Is the Canon Closed?

Derek Ouellette —  February 5, 2010 — 2 Comments

Welcome to View Points. This is the place where I post a question that invites your comments and views on various subjects. The floor is open to you with only three simple requests: 1. Keep your comments short (one thought at a time is helpful) 2. Be respectful and 3. Stay on topic!

Question:

Is the Canon closed? That is the question, now here are the qualifications:

By “Canon” I mean the Christian scriptures (whether Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox) and by “closed” I mean impossible to add any books.

Please keep on topic (this post will be heavily moderated). The question is not “which books belong to the Christian canon?” This is not a Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox debate. The question is: philosophically, can God, if He so chooses, add books to the Christian canon?

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Geneinne

    Where do you get your questions? (smile) I would say that basically God can do just about anything He chooses! Would He(God) at this point in history add to the ‘canon’… I don’t think so.

  • http://wearethestories.org Eric Gregory

    I think that depends on what one’s view of the “Christian Canon” is. Is it the books contained in the Bible? Does it include the writing of the Church Fathers? C.S. Lewis? N. T. Wright?

    I would suggest that the Christian Canon is never closed, as even those books we now consider “Scripture” (e.g. the entire New Testament) were not thought of as such in their day, even though the author of 2 Timothy (who we think is St. Paul) made it clear that “every writing that is divinely inspired is useful for teaching, for argument, for correction, for education in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete and equipped for every good work” (3:16). To suggest that the only “divinely inspired” writings are those written prior to the Canonization of the Bible is to limit the Holy Spirit’s involvement and direction of His one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, and indicates that we should not attempt to discern God’s will in contemporary society.

    While I doubt that, after 1500 years, anything would be added to the Bible (it’s more of a collection of Jewish literature as well as what was written by the apostles), we should not consider other writings devoid of the ability to be useful the way 2 Timothy shows them to be, in the same way that those of us who understand unity/catholicity to be important believe in the authority of apostolic succession. We should always keep in mind that it was a group of bishops in synod that sat down to vote on the canon of the Bible that we have today. They, led by the Spirit, put the books together. It’s been amazing to me that many Protestants believe in the authority of these books ALONE (I would concur that they hold a higher place as the New Testament was written by apostles who knew Jesus resurrected). As long as we aren’t contradicting the original intent of the authors of the New Testament, we should be good to go.

    In the Canon of Christian Literature, I would include Kierkegaard, Lewis, Wright, St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, and many others, while excluding Osteen, Jakes, Arius, and others who preach something other than the gospel they were entrusted with.