Friday, April 17, 2009


(the link for the article to which this is a response can be found here)

In this particular article, Ankerberg Theological Institute promulgates the common Protestant objections against the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, usually referred to as the Apocrypha. Of these books there are seven, regarded as Scripture by the oldest Christian Churches in the world: the Roman Catholic, and the Eastern Orthodox. The Roman Catholic Bible says accurately:

"The Apocrypha contains valuable historical information of the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. Early Christian writers quote the Apocrypha; and some, such as Augustine, considered portions of it to be inspired Scripture. Fourth century A.D. manuscripts of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament made in the third century before Christ, also include the Apocrypha. When the Apocrypha was appended to this translation is unknown."

I think it is vital that we make something perfectly clear here first before continuing. The above statement mentions that the Deuterocanonical books are found in the 4th century editions of the Septuagint (LXX). Some Catholic apologists wrongfully automatically assume that this is sufficient proof that Christ and the Apostles considered the Deuterocanon as Scripture, since it is the LXX which they used when quoting the NT (cf. Heb. 10:5, compare with Ps. 40:6-8; the writer of Hebrews follows the Septuagint renderring of the psalm). However, current research has shown that the earliest editions of the LXX we have (containing the Deuterocanon) are from the 4th century. In contrast, Baptist textual scholar Lee McDonald says,

"It is most likely that these [the Deuterocanon] books were considered by the Jewish community holy or sacred well before the time of Christ, and that they were simply received by the early Christians as part of the sacred collection they inherited from Judaism. There is evidence that at least some non-canonical books had their origin in the land of Israel and were translated and transported from Israel to Alexandria and probably wherever Jews lived in significant numbers in the Roman Empire . The grandson of Ben Sirach [the writer of the deuteroncanonical book Ecclesiasticus]…lets us know he was translating for the Jews in Alexandria . The NT also has many allusions to some [deuterocanonical] literature found in the LXX, and the oldest Christian collections of OT scriptures contain much of that literature” (The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon , p. 90)

But on the same note, Jews in Palestine, the place where Jesus lived, seemingly did not use the Greek Septuagint, thus not using the 'apocrypha' as Scripture. To the Protestant, this is strong proof that since the Apostles apparently did not use the books, therefore we in the Church should not regard them as Scripture.

The fallacy with this argument gives power to non-Christian authorities, namely the Jews post-Messiah, over a canon which was not theirs to close. It is said that one may view the Church as Judaism post-Messiah, so in the same way one may view Judaism as the Church pre-Messiah. Judaism is the Church in the OT, and the authority given over to it was fulfilled and made complete in the Christian Church. After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the Church was henceforth now and forever the 'new Israel'. This was God's plan. However, mankind has free will, and has the ability to accept or to reject. In the case of the Jewish authorities, they rejected their Messiah, and continued on in Judaism. Those who confessed Jesus as the Messiah left Judaism and ministered in the Church, as is the case with St. Paul. Christ gave the authority of "binding and loosing" to the Church, first to Peter, then to all the Apostles, that they might discern what is the true doctrine as the Holy Spirit would lead them. Among the things to bind and loose, was the canon. It is commonly known that St. Peter regarded St. Paul's writings as Holy Scripture (cf. 2 Peter 3:16), yet how could Peter do this without "adding to the word of the Lord" if he and others in the Church considered the OT canon closed? In a few verses earlier, he regards the writings of "us the apostles" as authoritative as the words spoken by "the holy prophets" (2 Peter 3:2). This begs us to ask: was the Old Testament truly forever closed according to the Jews?

In his book, The DaVinci Deception, Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer writes:

"To be fair, we must report that the canonicity of five Old Testament books was questioned at one time or another, each for a different reason. For some, the Song of Solomon was too sensual; Ecclesiastes was too skeptical; and because Esther does not mention the name of God, some thought it too unspiritual. Some questioned Proverbs because some of the maxims seemed to contradict one another. And finally, some Jewish scholars thought Ezekiel was anti-Mosaic, and its visions were said to tend toward Gnosticism." (p. 84)

What we see from the above is that certain canonical books were looked upon with suspicion for various reasons. Had the canon been clearly and definitively closed, the status of those books would not have been called into question. It must also be stated the OT is a testimony of God's continual revelation. Books were added to the canon as the Jews received them from God. It is a known fact that the Jews considered the canon closed around 400 BC, after Malachi. Then the question begs again: what gave Peter, himself a Jew, the authority to 'add' Paul's writings to Scripture? Answer: the authority of the Holy Spirit through the Church. When Peter spoke, he spoke as the Church concerning this subject. Peter wrote his second epistle between AD 64 and 67. But in 90 AD the Jews met at a council at Jabneh to once again ratify forever the OT canon. In this same council they condemned Christianity and all writings associated with it, along with Gnostism and a few other heretical sects. Therefore, they also would have condemned Paul's writings, as well as all the NT Scriptures. The fact that the Jews established such a council during that time leaves us to wonder if all the Jews did was make a common assumption that the canon was closed after Malachi, when in fact God intended for it to remain open.

