Torch, Spring 1978

God, the Holy Spirit, regenerates men. This is in conjunction with the God– breathed Word, and gives men the spiritual capacity to recognize HisWord. Regenerated men are able to catch the light of Scripture and submit to its authority. Jesus confirmed thiswhen He said, "My sheep hear my voice . . . and they followme" (Jn. 10:27). When men have been born from above they are able to hear the authoritative voice of the Saviour in the Bible and submit to its authority as the rule for their belief and for their conduct. God's activity in originating the text, bearing the writers, regenerating His people, and providentially gathering and preserving the books is that which constitutes the authoritative character and extent of the canon. THE OLD TESTAMENT CANON The Old Testament books were acknowledged as authoritative by the people ofGod as soon as they were given. Moses wrote the collection of the law, and the people immediately acknowledged its divineauthority by pledging their obedience to it (Ex. 24:4-7). Joshua wrote in the book of the law, and the authority of hiswordswas acknowledged by the people (Josh. 24:26-28). In like manner, the Prophets often quoted one another and rebuked the people for not doing theword of their predecessors (Zech. 1:5; Hos. 6:5). Isaiah mentioned the roll on which his prophecieswere written as "the book of the Lord" (Isa. 34:16), and Daniel indicated that by the books (a collection of Prophetic writings including Jeremiah) he was able to understand the seventy-year desolationof Jerusalem (Dan.9:2). The New Testament witness to the Old Testament canon is multiple. During the production of the New Testament, the Old Testament existed as a completed collection to which Divine authority was ascribed (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21). Christ's testimony to the absolute authority of the Old Testament cannot successfully be denied, for He declared that the Scriptures cannot be broken (Jn. 10:31-36). The division of the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms was acknowledged by Christ, and He asserted that they would be fulfilled (Lk. 24:44). Paul, by the Spirit, referred to these holy Scriptures as the Old Testament which the veiledminds of the Jewscould not penetrate (I I Cor. 3:14). In addition, all the booksof theOldTestament canon are quoted in the New Testament except Esther, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Obadiah, Nahum, andZephaniah. THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON The foundation of the New Testament canon lies in the eternal counsel of God and the history of His redemptive activity. The NewTestament is the record of that which God did redemptively by sending His Son in the fullness of time. The writer of Hebrews declared that God spoke long ago and in many ways by the prophets, but "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1, 2). Jesus Christ possesses all authority as the risen Redeemer and Lord. The delegation of this authority to men who were to represent Him and testify concerning His redemptive acts is the foundation that undergirds the production of the NewTestament record. Chirst chose the Apostles for a very distinctive and significant ministry. Through the Spirit He chose them, authorized them as His representatives, endowed themwith power, caused them to be led into all truth, reminded them of what He had said, and manifested things to come. The Apostolic testimony was a legal eyewitness account of the redemptive history which was to be recorded for theworld and the 11 church. This methodology was planned and commissioned by Christ, for He had promised to build His church on the witness of the Apostles (Mt. 16:18; Eph. 2:21). The Apostolic writings, like the prophetic corpus, possessed inherent authority from the time of their composition. They were designated by the Apostles (I Th. 5:27; Col. 4:16). Peter placed Paul's writing on apar with the Old Testament Scripture (II Pet. 3:16), and Paul commanded the Thessalonian believers to withdraw from disorderly brothers who did not walk after the Apostolic tradition. The New Testament canon is established by this exclusive authority of the Apostles as established by Christ. It is a completed canon because of the unique Apostolic witness to the unrepeatable, redemptive acts of Christ. This witness was stabilized in the production of the new Scriptures, which are the foundation of the church as well as thedeposit of truth entrusted to the church. The canon cannot be guaranteed by historical investigation or church councils. Christ laid the foundation for the church, and Hisabsoluteauthority stands behind it. CONCLUSION TheOldTestament and theNew Testament stand as the infallible Word of the livingGod, for they areGod-breathed. Their inherent authority is acknowledged by those whomGod in His grace has built upon this solid foundation. The Bible is the only extant mode of special revelation and is indeed canon. The Scriptures are God's final and sufficient revelation of Himself. Theyareour rule for faith and practice. sofa Scriptura James M. Grier is an associate professor of philosophy in the Biblical Education department at Cedarville College.