Contending For The Faith Once Delivered: An Exposition Of Jude 3 And Its Contribution Towards The Doctrine Of A Closed Canon -- By: Daniel Wiley

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 20:2 (Fall 2016)
Article: Contending For The Faith Once Delivered: An Exposition Of Jude 3 And Its Contribution Towards The Doctrine Of A Closed Canon
Author: Daniel Wiley


Contending For The Faith Once Delivered:
An Exposition Of Jude 3 And Its Contribution Towards The Doctrine Of A Closed Canon

Daniel Wiley

Adjunct Professor
Clarks Summit University
South Abington Twp., Pennsylvania

Introduction

Several months ago, I taught a 5-week Sunday evening series on how we got the Bible. It was an ambitious project, I will admit, for 5 weeks is nowhere near the amount of time to cover in-depth all the sub-topics of this important study (the historical transmission of the Old and New Testaments, textual criticism, the development of modern English translations, etc.). However, my goal was not to present a doctorate-level evaluation in all these matters, but rather to give the attendees confidence in knowing that they had the very word of God in front of them despite historical and textual obstacles. Even a short discussion on the deliverance of the Bible to the church can have a major impact on the confidence of believers who live in a grotesquely anti-supernatural and secular culture, and making that impact was my ultimate aim.

Of course, one should never be foolish enough to think that one can simply discuss such topics without being prepared to answer difficult and often uncomfortable questions, as was evident following the conclusion of night three. At the end of the third session, I informed the congregation that week four’s topic would be a short overview on the development of the biblical canon. As I began to cleanup, one of the men who attended made his way up to my podium. Following an exchange of pleasantries, he said to me, “Daniel, I was wondering if for next week you could include a discussion on the topic of a closed canon. I am very

interested in apologetics, but I am having difficulty in explaining the concept to my friends and when I talk to those who belong to a cult group. I know all about the history of the councils and the canons of major theologians, but these only seem to go so far when I debate. Can you help me?”

Whether that man realized it or not, his dilemma highlights the difficulty facing many theologians as they attempt to develop a theological method concerning the source material of systematic theology. To be more precise, does systematic theology draw its data from the Bible alone–a narrow view–or from all possible sources concerning God and his works–a broad view?1 Although this question is a “no-brainer” for some theologians who ask, “How could the believer even begin to think that anything other than the 66 books of the Bible constitutes a proper source for information about God and His works?”, certain a...

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