Reason #1 to Reject the Reformation: The Canon of Scripture

St. Edmund Campion, S.J.

Today is the feast day of one of my favorite Saints, St. Edmund Campion (1540-1581). As an Anglican, he was one of Oxford University’s brightest students, personally welcoming Queen Elizabeth during her visit to the University. He went on to become an Anglican deacon, but his seminary formation exposed him to the Church Fathers in a serious way for the first time. Discovering that, contrary to what he’d been taught, the early Christians were actually Catholic, Edmund had no choice but to return to the Catholic Church in which he had been raised.

This posed a bit of a problem, as Catholicism was illegal in England at the time, and Edmund wasn’t exactly low-profile. He fled the island, first to Ireland, then to Europe, and was there reunited with the Church. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1573, and became a priest in 1580. He was then sent back to England, where he wasted no time preaching the Gospel. Queen Elizabeth’s government quickly learned of his presence, and the hunt was on. His ministry in England didn’t last long: in July of 1581, a spy named George Eliot turned him. He was arrested, tortured and martyred by the British government.

John Chapman, in the 1881 Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, recounts the circumstances of his death:

He was apprehended in Oxfordshire, on the i;th of July, 1581, brought to London, and lodged in the Tower. Every effort was made to induce him to conform. He was brought into the presence of the Queen and the Earl of Leicester, and Hopton, the governor of the Tower, was instructed to tell him that even the Archbishoprick of Canterbury was not beyond his reach. When these efforts proved fruitless, he was twice tortured on the rack, and on the 20th November, 1581, he was brought to trial. No act of treason was proved against him : with such skill and logical force did he conduct his defence, that even the spectators in court looked for an acquittal ; but the order had been given, and he was condemned to death with the rest. The general feeling that the verdict was against the evidence has been confirmed by recent research amongst the State papers.

What’s remarkable is that, in the little more than a year he spent in England, Campion administered the sacraments, preached, and wrote two important works: Campion’s Brag and the Ten Reasons. Yet more remarkably, these works were composed in Latin on an illegal printing press while Campion was on the run. Both are worthy of the read: Campion’s Brag is a profession of his faith, and a defense against the charge of treason (for opposing the state religion); the Ten Reasons are what the book calls “Ten Reasons Proposed To His Adversaries For Disputation In The Name Of The Faith.” In other words, he’s giving his Protestant readers ten reasons to reject the Reformation in favor of Catholicism.

At times, Campion’s tone is sharp, and not politically correct by today’s standards. Try to bear in mind the circumstances in which it was written, because the content of what Campion has to offer is virtually unparalleled (the only Reformation-era apologist that I would place above Campion is St. Francis de Sales, partially due to de Sales’ sweeter tone). Plus, while Campion’s sharpness can be jarring, it can also be illuminating, as he lays out the truth bluntly. I want to carefully explore excerpts from each of the ten reasons that Campion gives, rather than presenting them all at once. So today, let’s just focus on the first of his reasons; Scripture.

FIRST REASON: HOLY WRIT

I’ve mentioned the “canon problem” that Protestantism has before, but I like the way that Campion approaches it. He begins by situating the problem historically:

The Table of Contents and beginning of the First Reason, from the original Decem Rationes (Ten Reasons)

Of the many signs that tell of the adversaries’ mistrust of their own cause, none declares it so loudly as the shameful outrage they put upon the majesty of the Holy Bible. After they have dismissed with scorn the utterances and suffrages of the rest of the witnesses, they are nevertheless brought to such straits that they cannot hold their own otherwise than by laying violent hands on the divine volumes themselves, thereby showing beyond all question that they are brought to their last stand, and are having recourse to the hardest and most extreme of expedients to retrieve their desperate and ruined fortunes. What induced the Manichees to tear out the Gospel of Matthew and the Acts of the Apostles? Despair. For these volumes were a torment to men who denied Christ’s birth of a Virgin, and who pretended that the Spirit then first descended upon Christians when their peculiar Paraclete, a good-for-nothing Persian, made his appearance. What induced the Ebionites to reject all St. Paul’s Epistles? Despair. For while those Letters kept their credit, the custom of circumcision, which these men had reintroduced, was set aside as an anachronism. What induced that crime-laden apostate Luther to call the Epistle of James contentious, turgid, arid, a thing of straw, and unworthy of the Apostolic spirit? Despair. For by this writing the wretched man’s argument of righteousness consisting in faith alone was stabbed through and rent assunder. What induced Luther’s whelps to expunge off-hand from the genuine canon of Scripture, Tobias, Ecclesiasticus, Maccabees, and, for hatred of these, several other books involved in the same false charge? Despair. For by these Oracles they are most manifestly confuted whenever they argue about the patronage of Angels, about free will, about the faithful departed, about the intercession of Saints. Is it possible? So much perversity, so much audacity?

