Canonical Disputations Part 1, James, Jude, 2 Peter

John Cosin’s rules of canonicity, Chap. I, Preface:

    1. The men who wrote the book claimed to be acted upon and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
    2. That the writer was acknowledged by one “acted upon and inspired by the Holy Spirit”. Mark under Peter, Luke under Paul, etc.
    3. Their books have been received by the Church in all ages. (Inherently Roman Catholic) And the definition of the Church is equivocal. The meaning ranges from pastors, to the fathers, to the councils, the pope, etc.; they don’t have a solid definition.It is admitted by most scholars that 2 Peter is not authentic. See Daniel B. Wallace, in his Second Peter: Introduction, Argument, and Outline. Eusebius admits that James and Jude were suspect at an early age in his Church History Book II, C. 23,


“25. These things are recorded in regard to James, who is said to be the author of the first of the so-called catholic epistles. But it is to be observed that it is disputed; at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude, which is also one of the seven so-called catholic epistles. Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches.”

Martin Luther rejected the Canonicity of James in Luthers Works, vol. 35. pages 395-398, in his preface to James and Jude.

The Reformed Rule:

The testimony of the Holy Spirit. The Reformers affirmed that this conviction of the inspiration of the Scriptures “is neither the result of a papal pronouncement nor a conclusion inferred from prior premises; it is a belief which the Holy Spirit himself produces in our minds.” (Gordon Clark, See Calvin’s Inst. 1.7.5, Whitaker, Disputations. Quest. 3, Chapter 1)

Making this issue subjective has a serious problem: THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS CONVINCED ME THAT JAMES AND JUDE AND 2 PETER ARE NOT SCRIPTURE.

My rules of Canonicity:

    1. The men who wrote a book claiming to be scripture claimed to be acted upon and inspired by the Holy Spirit. (Necessary not sufficient condition.)
    2. That the writer was acknowledged by one “acted upon and inspired by the Holy Spirit”, i.e. Mark under Peter, Luke under Paul, Joshua under Moses.
    3. Fulfilled Prophecy and/or Miracles.


Matt 11: 2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

John 14: 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

Isa 44:6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. 7‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,  From the time that I established the ancient nation.  And let them declare to them the things that are coming  And the events that are going to take place.

    1. Their book brings forth good fruit.


Matt. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

I.E. Solomon’s works

  1. Coherency: is it consistent with itself and the teaching of the ACCEPTED BOOKS. Yeshua condemns logical inconsistency as hypocrisy.

Mat 23:29  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, Mat 23:30  and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Mat 23:31  “So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets

I.E. Solomon’s works

    1. Is in accord with nature and our physical reality and human civilization.

Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, Romans 1:27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

I.E. Solomon’s works

      1. Was the book not merely cited but referenced and suggested as a source of reliable information by an accepted book?


Joshua 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

2 Samuel 1:18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

Paul quotes Solomon as scripture in Rom. 12:20, Prov 25:22.

The Catholic Church accepted the Apocrypha as Canonical but Protestants and Baptists reject it. How can they blame me for rejecting books the Catholic Church defined as Canonical when they do the same thing with the Apocrypha?

New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, “Canon of the Old Testament”:

“The canon of the Old Testament in the Church of the first three centuries

The sub-Apostolic writings of Clement, Polycarp, the author of the Epistle of Barnabas, of the pseudo-Clementine homilies, and the “Shepherd” of Hermas, contain implicit quotations from or allusions to all the deuterocanonicals except Baruch (which anciently was often united with Jeremias) and I Machabees and the additions to David. No unfavourable argument can be drawn from the loose, implicit character of these citations, since these Apostolic Fathers quote the protocanonical Scriptures in precisely the same manner.

