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I address this question using only the thoughts and opinions I’ve heard from others or that I remember from Bible classes in years past. I haven’t done any research or in-depth study into the creation of the canon, the New Testament. I am speaking from a place of absolute no scholarly authority. I am simply speaking from a place of conversations with friends.
In high school, I read Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, so I remember bits and pieces of that and in history class we briefly talked about how there were several books that were candidates to be a part of the protestant New Testament and some were discarded and others made the cut. It was a group of men that decided.
This is important. To know why certain scripture has been read for centuries while other texts were discarded. My professors usually began the semester detailing the origin of a book and its author but I don’t recall much discussion on how that book made it in—a basic often reserved for advanced theology classes taken by Biblical studies majors or seminary students.
And here’s what I know about those who do advanced theological study: same are affirmed in their faith and some walk away from it completely. Whatever happens in those classes must be challenging and for one of my friends it proved to be too much. He sat there and studied and read and read and read about how those 27 books were put together and compiled and the flaws that were highlighted through that study were enough for him to stop crediting the Bible.
In all of the conversations this friend and I had about God, I could not bring myself to ask him what knowledge he had acquired that made him walk away. What little fact made it absolutely impossible to believe anymore.
I was too afraid to ask. I didn’t want to know. And he, knowing how painful it was for him, had mercy on my ignorance and never told me.
I believe in questions. I say this a lot; I’ll say it again…24 October 2011