The Christian knows for a certainty God was not finished in revelation. He had yet to bring forth Christ. The OT was just the stepping-stones leading to their fulfillment in the NT. In truth, both the OT and the NT are not two separate canons, but are one continual canon, God revealing Himself and His Son throughout the ages. Thus, whatever pronouncement made on the OT canon by the Jewish authorities at Jabneh should not be considered as binding on the Christian Church, which had already established Paul's writings as Scripture. The question is not whether the Jews considered the Deuterocanon to be Scripture, but whether the Church in its earliest conception considered them Scripture.

There is evidence enough for us to believe this is the case. Lutzer writes:

"A document called the Muratorian Fragment, dating back to about AD 175, evaluates the various canonical books along with those that had been rejected by the church." (p. 91)

In this Fragment, we read:

"The Epistle of Jude, indeed, and two bearing the name of John, are accepted in the Catholic Church: also Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honor." (as cited in Henry Bettenson & Chris Maunder, Documents of the Christian Church, new edition, p. 31)

The 'apocryphal' book of Wisdom, attributed to Solomon, was considered canonical by the Church according to this Muratorian Fragment. In addition, the Didache quotes a few lines from Sirach, as do other fathers quote from the Deuterocanon:

"You shall not waver with regard to your decisions [Sir. 1:28]. Do not be someone who stretches out his hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving [Sir. 4:31]" (Didache 4:5 A.D. 70)

"Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting: Since thou hast often, in thy zeal for the word, expressed a wish to have extracts made from the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour and concerning our entire faith, and hast also desired to have an accurate statement of the ancient book, as regards their number and their order, I have endeavored to perform the task, knowing thy zeal for the faith, and thy desire to gain information in regard to the word, and knowing that thou, in thy yearning after God, esteemest these things above all else, struggling to attain eternal salvation. Accordingly when I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two; the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also, Ecclesiastes, Song off Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From which also I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books." Melito of Sardes, Fragment in Eusebius' Ecclesiatical History, 4:26 (A.D. 177)

"Those, however, who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts, and, do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt towards others, and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat, and work evil deeds in secret, saying, 'No man sees us,' shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance (secundum gloriam), nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words, to be found in Daniel the prophet: 'O thou seed of Canaan, and not of Judah, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust perverted thy heart'[Daniel 13:56-Susanna]. Thou that art waxen old in wicked days, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light; for thou hast pronounced false judgments, and hast been accustomed to condemn the innocent, and to let the guilty go free, albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and the righteous shalt thou not slay' [Daniel 13:52-53-Susanna]. Of whom also did the Lord say: "But if the evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite the man-servants and maidens, and to eat and drink and be drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day that he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.' [Matt 24:48]." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV:26:3 (A.D. 180)

"[H]aving heard the Scripture which says, 'Fasting with prayer is a good thing'[Tobit 12:8]." Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, 6:12 (A.D. 202)

"But that we may believe on the authority of holy Scripture that such is the case, hear how in the book of Maccabees, where the mother of seven martyrs exhorts her son to endure torture, this truth is confirmed; for she says, ' ask of thee, my son, to look at the heaven and the earth, and at all things which are in them, and beholding these, to know that God made all these things when they did not exist'[2 Maccabees 7:28]." Origen, Fundamental Principles, 2:2 (A.D. 230)

