Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, July 06, 2009

My Codex Sinaiticus Rant

Today an announcement was made that one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the bible is available online. It actually exists in 4 separate physical locations but now is a complete online edition! The Codex Sinaiticus discovered in the nineteenth century in a Greek Orthodox monastery on Mount Sinai was written in Greek about 350 AD. Not only does it contain the 7 books of the Old Testament that were later relegated to the apocrypha after the reformation, but it also contains two extra “new testament” books, Hermas the Shepherd and the Epistle of Barnabas.
So how did the decision get made to not include those last two books in the New Testament but still retain the 7 books known as the deuterocanon, (tobit, sirach, maccabees etc) in the final canon? Why isn’t the book by Hermas considered inspired? Why isn’t the Epistle of Barnabas, an apostle not included in our modern day New Testaments?
The answer is that we believe and trust the work of the Holy Spirit through the Councils of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Codex was one of the earliest bound collection of writings that was first to be called the Bible, but yet the Church did not ultimately keep the same listing of books that was in Codex Sinaiticus.
The council of Carthage in 397 lists the canon of scripture as including the deuterocanon but not including Hermas or the epistle of Barnabas. Up to the 16th century, this was the canon that was accepted, but after the reformation the deuterocanon was relegated to the apocrypha and slowly found its way out of the Protestant bibles. Luther’s first German translation included them but placed them at the end in a separate section called the apocrypha. The 1611 KJV included them as well. Now you won't find the apocrypha in most Protestant bibles.

My point is that, why do non-Catholic Christians accept the work/discernment of the councils of the Church in excluding two books from the New Testament, but deny the work/discernment of that same council regarding its inclusion of the 7 deuterocanonical books? It’s almost like saying, “Yes the Catholic Church was lead by the Holy Spirit to discern the current 27 books we have in the New Testament, but this same Church was listening to Satan when it included the “apocryphal” books of Scripture.“

Also, this finding of the Codex Sinaiticus once again proves that Catholics didn’t add books to the bible. If we added these books to the bible (as the President of the Evangelical Theological Society stated in a June 2007 interview (min 18:35) with Albert Mohler,) than why are they present in the Codex from 350 AD? Why do educated non-Catholics make these false statements about the Catholic Church when some basic archaeology and history easily refutes this?

PS: St Jerome (5th century) and Cajetan (16th century during Trent) may not have agreed with the canon that the Church decided upon, but ultimately submitted their private judgment to the authority of the Church.


Blogger David L. Hall said...

Great post, TJ! This is THE question that "good evangelicals" cannot adequately answer. It was a significant push for me into the Church.

July 09, 2009 9:12 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Dr. Dave!

Hope all is well with you and yours.
I would like to get out to see you again but I don't have any music planned in your area, unless of course your parish wants a Catholic musician to do a show. (Hint hint. the new album is almost done, btw)

July 09, 2009 5:42 PM  
Blogger Devin Rose said...

Russ, this argument is right on. It is one that I include in my book, 50 Roads to Rome. The only attempt at a rebuttal I have heard is that this codex just included a lot of books and so it included the Shepherd and Barnabas, as well as the deuterocanonicals, because they were "important historical works" but not because anyone thought they were inspired. (I don't think this attempted counter-argument is very strong.)

February 02, 2011 11:42 PM  

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