Reformed Forum & Geerhardus Vos

Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey have just started a new series over at Christ the Center (Reformed Forum) focused on Geerhardus Vos’ classic “Biblical Theology of Old and New Testaments”.

Here is the summary:

“Roughly each month, Lane and Camden will work through the pages of Vos’ Biblical Theology. While Vos’ book is foundational, it’s tough for the ‘uninitiated’ to access. This will be a great opportunity for study groups to listen to our discussions and work things out together. We hope everyone who participates will learn more about Reformed biblical theology.”

Click below to order the book and follow along!

Here is the first episode: Introduction

More on Geerhardus Vos:

Christ the Center: Interview with Danny Olinger on the life and word of Geerhardus Vos

The Writings of Geerhardus Vos

Other recommended reading:

Advertisements

Canon Facts

Michael Kruger has provided a series on the New Testament canon at his site Canon Fodder. The series is entitled, Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize. I have provided excerpts from each article below:

1. The NT books are the earliest Christian writings we possess.

“They are the earliest Christian writings we possess and thus bring us the closest to the historical Jesus and to the earliest church. If we want to find out what authentic Christianity was really like, then we should rely on the writings that are the nearest to that time period.”

2. Apocryphal writings are from the second century or later.

“Not only are all New Testament writings from the first century, but all apocryphal writings (at least the ones that are extant) are from the second century or later. And many are from the third or fourth century… apocryphal writings constitute an interesting and fascinating source for the study of early Christianity. But, largely due to their late date, they do not offer a more compelling version of Christianity than the New Testament writings themselves.”

3. The NT books are unique—they are apostolic.

“One of the most basic facts about the New Testament canon that all Christians should understand is that the canon is intimately connected to the activities of the apostles… the apostles had the very authority of Christ himself. They were his mouthpiece. As such, their teachings, along with the prophets, were the very foundation of the church… If the church wanted to know the true Christian message, they would always need to look back to the teaching of the apostles… The books that the church regarded as apostolic were the books that were read, copied, and used most often in early Christian worship. These are the books that eventually became the New Testament canon. The canon is the byproduct of the ministry of the apostles.”

4. Some NT writers quote other NT authors and refer to it as Scripture.

“If the NT writers were citing other NT writers as Scripture, then that suggests the canon was not a later ecclesiastical development, but something early and innate to the early Christian faith.”

5. The four gospels are well established by the end of the second century.

“‘It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer than the number they are…’ (Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons). Here Irenaeus not only affirms the canonicity the four gospels, but is keen to point out that only these four gospels are recognized by the church.”

6. At the end of the second century, the Muratorian Fragment lists 22 of 27 NT books.

“One of the key data points in any discussion of canon is something called the Muratorian fragment (also known as the Muratorian canon). This fragment, named after its discoverer Ludovico Antonio Muratori, contains our earliest list of the books in the New Testament. While the fragment itself dates from the 7th or 8th century, the list it contains was originally written in Greek and dates back to the end of the second century (ca.180)… the Muratorian fragment affirms 22 of the 27 books of the New Testament. These include the four Gospels, Acts, all 13 epistles of Paul, Jude, 1 John, 2 John (and possibly 3rd John), and Revelation. This means that at a remarkably early point (end of the second century), the central core of the New Testament canon was already established and in place.”

7. Early Christians often used non-canonical writings.

“It is important to note that while Christians often cited and used non-canonical literature, they only rarely cited them as Scripture. For the most part, Christians were simply using these books as helpful, illuminating, or edifying writings. This is not all that different than practices in our modern day.”

8. The NT canon was not decided at Nicea—nor any other Church council.

“The Council of Nicea had nothing to do with the formation of the New Testament canon (nor did Constantine). Nicea was concerned with how Christians should articulate their beliefs about the divinity of Jesus. Thus, it was the birthplace of the Nicean creed… councils did not create, authorize, or determine the canon. They simply were part of the process of recognizing a canon that was already there… The shape of our New Testament canon was not determined by a vote or by a council, but by a broad and ancient consensus… the canon is not just a man-made construct. It was not the result of a power play brokered by rich cultural elites in some smoke filled room. It was the result of many years of God’s people reading, using, and responding to these books.”

9. Christians have disagreed about the canonicity of some NT books.

“God, for his own providential reasons, chose to deliver the canon through normal historical circumstances. And historical circumstances are not always smooth… these disagreements amongst Christians are sometimes used as an argument against the validity of the 27-book canon we know today… God sometimes uses normal historical processes to accomplish his ends. And those historical processes are not always neat and tidy. But, this should not detract from the reality that the ends are still God’s.”

10. Early Christians believed that canonical books were self-authenticating.

“It is interesting to note that the early church fathers, while agreeing that apostolicity and church-reception are fundamentally important, also appealed to another factor that is often overlooked in modern studies. They appealed to the internal qualities of these books… they argued that these books bore certain attributes that distinguished them as being from God… the early church fathers believed that evidence for the canonicity of books can be found in the books themselves. In other words, canonical books are self-authenticating… In the end, the church fathers teach us a very important truth. The NT canon we possess today is not due to the machinations of later church leaders, or to the political influence of Constantine, but due to the fact that these books imposed themselves on the church through their internal qualities.”