Coming down to the next age, that of the apologists, we find Baruch cited by Athenagoras as a prophet. St. Justin Martyr is the first to note that the Church has a set of Old Testament Scriptures different from the Jews’, and also the earliest to intimate the principle proclaimed by later writers, namely, the self-sufficiency of the Church in establishing the Canon; its independence of the Synagogue in this respect. The full realization of this truth came slowly, at least in the Orient, where there are indications that in certain quarters the spell of Palestinian-Jewish tradition was not fully cast off for some time. St. Melito, Bishop of Sardis (c. 170), first drew up a list of the canonical books of the Old Testament. While maintaining the familiar arrangement of the Septuagint, he says that he verified his catalogue by inquiry among Jews; Jewry by that time had everywhere discarded the Alexandrian books, and Melito’s Canon consists exclusively of the protocanonicals minus Esther. It should be noticed, however, that the document to which this catalogue was prefixed is capable of being understood as having an anti-Jewish polemical purpose, in which case Melito’s restricted canon is explicable on another ground. St. Irenæus, always a witness of the first rank, on account of his broad acquaintance with ecclesiastical tradition, vouches that Baruch was deemed on the same footing as Jeremias, and that the narratives of Susanna and Bel and the Dragon were ascribed to Daniel. The Alexandrian tradition is represented by the weighty authority of Origen. Influenced, doubtless, by the Alexandrian-Jewish usage of acknowledging in practice the extra writings as sacred while theoretically holding to the narrower Canon of Palestine, his catalogue of the Old Testament Scriptures contains only the protocanonical books, though it follows the order of the Septuagint. Nevertheless Origen employs all the deuterocanonicals as Divine Scriptures, and in his letter of Julius Africanus defends the sacredness of Tobias, Judith, and the fragments of Daniel, at the same time implicitly asserting the autonomy of the Church in fixing the Canon (see references in Cornely). In his Hexaplar edition of the Old Testament all the deuteros find a place. The sixth-century Biblical manuscript known as the “Codex Claromontanus” contains a catalogue to which both Harnack and Zahn assign an Alexandrian origin, about contemporary with Origen. At any rate it dates from the period under examination and comprises all the deuterocanonical books, with IV Machabees besides. St. Hippolytus (d. 236) may fairly be considered as representing the primitive Roman tradition. He comments on the Susanna chapter, often quotes Wisdom as the work of Solomon, and employs as Sacred Scripture Baruch and the Machabees. For the West African Church the larger canon has two strong witnesses in Tertullian and St. Cyprian. All the deuteros except Tobias, Judith, and the addition to Esther, are biblically used in the works of these Fathers. (With regard to the employment of apocryphal writings in this age see under APOCRYPHA.)”

The Traditional Reasons Protestants rejected the Apocrypha are the Same Reasons I reject James, Jude, and 2 Peter

Turretin, Institutes, Vol. 1, 2nd Topic, Q.9,

“NINTH QUESTION: THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS: Ought Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the first two books of the Maccabees, Baruch, the additions to Esther and Daniel to be numbered among the canonical books? We deny against the papists.

I. The Apocryphal books are so called not because the authors are unknown (for there are some canonical books Apocryphal. whose authors are unknown and some whose authors are known); not because they could be read only in private and not in public (for some of them may be read even in public), but either because they were removed from the crypt (apo tes kryptes) (that sacred place in which the holy writings were laid up) as Epiphanius and Augustine think; or because their authority was hidden and suspected, and consequently their use also was secret since the church did not apply to them to confirm the authority of ecclesiastical doctrines (as Jerome says, `Praefatio in libros Salomonis’ from “Hieronymi Prologus Galeatus” in Biblia Sacra VuLgata Editionis Sixti V…et Celementis VIII [1865], p. lii); or, what is more probable, because they are of an uncertain and obscure origin (as Augustine says, CG 15.23* [FC 14:474]).

II. The question is not about the books of the Old and the New Testament which we hold as canonical, for the papists agree with us as to these; nor about all the apocryphal books, for there are some rejected by the papists as well as by us (as the 3rd and 4th of Esdras, 3rd and 4th of Maccabees, the Prayer of Manasseh, etc.). The question is only about Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, 1 and 2 Maccabees, the additions to Esther and Daniel, which the papists consider canonical and we exclude from the canon-not because they do not contain many true and good things, but because they do not bear the marks of canonical books.