Throughout Christian history, we see several examples of heresies arising which – when confronted with the contrary Scriptural evidence – respond by simply rejecting those parts of Scripture. The Marcionites believed that the God of the Old Testament was evil, and not the God of the New Testament. So, as a fruit of their bad theology, they rejected all the Old Testament, and much of the New. When we find Luther admitting that the Epistle of James contradicts his theology, and fixing this by tossing out James, instead of tossing out his theology, it looks for all the world like just another instance of the same heretical pattern.

After trampling underfoot Church, Councils, Episcopal Sees, Fathers, Martyrs, Potentates, Peoples, Laws, Universities, Histories, all vestiges of Antiquity and Sanctity, and declaring that they would settle their disputes by the written word of God alone, to think that they should have emasculated that same Word, which alone was left, by cutting out of the whole body so many excellent and goodly parts! Seven whole books, to ignore lesser diminutions, have the Calvinists cut out of the Old Testament. The Lutherans take away the Epistle of James besides, and, in their dislike of that, five other Epistles, about which there had been controversy of old in certain places and times. To the number of these the latest authorities at Geneva add the book of Esther and about three chapters of Daniel, which their fellow-disciples, the Anabaptists, had some time before condemned and derided.

The Reformation begins with the noble-sounding ambition that the Bible trumps everything, including the Church. But it turns out, having rejected the authority of the Church, the Reformers had no way of knowing which books belonged in the Bible. So they all throw out part of the Bible (the Deuterocanon, and the Greek portions of Esther and Daniel), and can’t even agree amongst themselves which books ought to be considered Scripture. Rather than elevating the authority of Sacred Scripture, this ends up undermining its authority.

By way of contrast, Campion points to Augustine, revered by Catholics and Protestants alike, as a model of how one ought to approach the canon of Scripture:

How much greater was the modesty of Augustine (De doct. Christ. lib. 2, c. 8.), who, in making his catalogue of the Sacred Books, did not take for his rule the Hebrew Alphabet, like the Jews, nor private judgment, like the Sectaries, but that Spirit wherewith Christ animates the whole Church. The Church, the guardian of this treasure, not its mistress (as heretics falsely make out), vindicated publicly in former times by very ancient Councils this entire treasure, which the Council of Trent has taken up and embraced. Augustine also in a special discussion on one small portion of Scripture cannot bring himself to think that any man’s rash murmuring should be permitted to thrust out of the Canon the book of Wisdom, which even in his time had obtained a sure place as a well-authenticated and Canonical book in the reckoning of the Church, the judgment of ages, the testimony of ancients, and the sense of the faithful. What would he say now if he were alive on earth, and saw men like Luther and Calvin manufacturing Bibles, filing down Old and New Testament with a neat pretty little file of their own, setting aside, not the book of wisdom alone, but with it very many others from the list of Canonical Books? 

Turning back to the Reformers, Campion shows the absurdity of each of the competing Protestant sects claiming that the Holy Spirit is guiding them to form their contradictory Biblical canons:

Sir Joseph Noel Paton, Dawn: Luther at Erfurt (1861)

Seated in their armchairs as censors, as though any one had elected them to that office, they seize their pens and mark passages as spurious even in God’s own Holy Writ, putting their pens through whatever they cannot stomach. […] I would ask them what right they have to rend and mutilate the body of the Bible. They would answer that they do not cut out true Scriptures, but prune away supposititious accretions. By authority of what judge? By the Holy Ghost. This is the answer prescribed by Calvin (Instit. lib. I, c. 7), for escaping this judgment of the Church whereby spirits of prophesy are examined. Why then do some of you tear out one piece of Scripture, and others another, whereas you all boast of being led by the same Spirit? 

Campion supports this characterization by giving several examples of the Reformers having contradictory canons of Scripture:

The Spirit of the Calvinists receives six Epistles which do not please the Lutheran Spirit, both all the while in full confidence reposing on the Holy Ghost. The Anabaptists call the book of Job a fable, intermixed with tragedy and comedy. How do they know? The Spirit has taught them. Whereas the Song of Solomon is admired by Catholics as a paradise of the soul, a hidden manna, and rich delight in Christ, Castalio [Sebastian Castellio], a lewd rogue, has reckoned it nothing better than a love-song about a mistress, and an amorous conversation with Court flunkeys. Whence drew he that intimation? From the Spirit. In the Apocalypse of John, every jot and tittle of which Jerane declares to bear some lofty and magnificent meaning, Luther and Brent [Johannes Brenz] and Kemnitz [Martin Chemnitz], critics hard to please, find something wanting, and are inclined to throw over the whole book. Whom have they consulted? The Spirit. 

Luther with preposterous heat pits the Four Gospels one against another (Praef. in Nov. Test.), and far prefers Paul’s Epistles to the first three, while he declares the Gospel of St. John above the rest to be beautiful, true, and worthy of mention in the first place,—thereby enrolling even the Apostles, so far as in him lay, as having a hand in his quarrels. Who taught him to do that? The Spirit. Nay this imp of a friar has not hesitated in petulant style to assail Luke’s Gospel because therein good and virtuous works are frequently commended to us. Whom did he consult? The Spirit. Theodore Beza has dared to carp at, as a corruption and perversion of the original, that mystical word from the twenty-second chapter of Luke, this is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which (chalice) shall be shed for you [Greek: potaerion ekchunomenon], because this language admits of no explanation other than that of the wine in the chalice being converted into the true blood of Christ. Who pointed that out? The Spirit. In short, in believing all things every man in the faith of his own spirit, they horribly belie and blaspheme the name of the Holy Ghost. So acting, do they not give themselves away? are they not easily refuted?

Obviously, many of these references are dated. Modern Protestants have abandoned all of these positions on Scripture: they think that Luther’s canon was wrong (too small), Calvin’s canon was wrong (too big), and so on. But is that really an argument in favor of modern Protestantism: that it uses a canon that was used neither by the early Christians, nor the institutional Church of any age, nor even the Reformers?

All of this demands the question of where the Protestant 66-book canon comes from, and why we should trust it. Campion has demolished the idea that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. What does that leave, exactly?

25 Comments

  1. Joe, thank you for this wonderful post. I will definitely pass this link to my Catholic Brethren distribution list on WhatsApp.

    God bless you.

    Joe, can I suggest that you write an article about Mary being the Queen of Heaven? Also, can you please refute the Protestant eisigesis of Jeremiah 7 and 44? Thanks.

    1. Sean,

      Thank you! I’ll try to do a post on Mary as Queen of Heaven, and why the Jeremiah 7 and 44 proof-texts are terrible eisigesis. For now…

      1) Scripture presents a Queen of Heaven in Revelation 12. We can dispute whether that’s Mary, the Church, or both, but you can’t denounce the whole idea of a Queen of Heaven as paganism without rejecting the New Testament.

      2) Yes, there’s a pagan goddess called Queen of Heaven. But that doesn’t mean calling Mary “Queen of Heaven” is paganism. After all, the pagans called Ba’al “Lord,” and nobody suggests that this makes calling upon the Lord paganism.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  2. Does this even matter? Is the rift between catholics and protestants even a thing in the twenty first century? Of all the issues in the world today why waste time writing and thinking about something as stupid and unimportant as this? Debating about which religion is the true word of God is like arguing about what color the easter bunny is or what kind of wings the tooth fairy has.

    I mean you’re trying to make a reasoned, serious argument as to why the Catholic religion is more correct than the protestant religion. In the face of argument the more serious issues in the wold tod do you have any idea how silly you sound?

    1. Androo,

      Thanks for commenting. My initial reaction: if you’re going to evaluate whether Christianity is true or false, wouldn’t it be helpful to know what Christianity properly teaches?

      For example, the Catholic Church isn’t opposed to the idea of evolution, believing that there are forms of evolutionary theory compatible with what we know from revelation. Many Fundamentalists and Evangelicals are opposed to macro-evolution in all of its forms. So an atheist who says “macroevolution is true, therefore Christianity is false” (which I think you’ll find is a popular argument these days) could benefit from learning more about the religion he’s trying to critique.

      So it seems like whether you’re a believer, a skeptic, or a nonbeliever, a bit of intellectual curiosity would be helpful. You shouldn’t reject Christianity simply because you (a) assume, out the gate, that it’s a stupid fairy tale and (b) have never bothered to develop a serious, nuanced, adult-level understanding of the religion. If all parties would strive to be humble servants of the Truth, I think we would all be a good deal better off.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. There has always only been one religion (Bond with God) and because it was God Himself who established that bond and because God does not change it remains true to this day – and for all days – that there will only be one religion.

      Opposed to the One Religion are many fanciful and false faiths – such as that of the protestants and mahometans – but the one true religion is the sole one in which salvation may be found

    3. Androo,
      First,I would ask if religion is akin to the ‘easter bunny’ in your judgement- why are you spending your time in polemic with it?
      Second- The ‘issues’ in the world owe their origin and continuance to a failure on the part of mankind to conform itself to the truth. With that said, Mr. Heschmeyer is confronting the MOST important issues in his blog posts (including this one) by correcting errors-which although they may seem small- have disastrous consequences when followed through on. For instance, errors in doctrine lead directly to errors in ethics. The vast majority of non-Catholic Christians would argue an ends justifies the means ethic if necessary, which leads them to accept abortion- which is always the direct killing of an innocent.
      Nor is Mr. Heschmeyer trying to show that Catholicism is more ‘correct’ than other Christian doctrine. He is making a case for the historicity of the Church which ultimately anchors it in apostolic times and therefore connects it immediately to Jesus Christ himself.
      Not all Christians are aware of this fact, and blogging about it is a very good way to expose increasing numbers of people to the truth which they may have never been confronted with.
      Recognizing the apostolic and authoritative position of the Catholic Church, one may rightly reason that to be a disciple of Christ, full adherence to His teachings as handed down FROM THE BEGINNING is requisite. Sound doctrine would then inform one’s moral acts which would- in principle- contribute to a more Christian world. This would -by definition- be a more humane and loving world.
      So I think Joe has his ducks in order here.
      Pax,
      Heidi

    4. What are these serious issues to which you refer and on what basis should you or anyone consider them serious, so serious as to make discussions revolving about the ultimate truth underpinning everything ‘stupid’ and ‘unimportant’?

  3. “Of all the issues in the world today why waste time writing and thinking about something as stupid and unimportant as this?”

    This reminds me of what Jesus said “The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone”, and also “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4:4).

    Is it really a “waste” spending time to be precise in theology and items concerning God? Is it a waste of our time to pray, or to try to be careful concerning the words and teachings of Christ? Is theology so worthless that of all the occupations in the world today, it should be placed last…and even be completely rejected such as “the stone rejected by the builder”?

    Or, is theology something absolutely necessary to ourselves and our modern world…something that makes everything we do, and think, make sense…something that leads people to live loving and moral lives, and thereby makes all of society run more smoothly and efficiently? Does true theology, through the promotion of moral living, not reduce crime in society, and therefore reduce the need for so many police, lawyers, judges, soldiers, prisons and psychiatrists? Does it not reduce excesses and over-indulgence in all areas of living, and thereby reduce the need for so many doctors and medicines, hospitals and insurance companies?

    The world thinks that pleasure, technology and money are what really matter in this life. Christians, and Catholics in particular, reject this empty and short-sighted philosophy. We believe even as Jesus taught, that life is not sustained by “bread alone”, but rather, that we absolutely need the wisdom, word, grace and strength of God dwelling in us also. That is, the more precise the theology, the better! The more wisdom the better! And then we will have a double treasure, both the abundances of this world’s “bread”, as well as the gift of the friendship of God dwelling within us, and for which we were created in the first place.

    I follow this blog for the very purpose of growing in theological depth and precision, that very thing that you complain is worthless in your statement : “why waste time writing and thinking about something as stupid and unimportant as this?” I hope, and pray, that you come to value the words and teachings of Christ some day, even as was taught in the Gospel today at Mass:

    “[23] And turning to his disciples, he said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. [24] For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them” (Luke 10: 23)

    Keep up the constantly great posts, Joe!

  4. This is the response I wrote in response to a friend’s connection to this link. I thought it would be appropriate to post a (very mildly edited) version of that here at the source.

    The reasoning contained in this article is, in a word, bad, partially from poor logic, and partially from poor history. Here are some examples:

    1) Misrepresentation of ECF history (One example: equivocation on “canon” in Augustion and Jerome.)
    See here: http://www.bible-researcher.com/augustine.html
    “We, with Jerome and many other fathers, deny these books to be canonical. Augustine, with some others, calls them canonical. Do, then, these fathers differ so widely in opinion? By no means. For Jerome takes this word “canonical” in one sense, while Augustine, Innocent, and the fathers of Carthage understand it in another. Jerome calls only those books canonical, which the church always held for canonical; the rest he banishes from the canon, denies to be canonical, and calls apocryphal. But Augustine calls those canonical which, although they had not the same perfect and certain authority as the rest, were wont to be read in the church for the edification of the people. Augustine, therefore, takes this name in a larger sense than Jerome. “