For the entire series, check out Canon Fodder.

For more on this subject, please visit the Exegetical Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

THE INSPIRATION AND AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE

“it remains true that Scripture and its authority, in the most profound and central sense of the word, is not obscure but clear, namely, in the manner in which it teaches persons to understand themselves, the world, history, and the future in the light of the God and Father of Jesus Christ. It is on account of this clarity of the Scripture that it is an ever-flowing well of knowledge and life and that it teaches wisdom to the simple. And it is on account of this clarity and this purpose of the Scripture that it can be identified with the Word of God, that it has unconditional authority, and that it is the infallible foundation for faith.” (Herman Ridderbos)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

The Everlasting Righteousness of Christ

THE EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST

“The Lord Jesus Christ brought in this righteousness, as he wrought it out for sinners upon the cross… A new and a living way was to be opened to the Holy of Holies, for poor sinners, by the blood of Christ. But I do not think that the expression, brought in, is to be limited to this sense, though I suppose it is the primary one; it implies not only Christ’s bringing it into the world, as promulgating, and having it written in the word of God, and as having wrought it out for sinners in his life, and on the cross… All that Christ hath done, all that Christ hat suffered, all Christ’s active obedience, all Christ’s passive obedience, will do us no good, unless by the Spirit of God, it is brought into our souls. As one expresses it, ‘An unapplied Christ is no Christ at all.’ To hear of a Christ dying for sinners, will only increase your damnation, will only sink you deeper into hell, unless we have ground to say, by a work of grace wrought in our hearts, that the Lord Jesus hath brought this home to us.” (George Whitefield)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

Recommended reading:

According to the Word of God

ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD

“If we take heed to our way in the light of God’s Word, we will consider seriously where our way will end… The fact is that a holy God must punish sin and, for Christ’s sake, reward the godly. Again it is the Word of God which gives the necessary perspective, not only on this life, but also on the eternity which lies beyond it. And the Word shows us the one, narrow, way to heaven–through Jesus Christ, the crucified Redeemer–although it is so much despised by those who want to believe that they are thoroughly up to date in their thinking. They may be up to date, but that is of no advantage when their thinking is wrong.” (Kenneth Macleod)

For more on this subject, please visit the Pastoral Theology page.

Recommended reading:

Westminster Wednesday

THE WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM

What Man Ought to Believe Concerning God…

Question 6:

Q. What do the Scriptures make known of God?

A. The Scriptures make known what God is (Heb. 11:6), the persons in the Godhead (1 John 5:17), His decrees (Acts 15:14–15, 18), and the execution of His decrees (Acts 4:27–28).

 

Question 5

 

THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH

Chapter I: Of the Holy Scripture

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

 

ARTICLE 5

 

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

 

Sola Scriptura?

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY SOLA SCRIPTURA?

“We must see that the canon of Scripture is, in a real sense, established by the Scripture itself, because the canonical books are self-authenticating. As God’s revelation, they are recognized by the people of God as God’s own Word… In the deepest sense we cannot judge the Word, but the Word judges us… The self-authenticating character of the canon is demonstrated by the remarkable unanimity reached by the people of God on the canon.” (W. Robert Godfrey)

For more on this subject, please visit the Exegetical Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

Westminster Wednesday

THE WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM

Question 5:

Q. What do the Scriptures principally teach?

A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man (2 Tim. 1:13)

 

question 4

 

THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH

Chapter I: Of the Holy Scripture

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

 

article 4

 

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

Heaven Tourism Rebuked

With all of the nominal “Christian” fanfare that books like “90 Minutes in Heaven” and “Heaven is for Real” have received in recent years, I was encouraged by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ accurate assessment of Christian experience according to the Bible:

“If my experience does not tally with the New Testament, it is not the Christian experience. It may be wonderful, it may be thrilling, I may have seen visions. But, I say, it matters not at all; if my experience does not tally with this, it is not the Christian experience.”

For more on this subject, see The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine and Heaven-Tourism.

Recommended reading:

Westminster Wednesday

THE WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM

Question 4:

Q. How does it appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?

A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty (Hos. 8:12; 1 Cor. 2:6–7, 13; Ps. 119:18, 129) and purity (Ps. 12:6; 119:140); by the consent of all the parts (Acts 10:43; 26:22); and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God (Rom. 3:19, 27); by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation (Acts 18:28; Heb. 4:12; Jam. 1:18; Ps. 19:7–9; Rom. 15:4; Acts 20:32): but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God (John 16:13–14; 1 John 2:20, 27; John 20:31).

QUESTION 3

 

THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH

Chapter I: Of Holy Scripture

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

ARTICLE 3

 

For more on the subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

Recommended reading: