Christians believe that the 27 books of the New Testament are the inspired Word of God based on very little evidence. If asked, they will pull out a short passage from I Timothy, which they believe to have been written by the apostle Paul, which is very similar to a passage in the Gospel of Luke. They see this as evidence that Paul was quoting the Gospels as inspired Scripture. They then point to a passage in II Peter, which they believe to have been written by the apostle Peter, in which the author infers that Paul’s writings are divinely inspired. So the logic is this: Peter, the chief disciple of Jesus, confirmed the divine inspiration of the writings of Paul, and Paul confirmed the divine inspiration of the Gospels. All based on two brief passages in I Timothy and II Peter!
The problem for this argument, however, is that almost all scholars believe that II Peter is a forgery; it was not written by Peter. And, scholars are divided on the authorship of I Timothy. Many do not believe that this book was written by Paul.
Pretty flimsy evidence, isn’t it?
But in desperation, Christians will then resort to this claim: Very early in the history of Christianity the overwhelming majority of Christians came to agree on the canon of the New Testament. This is a sign of the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit. The problem with this claim is that disputes about which books were and which books were not “inspired” persisted for several hundred years after the death of Jesus. In fact, the epistle of II Peter was not universally accepted as part of the canon until the time of St. Jerome!
Christians will then make this desperate claim: “But the Gospels, which contain the central truths of Christianity, were recognized by all Christians as Scripture very early in time, probably even during the life of Paul and Peter who were executed in the 60’s!” What evidence is there for this claim other than the vague reference in I Timothy, a book whose authorship is disputed? Answer: statements by the early Church Fathers. But how good a judge of divine inspiration were the early Church Fathers? Had God given the early Church Fathers special insight into the divine status of all the “gospels” and epistles floating around the Roman Empire in the first two centuries of the Common Era? For an answer to that question, let’s look at the position of the early Church Fathers on the divine status of the books of the Old Testament, specifically, the Apocrypha (included as part of the Old Testament in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, written a few hundred years before Jesus).
F. F. Bruce uses extensive quotes from the early church fathers in both chapters five and six of his book The Canon of Scripture (InterVarsity Press, 1988). Chapter five includes church fathers in the east (Justin Martyr, Melito of Sardis, Origen and Athanasius, etc), while chapter six looks at the Latin west (Tertullian, Jerome and Augustine). The record is mixed; some accepted the apocryphal books with qualifications, others were more critical. Few accept them outright. —Source
So why should we trust the judgment of the Early Church Fathers regarding the inspiration of the books of the New Testament when these same early Church Fathers were wrong about the divine inspiration of books in the Old Testament? No modern Protestant Bible includes the books of the Apocrypha. Martin Luther, not God, decided in the sixteenth century that these books were not inspired and should not be included in the (Protestant) Bible.
And yet, modern Christians, based on the above very weak evidence, insist that we accept the 27 books of the New Testament as the inspired words of God the Creator to push their first century moral standards upon the rest of us! In addition, they promote the divine inspiration of these 27 books to preach a method of “eternal salvation” which is radically different from the method taught in the Old Testament.
Isn’t it obvious…
Christianity is truly a house of cards!
End of post.