    2) Misrepresentation of medieval church history. There was no grand consensus on the “Deuterocanonical” books being canonical, in the common modern narrow sense of the term. Even at Trent itself, the vote on the canon did not receive a majority vote in favor of the current Roman canon. (It passed because of abstentions: vote of 24 to 15, with 16 abstentions.) If the Roman church indeed had a consensus, the vote should not varied significantly from this consensus.
    In contrast, with the half-exception of Esther, the contents of the 66 book canon were all well established (though, obviously, the number of book-divisions varied.)

    3) Straw men:
    (First: “The” Anabaptist position? Seriously?)
    More generally, Campion’s overarching claim is that the “Deuterocanonical” books were well established (which is demonstrably incorrect, including by the very proceedings of Trent) and that his opponents invariably deviate from it on the basis of their beliefs, *rather* than changing their beliefs on the basis of their canon.
    He just assumes this, and then proceeds to beat his opponents with it. Now, in Luther’s case it was probably more or less true- but as Protestants don’t consider Luther an authority, it’s also not particularly relevant.

    4) Now, for the final dramatic logical error:

    “Campion has demolished the idea that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

    Even if everything Campion said were accurate (and it isn’t, as I have touched on already) this still wouldn’t be true. This is a *wild* non-sequiter.

    Campion has done absolutely *nothing* to refute the idea that the Holy Spirit guides people to select the right canon. All he shows is that there are several competing claims about what the Holy Spirit says. This does nothing to disprove any particular claim. It doesn’t remotely address the truth or falsehood of any canon. It doesn’t even remotely address the truth or falsehood of the “internal testimony of the Spirit to the canon.”

    I don’t believe that the Spirit directly instructs individuals on the content of the canon, and I can see that this “proof” against the idea is vacuous- but there’s more. Heschmeyer goes on to ask “What does that leave, exactly?”

    What does it leave?
    Well, it leaves both the actual Protestant arguments from history, and the arguments from textual criticism, *and* it even leaves the straw-man of the Protestant position (reading of the weakest version of a view as the only version of a view is a straw-man) which Heschmeyer has failed to knock down.

    1. Joel,
      I would recommend the following well documented work on the topic by a prostestant scholar:

      Formation of the Bible: The Story of the Church’s Canon by Lee Martin McDonald
      Link: http://amzn.com/1598568388

      Also, I have a short video covering the topic at http://www.cafecatechesis.com. Brant Pitre offers an excellent and more thorough survey in “the origins of the bible” which can be found at catholic productions.

      It may be beneficial to your study to be better informed on the subject.
      Pax
      Heidi

    2. Joel,

      Thank you for sharing your comment here, and giving me a chance to respond to it. I appreciate that, and I hope that it advances the discussion on both sides. To respond to the specific points that you raise, I’d say:

      1) You say that Augustine and Jerome might mean different things by canonical. That may be so, inasmuch as Jerome’s position is confusing: while he describes the Deuterocanonical Books as “apocryphal,” he elsewhere quotes them as Scripture, and claims that the Council of Nicaea established the canonicity of the Book of Judith. Augustine, in contrast, is remarkably clear. But there’s an important distinction we need to make at the outset.

      In On Christian Doctrine, Augustine explores the question of how we can come to know which books are canonical. And here, he concedes the obvious: that the Old Testament Deuterocanonicals, and New Testament Antilegomena, are a harder case than the Protocanon/Homologoumena. Their epistemological authority is less, inasmuch as it’s less clear that they’re inspired (which is not to say that he’s in any serious doubt: he’s just laying out the litmus test). But the second half is the authority that the books of Sacred Scripture carry once they’re recognized as Scripture. And here, the Deuterocanonical Books are of equal authority. Any fair reading of Augustine should lead to this conclusion. He says that the Deuterocanonical Books are Scripture, he’s part of the Third Council of Carthage which says that the Deuterocanonical Books are Scripture, he quotes them as Scripture in arguing against the Pelagians, etc. In every imaginable way, he treats these books as if they’re Scripture, and of equal authority as any other Old Testament book.

      2) You say that there was no “grand consensus” and that the canonical question was ambiguous until Trent. This misunderstands the history. The Latin Vulgate was *the* Bible in the West, and the canon of the Latin Vulgate was the Catholic canon.

