Robert Millet on the Biblical Canon

Robert Millet gave an interesting lecture on the Biblical Canon. It can be found here: http://byubmp3.byu.edu/sperry/2006/millet.mp3

I appreciate Professor Millet’s acknowledgement of those throughout Christian history that fought for the preservation and translation of the Bible. Christian history is Mormon history in this regard.

At the end of his presentation Prof. Millet ask why do we (Evangelicals) believe the canon is now closed. What justification do we have for shutting out new revelation that may come from God? I think I can actually concede to him that perhaps the canon is not closed. I’m open to the idea. But I think that any new works have to pass the same requirements of authenticity and authority that the books currently in the Bible did.

An interesting lecture for anyone who is interested.

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4 thoughts on “Robert Millet on the Biblical Canon

  1. “What justification do we have for shutting out new revelation that may come from God? ”

    Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

    Perhaps that’s got something to do with it!? 🙂

  2. tikkiro: I’d like to take a somewhat different view of The Rev 22:18 proviso. It would seem to apply only to the book of Revelation, since at the time of its writing the Bible was not yet compiled into the canon we now have. So its hard to see how it would apply to other scriptures. (Deut 12:32 adds some perspective, as commands have been added since that time, especially in the N.T., so it must only apply to what was extant at that time.)

  3. Yeah, this is a common mistake. You assume that since Revelation is the last book in your Bible, it was the last book written. It’s likely that the Gospel of John was even written after Revelation. Rev 22:18 doesn’t give us any indication that it was referring to anything other than the book of Revelation.

  4. There’s nothing in the Bible at all that refers to the Bible as a whole. Thus, the Bible itself contains no direct assertions of perfection, inerrancy, or completeness (and the Rev 22:18 quote is misleading for exactly the reasons Dando pointed out- furthermore it only says man ought not to add anything, but says nothing about whether God can).

    So the only support for perfection, inerrancy, or completeness would be inferential, and we’re talking about fairly attenuated inferences, too (i.e. logical conclusions and assumptions about the way it “should be” rather than more direct inferences from the text itself).

    That’s about all I have to say on the matter. Of course, I was raised believing that the canon was open in theory at least- the reality is that Joseph Smith added tons to the Mormon canon in a very short time but not much at all has been added in the 160-odd years since his death, unless oyu want to get into the easy-to-fall-into argument about what is and isn’t “official,” “canon,” or “scripture.” In my opinion, the ambiguity on the subject is one of Mormonism’s major problems, and the reason why it can be hard to discuss problematic doctrines with Mormons.

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