The Apocrypha is not Scripture – Main Introduction
By Dr. C. Matthew McMahon, et. al.
The Apocrypha is easily provable to be inconsistent with itself, and contradictory to the Holy Scriptures. In this short series or articles, I am simply being a parrot after which so many have often done in the past, especially the most notable puritan divines of old – in which their treatises still await some able rebuttal still unknown and unwritten. These treatises of old have gone unanswered even by such Roman champions as Bellarmine.
I desire to lay down my outline and a comment concerning it. I hope to show in a meager and basic fashion why I believe, and will prove by both Roman Catholic and Protestant sources, that the Apocrypha is not, never was, and cannot be inspired of God, nor accepted as on the same and equal authority as the divine Scriptures, not even by the Roman Catholic Church – and I will show that the Roman Catholic Church believes this to be so. However, before presenting my outline, I would like to give one particular comment concerning the importance of the subject. Since now God has spoken through His Son in these last days, the danger of adding or subtracting to the Scriptures entails the eternal condemnation of God upon a soul. If the Roman Catholics be right, then the Protestants are all damned for taking away the Scriptures. If the Protestants are right, the all the Roman Catholics are damned for adding to the Scriptures. In either case, whoever is right, the other is necessarily damned since they overthrow the office of Christ as Prophet – He alone who has the right to teach His church the truth. It is a very grave and sober subject I am dealing with. Though it is not WW III, it may as well be since the eternal plight of never-dying souls are at stake depending on where we land concerning the addition or subtraction of the Apocrypha to the canon of God’s revealed, or perceptive will, to man. Even if some were to disagree with my view in the above paragraph, the Scriptures abound with warnings and exhortations not to take away nor add to the revelation of God, which is only allowable by those who are prophets of God – The Son being the Prophet, Priest King sent by God for all time; which will be the view I hold most earnestly, He being the foundation on which I stand.
I do not desire not to overwhelm the inquirer with great amounts of reading, nor overwhelm myself with great amounts of writing on this subject. There are far better treatments of this topic by much abler men than I, and if my simpleton arguments are not enough to convince, I will direct you to them for a more complete look at the topic. My arguments will attempt to be as concise as possible and it may require your own reflection to fill in those gaps necessary to understand certain flows of thought. Otherwise, the few one or two pages I have written here could easily be turned into hundreds of pages of quotes, citations and the like (though I will add some.)
There are a variety of sources which I have consulted, and a most of the early fathers which I have read personally. Though it is expected that bibliographic notations accompany a work like this, I thought it would be easier for those Roman readers to simply deal with the arguments themselves instead of lengthy footnotes. At any time I welcome those emails that desire the bibliographic sources for the ensuing discourse, and will provide a hearty book list if occasion warrants.
I will be guided by the following outline:
1) Many heretics have often perverted the acceptance or rejection of certain Biblical books (such as the Sadducees (who only accepted the Pentateuch), The Manichees, Saturninus and Cerdonians (rejected the whole OT), Marcion (who only held only to some NT books), the Albigenses (condemning the resurrection of the flesh and the OT), the Ptolemaens (who condemned the Pentateuch), The Nicolations and Gnostics (who ejected the book of Psalms), the Valentinians (who rejected the Gospel of John – which many RC’s charge Luther with which is ridiculous), The Ebionites (who received only Matthew, and rejected Paul as an apostate), the Severians (who rejected Acts), the Marcionites (who rejected the Pastoral epistles, and Hebrews), and others not needing mention) I will by pass wearying you of the plight of these heretics. However, this is an important note. Adding or subtracting to the Biblical record condemns the souls, and overthrows the authority of the Scriptures. Augustine said “If any, even the smallest lie be admitted in the Scriptures, the whole authority of Scripture is presently invalidated and destroyed.” [Epistle xix. Tom. II. P. 14] I agree. I hope you, the reader, do as well. And here we will immediately find the apocryphal to fail miserably. This first point is simply a note.
2) Wherein the argument for accepting the Apocrypha as canonical in the strict sense is composed by the Roman Church, and what councils, if any notable, are those who accept or reject the Apocrypha, showing the authority of the books, or their deniability.
3) The claims made of the apocrypha, especially seen in light of the RC (Roman Catholic) theologians, councils and popes who prove them to be uncannonical, but at best, used in the edification of the saint, though not for the binding of the Christian faith. And distinguishing between the senses of canonicity. Ultimately to prove that they are deemed, even by the RCC as not inspired though they may be helpful with a discerning eye, as any good book may be.
4) To show that the apocryphal books were not written by prophets, and only prophets are the admissible spokesmen for God.
5) To show that councils, fathers, and other early writers testify to the apocrypha as not canon for faith, though they deem them as moral aids, as any other good book.
6) The Apocryphal books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and the 2 books of Maccabees will be examined for consistency and truth; as well as the additions to Daniel and Esther, with Baruch.
7) Then to show the inconsistency of Rome in accepting some apocryphal books, even against their own council’s testimony, and the unlawful and unwarranted rejection of other apocryphal books which they do indeed reject. (Esdras, 3 Maccabees, etc.)
These would obviously lead us into a discussion on authority, interpretation, perspicuity, questions on translation, the vulgate and the like. For once the apocryphal books are proven to be noncanonical in the strict sense, the authority and reliability of the RCC church falls to the ground. In light of this, it is a most serious and grave subject for all those who hold the RCC as the true church.