'You begin by saying, that when, in my discussion with our friend Bassus,I used the Scripture which contains the prophecy of Daniel when yet a young man in the affair of Susanna, I did this as if it had escaped me that this part of the book was spurious. You say that you praise this passage as elegantly written, but find fault with it as a more modern composition, and a forgery; and you add that the forger has had recourse to something which not even Philistion the play-writer would have used in his puns between prinos and prisein, schinos and schisis, which words as they sound in Greek can be used in this way, but not in Hebrew. In answer to this, I have to tell you what it behoves us to do in the cases not only of the History of Susanna, which is found in every Church of Christ in that Greek copy which the Greeks use, but is not in the Hebrew, or of the two other passages you mention at the end of the book containing the history of Bel and the Dragon, which likewise are not in the Hebrew copy of Daniel; but of thousands of other passages also which I found in many places when with my little strength I was collating the Hebrew copies with ours. For in Daniel itself I found the word "bound" followed in our versions by very many verses which are not in the Hebrew at all, beginning (according to one of the copies which circulate in the Churches) thus: "Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael prayed and sang unto God," down to "O, all ye that worship the Lord, bless ye the God of gods. Praise Him, and say that His mercy endureth for ever and ever. And it came to pass, when the king heard them singing, and saw them that they were alive." Or, as in another copy, from "And they walked in the midst of the fire, praising God and blessing the Lord," down to "O, all ye that worship the Lord, bless ye the God of gods. Praise Him, and say that His mercy endureth to all generations." [The Song of the Three Children, found in Daniel 3 of the Catholic Bible] But in the Hebrew copies the words, "And these three men, Sedrach, Misach, and Abednego fell down bound into the midst of the fire," are immediately followed by the verse, "Nabouchodonosor the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors." For so Aquila, following the Hebrew reading, gives it, who has obtained the credit among the Jews of having interpreted the Scriptures with no ordinary care, and whose version is most commonly used by those who do not know Hebrew, as the one which has been most successful. Of the copies in my possession whose readings I gave, one follows the Seventy, and the other Theodotion; and just as the History of Susanna which you call a forgery is found in both, together with the passages at the end of Daniel, so they give also these passages, amounting, to make a rough guess, to more than two hundred verses.' - Origen, To Africanus, 5 (ante A.D. 254), in ANF,IV:386

'But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read,' Athanasius the Great: Part of Festal Letter 39 (c. 367 A.D.)

'35. Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than thyself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench[6] thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave[7], and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings[8] are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle[9]; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament.' - Cyril of Jerusalem [315-386 AD], Catechetical Lectures, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, Lecture 4:35, p. 25.

'[T]he Old Testament is reckoned as consisting of twenty-two that of Moses there be five books...with the Lamentations and the Letter [Baruch 6-Epistle of Jeremiah], and Daniel...bringing the number of the books to twenty-two. It is to be noted also that by adding to these Tobias and Judith, there are twenty-four books, corresponding to the number of letters used by the Greeks.' Hilary of Poitiers, Prologue to the Psalms,15 (A.D. 365), in JUR, 1:383

However, despite the vast amount of evidence from the Fathers we have concerning the Deuterocanon as Scripture, the final say on the matter comes from the Councils themselves. Therefore, we ask: Are there truly any councils preceding Trent that defined the 'Apocrypha' as inspired Scripture? Answer: Yes! Two councils will I now list for proof.

"It has been decided that besides the canonical scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the canonical scriptures are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the Son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, and a portion of the Psalms], the twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books" (Hippo, Canon 36 [A.D. 393])

"It has been decided that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. But the canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach), twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees." (III Carthage, Canon 47 A.D. 397)

To clarify, these councils were not Ecumenical, that is pertaining to the whole Church, but instead these pronouncements were only binding in the providential areas wherein they were held. Yet still we do clearly see that the early Church held as canonical the 7 'apocryphal' books of the OT. As Pastor Lutzer rightly tells us,

"The twenty-seven books of the New Testament were ratified by the Council of Hippo (AD 393) and the Third Council of Carthage (AD 397)." (The DaVinci Deception, p. 98)

It is from these two councils that Protestants take their final say as to what the final canon of the New Testament should be. All these councils did was define what the Church already held as Scripture - both in the OT, and the NT. Should we make so absurd a claim that the Holy Spirit led the councils to correctly ratify the New Testament books, but failed to accompany them in their declaration of the Old Testament books? Never! The witness of the martyrs and the early saints for both the OT and NT are too numerous to ignore. In fact, renowned Protestant church historian J.N.D Kelly writes,

"It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the 22 or 24 books of Hebrew Palestinian Judaism. It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition the so-called Apocrypha, or deuterocanonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of Christians was not the original Hebrew version, but the Greek translation known as the Septuagint…most of the scriptural quotations found in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew,...In the first two centuries at any rate the Church seems to have accepted all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture.” (Early Christian Doctrines, page 53, 54).

The Roman Catholic Bible mentions:

"Even the Roman Catholic Church did not dogmatically declare the Apocrypha to be inspired until the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. Roman Catholic priest Father. H. J. Schroeder, a translator of the decrees of the Council of Trent writes, 'The Tridentine list or decree was the first infallible and effectually promulgated declaration on the Canon of the Holy Scriptures.'"

