Why do Protestants Observe the Greatest of All Catholic Traditions: the Canon of the New Testament?

Image result for image of the pope with the bishops

Jesus wrote no sacred texts.  We have no evidence that Jesus authorized any of his disciples to write texts which would be given equal status to the sacred Hebrew Scriptures.  We have no evidence that the Twelve disciples of Jesus took it upon themselves to authorize a list of books which they believed should be given equal authority to the Hebrew Scriptures.

Just because the majority or even all Christian churches, very early, accepted the texts which we now call “the New Testament” does not in any way prove that they are the divinely inspired words of the God of the Old Testament.  Saying that the books of the New Testament are inspired; that they are the Word of God; that they have equal authority to the Torah and the books of the Jewish prophets is a tradition!  It is a Catholic tradition!

Protestants reject all Catholic traditions except the greatest of all Catholic traditions:  that 27 books written many decades after the death of Jesus are somehow the holy, inspired Word of God, the Word of the God of the Old Testament, the Word of the God of the Jewish people, Yahweh.

Sola Scriptura???

The foundation of Protestant Christianity is a Catholic tradition.

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6 thoughts on “Why do Protestants Observe the Greatest of All Catholic Traditions: the Canon of the New Testament?

  1. I suspect that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 has something to do with this. I grew up Catholic, and Protestant dogma is very foreign to me.


    1. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NRSV)

      All scripture is inspired by God and is[a] useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

      Yes, Protestants will use this passage but who gave the authority to the early churches to declare as God’s Holy Word the anonymously written gospels, the epistles of Paul, the Book of Acts, the anonymously written Book of Hebrews, the epistles of John and Peter, and the Book of Revelation? Jesus? No. The Twelve? Not that we are aware of? Paul? Not that we are aware of. James, the brother of Jesus? Not that we are aware of.

      So who made the decision to elevate the 27 books included in the Christian New Testament to the same level of authority and holiness as the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) from which Jesus read and taught?

      Answer: the Magisterium of the Church. The Catholic Church. The Magisterium of the Holy Mother Catholic Church.

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      1. From this Roman Catholic website, Catholic Essentials

        Catholic Church Teaching on the Solemn and Ordinary Magisterium of the Church:

        “All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written Word of God or in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed.” (First Vatican Council, 1870)

        “For this reason the Fathers of the Vatican Council laid down nothing new, but followed divine revelation and the acknowledged and invariable teaching of the Church as to the very nature of faith, when they decreed as follows: “All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written or unwritten word of God, and which are pro posed by the Church as divinely revealed, either by a solemn definition or in the exercise of its ordinary and universal Magisterium” (Sess. iii., cap. 3)” Encyclical On the Unity of the Church by Pope Leo XIII, 1896

        “But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind…or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church”; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: “We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by everyone of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.” Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: “I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.” Encyclical On the Doctrine of the Modernists by Pope Pius X, 1907

        “But as the Church was to last to the end of time, something more was required besides the bestowal of the Sacred Scriptures. It was obviously necessary that the Divine Founder should take every precaution, lest the treasure of heavenly-given truths, possessed by the Church, should ever be destroyed, which would assuredly have happened, had He left those doctrines to each one’s private judgment. It stands to reason, therefore, that a living, perpetual “magisterium” was necessary in the Church from the beginning, which, by the command of Christ himself, should besides teaching other wholesome doctrines, give an authoritative explanation of Holy Writ, and which being directed and safeguarded by Christ himself, could by no means commit itself to erroneous teaching” Encyclical On the Church in Scotland by Pope Leo XIII, 1898

        “For these writings attack and pervert the true power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff and the bishops, who are the successors of blessed Peter and the apostles; they transfer it instead to the people, or, as they say, to the community. They obstinately reject and oppose the infallible magisterium both of the Roman Pontiff and of the whole Church in teaching matters” Encyclical by Pope Pius IX in 1873, On the Church of Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, under heading of ‘Further Heresies’

        “while for subsequent ages down to our own day it continues to be theoretically true that the Church may, by the exercise of this ordinary teaching authority arrive at a final and infallible decision regarding doctrinal questions…” 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, Infallibility
        “Even the ordinarium magisterium is not independent of the pope. In other words, it is only bishops who are in corporate union with the pope, the Divinely constituted head and centre of Christ’s mystical body, the one true Church, who have any claim to share in the charisma by which the infallibility of their morally unanimous teaching is divinely guaranteed according to the terms of Christ’s promises” 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, Infallibility

        “Thus, from the universal agreement of the Church’s ordinary teaching authority we have a certain and firm proof, demonstrating that the Blessed Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven- which surely no faculty of the human mind could know by its own natural powers, as far as the heavenly glorification of the virginal body of the loving Mother of God is concerned-is a truth that has been revealed by God and consequently something that must be firmly and faithfully believed by all children of the Church. For, as the Vatican Council asserts, “all those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written Word of God or in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed.” Encyclical On Defining the Dogma of the Assumption by Pope Pius XII, November 1, 1950

        “It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to be treated as definitive and infallible. For example, in the lengthy Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions.” 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, Infallibility
        Examples of the Solemn Magisterium of the Church (also called “ex cathedra teaching”):

        The decisions made during the General Councils of the Catholic Church.
        Papal encyclicals on “The Immaculate Conception” (1849) and “Defining the Dogma of the Assumption” (1950)

        Examples of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church:

        Universal teaching of the Church such as other papal encyclicals (when not written in “ex cathedra” form), universal references such as the Summa Theologica, and writings of Saints that are continually utilized by the Church and passed from Pope to Pope without objection.


        Whatever has been taught by the Catholic Church since the time of Christ, either through “solemn” pronouncements of Councils or Popes, or by unanimous “ordinary” every day teaching, MUST be believed by all Catholics, per what Our Lord said in Scripture and what the first Vatican Council confirmed. Refusing to do so is called “heresy” and places one outside of the Catholic Church.


  2. As a question Gary, would you consider the tradition of the disciples of Jesus being martyred to be a tradition that Protestants also kept from the Catholics? As far as I can tell, there really isn’t much else besides tradition to prop up this claim.


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