This past March I spoke at the Ligonier National Conference. My plenary address was on “The Truth about Marriage” (you can watch here), and I also did an enjoyable sit-down interview on the subject of the origins of the New Testament canon. You can watch below!
How to Prepare Your Student for College
Now that high school graduation season is coming to a close, I know that a lot of parents out there have one simple question on their mind: Have I done a good job preparing my child for college?
Every Christian parent wonders this. We pray that we’ve adequately prepared our high school graduate to enter into the fray of college life: intellectually, spiritually, and morally. Indeed, this is why I wrote my recent book, Surviving Religion 101: Letters to a Christian Student on Keeping the Faith in College.
If you are asking these same questions, I talked at length about these issues in a recent podcast with Reformed Youth Ministries. Hosted by John Perritt and Tree Triolo, we discussed about the key issues that all college students will face at one point or another.
To listen, you can download here. Enjoy!
Is the Concept of a “Self-Authenticating” Bible a Modern Invention?
How do we know which books are from God, and which are not? Certainly the apostolic origins of a book can help identify it as being from God (see post here). And, the church’s overall consensus on a book can be part of how we identity it as being from God (see post here).
But, Christian theologians—especially in the Reformed world—have long argued that there is a more foundational way we can know books are from God: the internal qualities of the books themselves.
In other words, they have argued that these books bear certain attributes (Latin indicia) that distinguished them as being from God. They argued that believers hear the voice of their Lord in these particular books. In modern theological language, they believed that canonical books are self-authenticating. As Jesus said in John 10:27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Anyone familiar with Reformation-era authors will know this was the core argument in some of the key discussions on Scripture by the likes of John Calvin, William Whitaker, John Owen, and others. Moreover, the idea of self-authentication is embodied in the Westminster Confession of Faith which holds that the Bible does “evidence itself” to be from God by its own internal qualities (1.5). Beyond this, the concept of a self-authenticating Bible played a central role in later Reformed thinkers, particularly Herman Bavinck, as they sought to explain how we know books are from God.
But, some will wonder, is this whole idea of a “self-authenticating” Bible just a novel invention of the Reformers? Did they invent the idea just as a tool in their fight against Rome?
No at all. When we look back even in the patristic period, we see that this concept was there from the beginning. Here are a few examples. [Read more…]
My Six-Part @Ligonier Video Series on The New Testament Canon
Since next month I will be speaking at the Ligonier National Conference in Orlando, FL, I thought I might highlight a video series I did for Ligonier a few years ago. It is a six-part video series (available here in either digital or DVD format) on the origins, authority, and development of the NT Canon.
One of the most common questions I am asked is whether I have introductory, lay-level material on the origins of the NT canon that people can use in their churches. For small group Bible studies or Sunday School classes, most people simply won’t read Canon Revisited or any of my other books.
So, my hope is that this video series will meet a need for churches looking to do something on the canon but not knowing where to turn.
If you want an overview, here is a short video where I introduce the series and provide a quick summary of why we can trust the NT canon: [Read more…]
Do We Have the Right Books in Our Canon?
I was recently interviewed by Gavin Ortlund on his podcast: “Which Canon is the Right One?” Enjoy!