Saturday, August 10, 2013

RE: Why the Apocrypha Does not Belong in the Bible


Forgive how late this is being posted: something came up I had to take care of the day before, but to make up for it, my next CARM refutation will come a day early, and how appropriate that it will be on the Assumption of Our Lady. As usual, the article in question is in black with my refutations in red:

Catholics and Protestants disagree regarding the exact number of books that belong in the Old Testament Scriptures.  The dispute between them is over seven books, part of what is known as the Apocrypha: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon), Baruch, Tobit, Judith, and additions to Daniel and Esther.
[Overall true, but here’s my question: how come this one got the different parts right but the article in the previous post got it wrong? Did no one proofread it? I admit that’s a stupid question, as the following will show.]
 However, there are a number of reasons why the Old Testament Apocrypha should not be part of the Canon, or standard writings of Scripture.
[Several hundred years of Christianity disagree with CARM on this, as you will soon see.]
Rejection by Jesus and the Apostles
1.    There are no clear, definite New Testament quotations from the Apocrypha by Jesus or the apostles.  While there may be various allusions by the New Testament to the Apocrypha, there are no authoritative statements like "thus says the Lord," "as it is written," or "the Scriptures say."

[There are so many errors with that statement, I don’t know where to begin, so instead, I will refer people to the following link:]

  There are references in the New Testament to the pseudepigrapha (literally “false writings”) (Jude 14-15) and even citations from pagan sources (Acts 17:22-34), but none of these are cited as Scripture and are rejected even by Roman Catholics. 
[Yet that doesn’t change the fact Jude and Acts are both part of the Canon; unless CARM wants to admit the sources used in those parts are not the word of God, then they have nothing.]
 In contrast, the New Testament writers cite the Old Testament numerous times (Mt. 5; Lk. 24:27; Jn. 10:35) and use phrases such as "thus says the Lord," "as it is written," or "the Scriptures say," indicating their approval of these books as inspired by God.
[Again,  I refer people to this link to show that’s not the case at all:]

2.  Jesus implicitly rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture by referring to the entire accepted Jewish Canon of Scripture, “From the blood of Abel [Gen. 4:8] to the blood of Zechariah [2 Chron. 24:20], who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation (Lk. 11:51; cf. Mt. 23:35).”
[That’s not what Jesus was talking about at all. In the first, He’s talking about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees; in the second, He’s telling His followers to not be like the Pharisees. I would love to know how CARM reached their conclusion because there is not one---NOT ONE---biblical scholar who would agree with their conclusion.]
Rejection by the Jewish Community
3.    The "oracles of God" were given to the Jews (Rom. 3:2) and they rejected the Old Testament Apocrypha as part of this inspired revelation.  Interestingly, Jesus had many disputes with the Jews, but He never disputed with them regarding the extent of the inspired revelation of God.

[Notice how CARM never reveals why Jews at that time rejected the books to begin with? The reason was because they couldn’t find any proof the books were ever written in Hebrew. Never mind the fact at the time they were written, most Jews didn’t speak or know Hebrew anyway but once they did, they wanted to get rid of anything with Gentile ties and sadly the books got caught in the middle.]

4.    The Dead Sea scrolls provide no commentary on the Apocrypha, but do provide commentary on some of the Jewish Old Testament books.  This probably indicates that the Jewish Essene community did not regard them as highly as the Jewish Old Testament books.
[Perhaps but that doesn’t mean the books can’t be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Overall though, I don’t see what CARM is trying to get at with this. If it’s saying that only books found in the Dead Sea Scrolls should be considered canon, then it has to accept Tobit and Sirach as inspired. But if it’s saying we shouldn’t accept books if they are not found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, then it would have to throw out ¾ of the Bible.]
5.    Many ancient Jews rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture.  Philo never quoted the Apocrypha as Scripture.  Josephus explicitly rejected the Apocrypha and listed the Hebrew Canon to be 22 books. In fact, the Jewish Community acknowledged that the prophetic gifts had ceased in Israel before the Apocrypha was written.

[So what? They also rejected Jesus as the foretold Messiah. And does CARM really agree with Josephus that only 22 books in the OT are inspired?]
Rejection by many in the Catholic Church
6.    The Catholic Church has not always accepted the Apocrypha.  The Apocrypha was not officially accepted by the Catholic Church at a universal council until 1546 at the Council of Trent.  This is over a millennium and a half after the books were written, and was a counter reaction to the Protestant Reformation.

[Nope. Wrong. They were accepted as canon in 327. ]

7.    Many church Fathers rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture, and many just used them for devotional purposes.  For example, Jerome, the great Biblical scholar and translator of the Latin Vulgate, rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture though, supposedly under pressure, he did make a hurried translation of it.  In fact, most of the church fathers in the first four centuries of the Church rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture.  Along with Jerome, names include Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Athanasius.

[Historically inaccurate and misleading. I refer people to this link:]

8.    The Apocryphal books were placed in Bibles before the Council of Trent and after, but were placed in a separate section because they were not of equal authority.  The Apocrypha rightfully has some devotional purposes, but it is not inspired.

[Where books are placed has NOTHING to do with whether they are inspired. I thought CARM knew better than that.]
False Teachings
9.  The Apocrypha contains a number of false teachings (see: Errors in the Apocrypha).  (To check the following references, see
   The command to use magic (Tobit 6:5-7).
   Forgiveness of sins by almsgiving (Tobit 4:11; 12:9).
   Offering of money for the sins of the dead (2 Maccabees 12:43-45).

[Here’s a link to my other post showing how this notion is wrong: ]
Not Prophetic
10.The Apocryphal books do not share many of the chararacteristics of the Canonical books: they are not prophetic, there is no supernatural confirmation of any of the apocryphal writers works, there is no predictive prophecy, there is no new Messianic truth revealed, they are not cited as authoritative by any prophetic book written after them, and they even acknowledge that there were no prophets in Israel at their time (cf. 1 Macc. 9:27; 14:41).
[CARM is just shooting itself in the foot right and left with this one. Not prophetic? The historical books of the OT don’t contain any prophecies. What are they even talking about when they say “supernatural confirmation of any of the apocryphal writers works”? By that logic, nothing Jesus said should be believed because He never wrote any of His teachings down. No predictive prophecy? Again, I refer people to this link:
No messianic truth revealed? See link above.
Not cited as authoritative by any books after them? Again, see link above.
No prophets? The first verse doesn’t even say that and verse two takes place AFTER the war was already over. Neither of them prove much of anything.]

There you go...CARM fails again

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