a dog in the fight, I simply believe that we need to move forward, the powerless and at times useless church as it stands today is devolving into mediocrity and social and religious conformity.
Remember this, when Jesus dispatched his Apostles before departing from the Earth, he instructed them not to go to the church prototype of the day, The Temple and the Synagogues. Conversely, he dispatched his people to a remote location where the Spirit itself would be sent in order to move the church forward and into truth - which is what we all ought to be seeking. Many of today's churches have become the equivalent of what Jesus told his disciples to avoid, Temples, Synagogues, Priestly Orders and all!
The truth will help to build faith and to uncover the Truth, it will not destroy faith, unless it is a self-devised or brokered faith!