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An Authoritative Message

Michael J. Kruger disagrees with the widespread scholarly opinion that the authors of the New Testament were unaware of their own authority. In the fourth chapter of The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate, he examines key passages in the New Testament that show the writers

consciously wrote books that they understood to contain the new apostolic revelation about Jesus Christ and therefore to have supreme authority in the church.

For example, compare these two statements from John’s gospel. First, there’s this promise from Jesus to his disciples:

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27 ESV)

Then there’s John’s statement about himself near the end of his book:

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things … .(John 21:24 ESV)

Kruger writes,

… [I]t seems that John 21:24 is a declaration to the reader that Jesus’ promise in 15:26-27 to send authoritative witnesses has been fulfilled—the very book they are reading is the authoritative testimony of Jesus’ Spirit-filled disciples.

I’m over halfway through this book. I quite like it, but then I’m fascinated with everything canon related.

Since the goal of The Question of Canon is to challenge the dominant view in the academic field of modern canonical studies, it’s of less general interest than Kruger’s previous book on the canon, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books, which investigated whether Christians have warrant for believing the New Testament canon is correct. (I reviewed Canon Revisited here.) But if you’re a canon geek like me, you’ll probably enjoy The Question of Canon. Although Kruger is a scholar, he writes so that anyone who is interested can understand, so don’t let the your own non-scholarly status keep you away.


Theological Term of the Week

“[T]he view that “there is no objective truth,” but rather, what is called truth “is always relative to something else”;1 

  • Scripture that argues against relativism: 

    “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45 ESV) (God is the objective standard of what is morally right or holy—or the objective standard of moral truth.)

    Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:11-13 ESV) (There is one judgment for everyone and everyone will be judged by the same objective standard of moral truth.)

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Linked Together: Two Kinds of Perfectionism

 and the gospel is the solution to them both.

False Expectations
Today at Out of the Ordinary Staci Eastin reviewed and recommended Picture Perfect: When Life Doesn’t Line Up by Amy Baker—and she’s giving away a copy of the book, too. You can read the review and enter the book giveaway here.

False Doctrine
Stephen Nichols on B. B. Warfield on Protestant perfectionism: “[P]erfectionism promotes a deficient view of what Christ accomplished on the cross. In the victorious life teaching, Christ’s death is looked upon as merely saving us from the guilt of sin; the salvation from the corruption of sin comes later.” 


Heidelberg Catechism

This is an explanation of “he descended into hell” in the Apostles’ Creed that I’ve never seen anywhere else. What do you think of it?

Question 44. Why is “he descended into hell” added [in the Apostles’ Creed]?

Answer: So that in my greatest temptations, I may be assured and comforted in this: my Lord Jesus Christ, by his unspeakable anguish, pain, terror, and agony, which he endured in all his sufferings, (a) but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell. (b)

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

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Sunday's Hymn: How Firm a Foundation, Ye Saints of the Lord

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed;
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

“E’en down to old age all my people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.”

—John Rippon


Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.