The quote they refer to comes from The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent by Rev. H. J. Schroeder, O.P. The quote is taken from the tail-end of a footnote on page 17 of said book. Here I will provide the text to which this footnote further expounded, then the full footnote in its context for clarification.

"Following, then, the examples of the orthodox Fathers, it receives and venerates with a feeling of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and New Testaments, since one God is the author of both; also the traditions, whether they relate to faith or to morals, as having been dictated either orally by Christ or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church in unbroken succession. It has thought it proper, moreover, to insert in this decree a list of the sacred books, lest a doubt might arise in the mind of someone as to which are the books received by this council." (Fourth Session)

Here now is the footnote which was attached to the above ending sentence.

"For earlier lists, cf. Synod of Laodicea (end of IV cent.), c.60, the genuineness of which canon however is contested (Hefele-Leclercq, Hist. des conciles, I, 1026); Synod of Rome (382) under Pope Damasus (Denzinger, Enchiridion, no. 84); Synod of Hippo (393), c.36, which the III Synod of Carthage (397) made its own in c.47 (idem, no. 92); Innocent I in 405 to Exuperius, bishop of Toulouse (idem, no. 96); Eugene IV in the Council of Florence (Mansi, XXXI, 1736; Hardouin, IX, 1023 f.). The Tridentine list or decree was the first infallible and effectually promulgated declaration on the Canon of the Holy Scriptures." (The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, p. 17; footnote 4)

Rev. Schroeder lists the two councils we mentioned earlier, but among them also the Ecumenical Council of Florence. What's especially noted about this Council is the fact that it is indeed Ecumenical. To understand the force of this fact, we must first learn what the Catholic Church's understanding of an Ecumenical or General Council is. The Catechism states it thus:

891...The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme authority of the Magisterium, above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through her supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine 'for belief as being divinely revealed', and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions 'must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.' This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.

The Ecumenical Council of Florence listed in Session Eleven the books of the Bible which the Catholic Church saw as canonical. Among these books were the Deuterocanonicals. This listing of the books is in the papal Bull Catante Domino, which sets the record straight on what the Church teaches, proclaims, and professes in opposition to the heretics at the time. Furthermore it rejoices in its union with the Copts. So the Council of Florence was especially precise and clear when again defining the fundamentals of Catholic faith, one of which is the canon of Scripture.

“It professes that one and the same God is the author of the old and the new Testament — that is, the law and the prophets, and the gospel — since the saints of both testaments spoke under the inspiration of the same Spirit. It accepts and venerates their books, whose titles are as follows: Five books of Moses, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, Esdras, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms of David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, namely Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; two books of the Maccabees; the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; fourteen letters of Paul, to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, to the Colossians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two letters of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude; Acts of the Apostles; Apocalypse of John.” (Council of Florence, Session 11)

The difference between Florence's mention of the canon and Trent's mention was that Florence made no formal binding decree that no one should add nor remove the books of the Bible. The object at hand was not the canon, but the Persons of God and Christ. The heretic Manichees taught that there was a God of the OT, and a different God of the NT. The canon, though not called into question by the heretics, was still mentioned as one of the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. Albeit, the list was not infallibly, dogmatically, and forever binding on the Church. This provided Luther with a loop-hole to take away the Deuterocanon, as well as some NT books which he did not consider on par with Scripture. However in Trent we are given a precise warning:

"If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema." (Session Four, after the listing of the Biblical books)

It is now beyond the shadow of a doubt that no man may take away or add to the books of Holy Bible, according to Trent. The anathema is promised to anyone, Catholic or no, who reject any one of the sacred books: whether it be Genesis or Tobit, Matthew or Maccabees, Jude or Wisdom. However the Council explicitly says one must 'knowingly' and 'deliberately' reject them. That is, one must first know for certain that the Bible is composed of 73 books before he rejects any of them. One cannot 'knowingly' and 'deliberately' reject the Deuterocanon if first he is sure above all that the Bible is only composed of 66 books, and out of his devout fear and love for Christ has rejected the Deuterocanon, thinking it to be a gross addition made by apostates to the Holy Word. Only God knows the heart, and only He knows why people today reject certain parts of the Bible. Some reject the letters of Paul, others the Gospel of Luke, others the Acts.

Now that it is firmly established with explicit documentation that the early Church has through the witness of saints and councils, generally accepted the Deuterocanon as Scripture long before the decree of Trent. But what about the books themselves? What does The Roman Catholic Bible have to say about them?