III. The reasons are various. ( 1 ) The Jewish church, to which the oracles of God were committed (Rom. 3:2), never considered them as canonical, but held the same canon with us (as is admitted by Josephus, Against Apion 1.39-41 [Loeb, 1:178-79], Becanus, Manuale controversiarum 1.1 [1750], pp. 11-12) and Stapelton, “De Principiis fidei doctrinalibus controversia,” Cont. 5.7* in Opera [1620], 1:322-23). This they could not have done without the most grievous sin (and it was never charged upon them either by Christ or his apostles) if these books no less than the others had been committed to them. Nor should the canon of the Jews be distinguished here from that of Christians because Christians neither can nor ought to receive other books of the Old Testament as canonical than those which they received from the Jews, their book-servants “who carry the books of us students” (as Augustine calls them, “On Psalm 40 [41]” [NPNFI, 8:132; PL 36.463]). (2) They are never quoted as canonical by Christ and the apostles like the others. And Christ, by dividing all the books of the Old Testament into three classes (the law, the Psalms and the prophets, Lk. 24:44), clearly approves of the canon of the Jews and excludes from it those books which are not embraced in these classes. (3) The Christian church for four hundred years recognized with us the same and no other canonical books. This appears from the Canons of the Synod of Laodicea 59 (NPNF2, 14:158); Melito, bishop of Sardis, who lived 116 years A.D. (according to Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.26* [FC 19:262-63]); from Epiphanius (“De Epicureis,” Panarion [PG 41.206-23]); Jerome (“Hieronymi Prologus Galeatus,” in Biblia Sacra Vulgatae Editionis Sixti V . . . et Clementis VIII [1865], pp. xliii-lv); Athanasius (Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae [PG 28.283-94]). (4) The authors were neither prophets and inspired men, since they wrote after Malachi (the last of the prophets); nor were their books written in the Hebrew language (as those of the Old Testament), but in Greek. Hence Josephus (in the passage referred to above) acknowledges that those things which were written by his people after the time of Artaxerxes were not equally credible and authoritative with those which preceded “on account of there not being an indisputable succession of prophets” (dia to me genesthai ten ton propheton akribe diadochen, Against Apion 1.41 (Loeb, 1:178-79]).

IV. The style and matter of the books proclaim them to be human, not divine. It requires little acuteness to discover that they are the product of human labor, although some are more excellent than others. For besides the fact that the style does not savor of the majesty and simplicity of the divine style and is redolent with the faults and weaknesses of human genius (in the vanity, flattery, curiosity, mistaken zeal and ill-timed affectation of learning and eloquence, which are often met with), there are so many things in them not only foolish and absurd, but even false, superstitious and contradictory, as to show clearly that they are not divine but human writings. We will give a few specimens of the many errors. Tobias makes the angel tell a falsehood. He says that he is Azariah, the son of Ananias (Tob. 5:12*) and that he is Raphael, the angel of the Lord (12:15). The angel gives a magical direction for driving away the devil by the smoke of a fish’s liver (Tob. 6:6), against that of Christ (Mt. 17:21). He arrogates to himself the oblation of prayers (Tob. 12:12), which belongs to the work of Christ alone. The book of Judith celebrates the deed of Simeon (Jud. 9:2), which Jacob cursed (Gen. 49:5-7); praises the deceits and lies of Judith (Jud. 11), which are not very consistent with piety. Worse still, she even seeks the blessing of God upon them (Jud. 9:13). No mention is made of the city Bethulia in the Scriptures; nor does any trace of the deliverance mentioned there occur in Josephus or Philo, who wrote on Jewish subjects. The author of Wisdom falsely asserts that he was king in Israel (Wis. Sol. 9:7, 8) that he might be taken for Solomon. Yet he alludes to the athletic contests which in the time of Solomon had not been established among the Greeks (Wis. Sol. 4:2). Further, he introduces the Pythagorean metempsychosis (metempsychosin, Wis. Sol. 8:19, 20) and gives a false account of the origin of idolatry (14:15, 16). The Son of Sirach (Sir 46:20) attributes to Samuel what was done by the evil spirit raised by wicked devices (1 S. 28:11), falsely speaks of Elijah’s bodily return (Sir. 48:10), and excuses his oversights in the prologue.

V. There are so many contradictions and absurdities in the additions to Esther and Daniel that Sixtus Senensis unhesitatingly rejects them. Baruch says that in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, he read his book to Jeconiah and to all the people of Babylon; but Jeconiah was in prison and Baruch had been taken away to Egypt after the death of Gedaliah (Jer. 43:7*). He mentions an altar of the Lord (Bar. 1:10) when there was none, the temple being destroyed. The books of the Maccabees often contradict each other (compare 1 Mac. 1:16 with 9:5, 28 and chapter 10). The suicide (autocheiria) of Razis is praised (2 Mac. 14:42). Will-worship (ethelothreskeia) is commended (2 Mac. 12:42) in Judas’s offering a sacrifice for the dead contrary to the law. The author apologizes for his youth and infirmity and complains of the painful labor of abridging the five books of Jason, the Cyrenian (2 Mac. 2:23*, 24; 15:39). If you wish any more specimens from these books, consult Rainold, Chamier, Molinaeus, Spanheim and others who have pursued this line of argument with fullness and strength.

