|Mercy Street Church of Christ
When in the fourth century the church came finally to
settle which books should be included in the New Testament
canon and which excluded, the test they applied was whether
a book came from the apostles. That is, was it written by
an apostle? If not, did it nevertheless emanate from the
circle of the apostles and carry the endorsement of their
authority? It is important to add this, for not every New
Testament book was written by an apostle. But it seems to
have been recognized that if a non-apostolic document
nevertheless carried a kind of apostolic imprimatur, it
should be recognized as 'apostolic'. For example, Luke was
known to have been a regular companion and colleague of
Paul, and Mark was described by the early church fathers
Papias and Irenaeus as 'the interpreter of Peter' who
faithfully recorded Peter's memories of Christ and the
substance of his preaching. Thus, the church was in no
sense conferring authority on the canonical books; it was
simply recognizing the authority they already possessed.
grace and peace to you,
For Mercy Street Ministries, I'm Stan Baldwin.
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