"The Roman Catholic Church’s claim that these writings of the Apocrypha are inspired must be rejected for the following reasons:

• The Apocrypha does not present itself as inspired. The author of 2 Maccabees says that his book is the abridgement of another man’s work (2 Maccabees 2:23). He concludes the book, saying, "If it is well written and to the point, that is what I wanted; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that is the best I could do" (2 Maccabees 15:38). Mediocre is a good description of the Apocrypha. Despite its historical value, it promotes questionable ethics, fanciful legends, and doctrine that contradict Scripture.

• The Jews of Palestine never accepted the Apocrypha as part of sacred Scripture. Neither was there a Jewish prophet living during the time in which the Apocrypha was written (300-30 B.C.).

• Jesus and the New Testament writers did not treat the Apocrypha as inspired. Though the New Testament quotes virtually every book of the Old Testament, there is not a single quotation from the Apocrypha.

• The early church as a whole never accepted the Apocrypha as inspired. Moreover, many Christian leaders spoke against the Apocrypha, including: Jerome, Origen, Athanasius, and Cyril of Jerusalem."

I'm amazed first of all at the reasoning provided in point 1. "The Apocrypha does not present itself as inspired", just how exactly is a book from the Bible supposed to present itself as inspired? Esther doesn't present itself as inspired, which was solely why it was called into question by the Jews! Martin Luther called Jonah a comical story. 3 John doesn't make any claims that is divine writing. The list continues. The fact that 2 Maccabees is an abridgement does not make it any less inspired than the passages in Kings, Samuel, or Judges where the passages refer us to longer works such as The Book of Jasher, the Kings of Judah, etc. Therefore, these specific accounts mentioned in the Bible are abridgments themselves of longer and detailed works! This does not at all mean the books are uninspired. God only wanted us to know a few specific facts, the rest was irrelevant to His special Word. 2 Maccabees is no different.

As for questionable ethics, no examples are given. But if any ethics are, at first glance, 'questionable', one need only look at the protocanonicals which speaks of parents killing children if they rebel, avengers of blood seeking retribution against the foes of their clans, the circumsission of newborn boys, etc. Of course these 'questionable' ethics are not questionable at all once you dig deeper and research the Bible and its surrounding history, such as the culture of the Jews. The same accounts for the so-called 'questionable ethics' of the Deuterocanon.

Fanciful legends is another interesting accusation. Could anything seem more 'fanciful' than the plagues of Egypt, the Flood, the talking donkey, or most of all, the Virgin Birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Yet all these things, as incredible as they are, did indeed happen. So what kind of 'fanciful legends' do Protestants have in mind concerning the Deuterocanon? The appearances of Raphael? the concealing of the Ark of the Covenant by Jeremiah? the conquest of Judith? None of these would come even close to, say for example, the assumption of Elijah into heaven by a fiery chariot.

As for doctrine that contradicts Scripture, the Bible always appears to contradict itself if you don't look at it carefully and in context. The Deuterocanon does not contradict the Protocanon or the NT in any way, shape, or form, if one need only be willingly to dig deeper into its writings, its context, and compare.

Point 2, as we have already shown, is irrelevant. We may conclude that God did not wish for the Jews pre-Messiah to consider the Deuterocanon as Scripture, but intended for it to be used in the Christian Church, that is, Judaism post-Messiah. Perhaps God's intended use of it for was to better understand the life and times of His people, Israel, during their 400 years of silence. Maccabees is prophesied in Daniel, and is can be seen as pre-figuring the end-times concerning Antichrist, the Abomination of Desolation, and the deliverance of Israel and the Church from Satan. Tobit contains within it an account of a demon being cast out by the burning of a fish's entrails. Interestingly enough, Christ is referred to as the FISH in Sacred Tradition, whose sacred Heart was pierced for the forgivness of sins. And it was the FISH who cast out demons by the very sound of His voice. Through the fish's death and the burning of its entrails evil was cast out and fled to Egypt. Through the death of Jesus and the piercing of His heart, the gates of hell were forever crushed.

Lest the accusation be raised that this particular incident in Tobit is 'witchraft', with the burning of the fish's entrails, it is no less 'witchcraft' than David playing the harp to cast out the demon that tormented Saul. Music is often used in demon meditations and incantations, as is the gutting of animals. Nor is the situation any less 'evil' than Christ using His saliva to heal a blind man. God's use of matter or sound to perform miracles is all throughout the Bible, and should not be objected to unless it is used to summon demons or use them for satanic means.

