Was the Bible Canon
by Design or Accidental?
NCW 7, December 1993
Q. It is well known by those of us who know you that NCCG accepts the possibility of other scriptures and revelations whilst using only the Bible. Do you think the Bible has come to this world in its present form by a series of historical accidents or that God intended it to be as it is?
New Covenant Christians do not, as you rightly say, believe that the Bible is God's sole Word to mankind. We do not believe that the infinite Word can be contained within a finite book, nor do we believe that God wishes us to be ignorant about things not discussed in the Bible. Equally, we believe most seriously that it is a spiritual crime to feed babes with meat lest they choke or be led astray. Consequently we do indeed believe that the Bible, as it exists, which, whilst no doubt the product of historical processes and the product of the reasoning of imperfect minds and hearts, is supposed to exist in its present form in this Dispensation.
It must be remembered, however, that there are many Bible canons in circulation. Firstly, there is the Catholic Bible which contains various apocryphal books not normally found in Protestant Bibles. Then there is the Coptic Bible which yet contains other books found in neither Catholic nor Protestant Bibles. Which is the "true Bible"?
As New Covenant Christians we will not say. Whilst, for example, we accept that some of the Apocrypha are inspired, we believe that some are not. Our policy is to publicly use those Bible books which are accepted by all Christians and that basically leaves us with the Protestant Bible. However, it should be stated that whilst we use and accept the Protestant Bible Canon we are not Protestants. Neither are we Catholic, Orthodox or Coptic.
The apostle Paul said that he wore the clothes of the gentiles when he laboured amongst them. I think that is very much our attitude whilst working amongst different Christian bodies. We are happy to use the Protestant canon when fellowshipping with Protestants, the Catholic when fellowshipping with the Catholics, and the Coptic when fellowshipping with the Copts. The truth remains the same whether you use a Bible with fewer or more books. We know what we believe to be inspired and what we don't.
I am sure that the Bible which is being most used and spread around the world -- the Protestant Bible -- is the one that should be used right now. But I will not take the next step, as Protestants would, in saying that this proves that God accepts this Bible as the only legitimate canon. Let us not forget that the Bible itself doesn't even speak of "itself" -- there is nothing in the Bible books to say that a Bible would ever come into existence as a closed collection of canonical writings. Nowhere. The word "Bible" doesn't even appear in the Bible. Even the word itself means "books" and nothing more. Therefore New Covenant Christians will not subscribe to unscriptural dogma. We will not say that God's Word is the Bible, though we will certainly say that the Bible is God's Word and insist that anything else that professes to be His Word must be in harmony with it.
This page was created on 18 April 1998
Last updated on 18 April 1998
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