is the “canon” closed?

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.
Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve seen this discussion taking place in the blogosphere (and wider social media venue) so I’ve had some time to think about it.

What would happen if the canon wasn’t closed?

That is usually the question. Some would add MLK’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail while others may wish to add something closer to the Apostles, such as GThomas or 1st Clement.

For me, I’m not sure our canon is closed, only our understanding of what the canon is. If the canon is limited to a set of books within what we call “the bible” then it is closed because of the theological necessity at one point or the other to ensure our Church is founded only upon the words of the Apostles (or, you know, their pseudonymous followers — I’m looking you, “Timothy”)

In my opinion, the “canon” includes Scripture, the Creeds, and the writings of the Church that do not contradict the previous two. This means even the writings of various Christians such as John Wesley. So, my canon is not necessary closed as it is open to progressive revelation based on two firm foundations.

This isn’t exactly the UCC version of “God is still speaking…” but something along the lines of John 16.13 where we are still being guided from something, along a path, to some place.

What are your thoughts?

Btw, if I were to issue a New New Testament, I would include Thomas, Barnabas, 1st and 2nd Clement, Ignatius’s letters (short form), and Diognetus. I would also include the creed from the Council of Sardica and tell the East to bite me. 

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One Reply to “is the “canon” closed?”

  1. The seminal issue may be less canon closure than it is Christian fossilization – and, hence, incapacity to deal with reality. Nor is Christianity alone in this regard. Islam is presently frozen in the 8th century.

    In fact, the whole monotheistic model seems ill-equipped to handle the current range of human curiosity and exportation. Consequently, its answers appear largely childlike rather than enlightening.

    Hell, fire, and brimstone preachers more resemble shaman than spokesmen for a truly divine presence. More liberal pulpits are as likely to dribble psychobabble as scripture. Small wonder the masses are fleeing churches of every persuasion like rats abandoning a sinking ship! No one is feeding the flock.

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