Point 3 in insufficient and just plain erroneous. K. Aland's The Greek New Testament provides us with numerous quotes and allusions of the Deuterocanonicals in the NT, totalling 87. Even if not one quote or allusion existed, proof from silence would not prove solid for this or any other case. However, even though we do have proof that the 'Apocrypha' was used by the NT-writers, the Protestants will raise the objection that the writers quoted from other documents as well, and therefore this proves nothing concerning inspiration or non-inspiration. The reason Catholics point to the fact the NT quotes the Deuterocanon is precisely because things like The Roman Catholic Bible make these incredible standards which even they themselves do not hold to. It's a staw-man from the start. Even so, the Catholic may use the straw-man as a solid foundation to prove accuratly the truth of the matter. For the sake of argument, consider these examples: Esther is a protocanonical book that is neither alluded to nor quoted in the NT. But this in no way makes Esther less-inspired or un-inspired. Yet in Hebrews 11:35 we read:

"Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." (KJV)

The context of the entire chapter is of the Old Testament saints. The first half of the verse alludes to 1 Kings 17:22, when Elijah raised the widow's son to life. The second half of the verse is found no where in the Protestant OT canon. No where, not once, is there any description of people being tortured but refusing to surrender in order that they might see the resurrection. But the senerio is found in 2 Maccabees 7:9,14:

"(7) And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws. ...(14) When he was near death, he said, "One cannot choose but to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" (NRSV)

A woman and her seven sons are tortured because they will not surrender to the pagan king. Thus, being pius Jews, they endure death, for, as they said, the hope of "an everlasting renewal of life." So even though the Deuterocanon is not quoted directly in the NT, it is at times alluded to. Incidentally, in the original 1611 KJV, a footnote appeared over the Hebrews 11:35 text, pointing the reading to 2 Maccabees 7.

Point 4 has been covered and proven faulty. Though it must be said, Athanasius and Cyril were among some of the fathers who did not look upon the Deuterocanon as Scripture. Jerome, however, though even he questioned it, said:

"What sin have I committed if I follow the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating [in my preface to the book of Daniel] the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susannah [Dan. 13], the Song of the Three Children [Dan. 3:29–68, RSV-CE], and the story of Bel and the Dragon [Dan. 14], which are not found in the Hebrew volume, proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. I was not relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they are wont to make against us. If I did not reply to their views in my preface, in the interest of brevity, lest it seem that I was composing not a preface, but a book, I believe I added promptly the remark, for I said, ‘This is not the time to discuss such matters’" (Against Rufinius 11:33 [A.D. 401]).

Even in his personal oppinion he surrendered to the will of the Church.

For a broader scope dealing with various historical Protestant objections of the Catholic canon, the reader is invited to view the work of St. Francis De Sales treating this very subject.


Christ said He would build His Church on apostles and prophets, Himself being the chief corner-stone. Christ identifies Himself with the Church when He cried to Saul, "Why are you persecuting Me?" Not only are we called the Body of Christ, but we are guided by the Holy Spirit "who will lead you in all truth." After all, the Church is the "pillar and foundation of the truth", of which "the powers of hell shall never prevail," so why should any question be raised after when the Church has solemnly declared, whether by the witnesses of the saints, or the word of the councils, the canon of Scripture? Who would dare to doubt the decision of the Church, the Church which Christ Himself builds, points to it, and says, "I am one with you,"? Whoever does not listen to the Church does not listen to Christ. It must however be said here, in order for that person to be guilty, that the person must be rejecting the Church because he hates God. If he rejects the Catholic Church out of his love for God, because he has been told the Church is an abomination, and based on facts made available to him rejects the Catholic Church, God knows the heart, and just as innocent babies are not held accountable for wrongs if they die, so this person will not be held accountable. Just as all Scripture is God-breathed, so the Church is Christ-built, and every word of the Church when teaching doctrine is Christ-breathed. For Protestants though, they question whether the earliest church was indeed Catholic. Many deny it, and say the Catholic Church grew out of the true early church (an issue we will deal with in another Response). Nevertheless, being baptized into one Spirit, they are our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, professing the same Jesus the Church professes, accepting the same Atonement of Salvation the Catholics accept. Even though many Protestants do not view the earliest church as Catholic, they are faced with the dilemma that the earliest Christians approved the Deuterocanon, as did early councils, long before Trent. Their Bibles are indeed the Word of God - but the Catholic Bible is the Word of God as it was originally assembled through the Church, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


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