      There arose a scholarly camp that argued that the deuterocanonical books, while Scripture, were of inferior authority to the other (“canonical”) Scriptures: the Glossa ordinaria is the most famous commentary to suggest this. But there are a few things that should be recognized here: (i) this was an isolated, scholarly dispute (even the Glossa ordinaria acknowledges that ordinary believers receive the protocanonical and deuterocanonical books with equal reverence); (ii) the Glossa ordinaria position was rejected by the greatest thinkers of the Medieval period, like Aquinas; and (iii) this was settled by the Church before the Reformation.

      Check out the Council of Florence’s Bull of Union with the Copts, in which the Catholic, Orthodox, and Coptic delegates signed a joint declaration of faith containing, amongst other things, an exact canonical list. That was promulgated on 4, 1442.

      It might also be fruitful to read the actual sixteenth century authors. As far as I know, the whole “Catholics added seven books at Trent” position only starts being peddled well after the sixteenth century, and only to those who were historically ignorant of the surrounding facts. Campion, in contrast, is writing to Protestants in 1580-81, less than twenty years after the Council of Trent closed. He lived through this period, as did his audience. Do you really think that he could lie about events that occurred before their eyes, and expect to get away with it? Or do you think that modern Protestant commentators have a better understanding of sixteenth century Catholicism than sixteenth century Catholics?

      (cont.)

    3. As I recall, even Luther and Calvin implicitly concede that the Catholic canon was well-established, in that both of them attack the Church for holding to the “apocrypha” before the Council of Trent. So both the friends and the foes of the Church knew what her canon was.

      As for abstentions in the vote in the Council of Trent, you’re reading an awful lot into what’s essentially an argument from silence. I’ve not studied the precise question of why participants would abstain, but my initial hunch is that it has to do with the anathema clause, and/or the specific reference to the books and parts of the Vulgate, rather than with the canonical list.

      3) As for your first alleged “strawman,” remember again that you’re reading a 16th century work. The fact that Anabaptism would eventually devolve so much that we can’t accurately speak of “an” Anabaptist position doesn’t meant that it was this disorganized at the outset. Your second “strawman” seems to be your (2), simply represented. You seem to think that the Catholic canon was unclear, while both the Catholics and Protestants of the time knew quite well what it was.

      4) On the interior testimony of the Holy Spirit on the canonical question, it’s directly relevant. The idea is that the Holy Spirit will lead believers to choose the right canon. The people who invented that idea were Luther and Calvin, yet they disagreed with each other (and with you) on just which canon the Holy Spirit chose.

      I’m not arguing this as a syllogism, but as a question of credibility. If you and your friend claimed that the Holy Spirit gave you both the gift of knowing which card I picked out of the deck, and yet you were both consistently wrong (and disagreed with one another on which card I’d chosen), I’d reasonably conclude that you didn’t have the Spirit guidance you were claiming.

      It makes sense to hold that the Spirit led the Church to choose the right canon. But to say that the Church was led (or permitted) to choose the wrong canon, and that the Holy Spirit has instead chosen some random individual, I’d expect some sort of confirmation of this. Instead, I see a lot of contradictions that discount this extraordinary spiritual claim.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  5. This is most excellent Joe, and one of the best I have read. I am really looking forward to reading the other 9 reasons. We have needed to read the REAL Truth of the so-called Re-form-ation in this day and age concerning the many deceits of Luther and other many heretics down through the ages. SAINT Edmund’s writings are so refreshing!

  6. Sorry for mis-spelling your name, Joe Heschmeyer.

    Good layout and easy on the eyes, rather than the old books with difficult syntax and abbreviations and too much Latin.

  7. from one *newly minted* catholic to another:

    You know what I would really like to see sometime in the future? You in a debate with Dr James White.

    I’ve seen many of his debates with catholic clergy and catholic apologists. Though I find flaws in Dr White’s arguments in my own reflections on his debates, I must admit I didn’t think his opponents are always as sharp or as knowledgeable as he is. When his opponents are knowledgeable on the relevant issues, they seem very inarticulate. When they are very articulate, they seem to be not too knowledgeable.

    From reading your articles on the canon of scripture, I think you’d be more knowledgeable and better articulated on the issue of the canon than any of Dr White’s past candidates.

    The thing that remains to be determined (and I’m unable to determine this from reading text) is whether you are as good verbally as you are in writing? How do you feel about your debate skills? Do you consider yourself a sharp debater in front of a live audience? if so, then I’d certainly support and look forward to such a project between you and Dr White 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

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