VI. The canon of faith differs from the canon of ecclesiastical reading. We do not speak here of the canon in the latter sense, for it is true that these apocryphal books were sometimes read even publicly in the church. But they were read “for the edification of the people” only, not “for establishing the authority of the doctrines” as Jerome says, Praefatio . . . in Libros Salomonis (NPNF2, 6:492; PL 28.1308). Likewise the legends containing the sufferings of the martyrs (which were so called from being read) were publicly read in the church, although they were not considered canonical. But we speak here of the canon of faith.

VII. The word “canon” is used by the fathers in two senses; either widely or strictly. In the first sense, it embraces not only the canon of faith, but also the canon of ecclesiastical reading. In this way, we must understand the Third Council of Carthage, Canon 47 (Lauchert, p. 173) when it calls these canonical books (if indeed this canon has not been foisted in [pareisaktos] because it mentions Pope Boniface who was not at that time pope; hence Surius, the Ivlonk [Concilia omnia (1567), 1:508*] attributes this canon to the Seventh Council of Carthage, not the Third) not strictly and properly of the canon of faith, but widely, of the canon of reading. The synod expressly says that the sufferings of the martyrs should also be read and so we must understand Augustine when he terms them “canonical:’ For he makes two orders of canonicals: the first of those which are received by all the churches and were never called in question; the second of those which are admitted only by some and were usually read from the pulpit. He holds that the latter are not to be valued as rightly as the former and have far less authority (Augustine, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 11.5* [NPNFI, 4:180]). But the Apocrypha are spurious, false and worthless writingsthe fables of the Scriptures (Augustine, CG 15.23 [FC 14:474]). However the word “canon” is taken strictly for that which has a divine and infallible authority in proving the doctrines of faith. Jerome takes the word in this sense when he excludes those books from the canon. Thus Augustine attached a wider signification to the word “canon” than Jerome, who again takes the word “apocryphal” in a wider sense than Augustine, not only for books evidently false and fabulous, but also for those which (although they might be read in the church) should not be used to prove the doctrines of faith. Thus the seemingly contradictory expressions of these fathers may easily be reconciled. Thus Cajetan near the end explains them: “The words of councils as well as of teachers being brought to the test of Jerome, it will appear that these books are not canonical (i.e., regulars to establish matters of faith), although they may be called canonical (i.e., regulars for the edification of believers), since they were received into the Biblical canon for this purpose” (“In librum Hester commentarii, in quotquot in Sacra Scripturae (1639], 2:400). Dionysius Carthusianus agrees with him (Prooemium in “Tobiam,” in Opera Omnia [1898], 5:83-84).

VIII. The papists make a useless distinction between the canon of the Jews and that of Christians. For although our canon taken generally for all the books of the Old and New Testament (in which it adequately consists) is not equally admitted by the Jews, who reject the New Testament; yet if it is taken partially with reference to the Old Testament (in which sense we speak of it here), it is true that our canon does not differ from that of the Jews because they receive into the canon no other books than we do.

IX. When the fathers sometimes mention Deuterocanonical books, they do not mean such as are truly and in the same sense canonical as to faith, but only those which may be placed in the canon of reading on account of their usefulness for piety and edification.

X. The citation of any passage does not of itself prove a book to be canonical, for then Aratus, Menander and Epimenides (quoted by Paul in Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 15:33; Tit. 1:12) would be canonical. (2) The same passages which our adversaries bring forward as quotations from the Apocrypha are found in the canonical books, and the apostles would rather quote from these than from the former.

XI. If they are connected with canonical books, it does not follow that they are of equal authority, but only that they are useful in the formation of manners and a knowledge of history, not for establishing faith.

XII. Although some of the Apocryphal books are better and more correct than the others and contain various useful moral directions (as the book of Wisdom and the Son of Sirach), yet because they contain many other false and absurd things, they are deservedly excluded from the canon of faith.

XIII. Although some have questioned the authenticity of a few books of the New Testament (i.e., the epistle of James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Revelation, which afterwards were received by the church as canonical), it does not follow that the same can be done with the Apocryphal books because the relation of the books of the Old and New Testaments to this subject are not the same. For the books of the Old Testament were given to the Christian church, not at intervals of time and by parts, but she received at one and the same time from the Jews all the books belonging to her written in one codex after they had been stamped with an indubitable authority, confirmed by Christ and his apostles. But the books of the New Testament were published separately, in different times and places and gradually collected into one corpus. Hence it happened that some of the later books (which came to some of the churches more slowly, especially in remote places) were held in doubt by some until gradually their authenticity was made known to them. (2) Although in certain churches some of the epistles and Revelation were rejected, yet those who received them were always far more numerous than those who rejected them. Yet there was no dispute about the Apocryphal books because they were always rejected by the Jewish church.”


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