Are the Apochryphal Books Relevant? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

One of the more contentious issues in Christendom is official recognition of the canonized Books of the Bible. Does anyone use the Apochryphal writings in developing your individual spiritual and theological focus? I happen to find the Books of Susannah, Psalm 151, Judith, I & II Maccabeeas and the Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Nicodemus theologically sound and of enormous spiritual value for both salvation history and redemption. Are we as Protestants guilty of restricting God's Grace through our uncritical acceptance of current canonical "policy"? QED

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2001


With regard to New Testament Apocrypha, the gospels you mention speak of Jesus operating in a divine way as a child (playing with clay and breathing life into birds, etc.) From the perspective of "setting aside godhood" to beocome man that He might show us the way, some may take issue with theological appropriateness. Note that the power Jesus operated in after his baptism and during his public ministry was the power he intended for all believers in him, all his disciples.

Sorry, Jessica, but sometimes it's hard for me not to answer a question. :-)

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2001

Brother Bill,

I especailly like the Book of Thomas.

"Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.

The Gospel of Thomas

Thanks for asking this question...this situation puzzles me as well.

In Love and Light,

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2001

Since this is an "open forum" and all opinions are to be respected, even if disagreements arise, I respond to brother Bill Dickens'post regarding the Apocrypha. Personally, I do not use it in any way as a focus for my spiritual direction. My reply is given in the spirit of the words of 1 Peter 3:15, to "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear"; "And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that opposes themselves..." (2 Tim 2:24, 24a) While the Apocryphal writings have inspired persons to be creative in works of literature, music and art, I personally find nothing in it comparable to the words of the New Testament that can illumine the darkness of the human heafrt to reveal one's need of redemption in Christ, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of Godin the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4:6) As to the "restriction" of God's grace, God's grace can NEVER be restricted by anything that mankind does brother Bill, except perhaps, to reject God's universal, inclusive offer of salvation for the sins of the world through his Son Jesus Christ. Yet, even then the Word of God tells me that ". . . he is able to save them to the UTTERMOST that come unto God by Him (Jesus Christ), seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25)

Peace, Harold Turner, Pastor Zion AME Church, Delaware, Ohio

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2001

Rev. Turner,

Thanks for the homework assignment. The Scriptural references you provide are invaluable. I believe unequivocally that the foundation for all Christian apologetics is found in I Peter. Now it is noteworthy that you include the literary value of some of the apocryphal writings. Would the same argument hold true for say, "Song of Solomon" or Esther both books which rarely if ever mention Yawheh's name yet are included in the canon? Correct me if I'm wrong but is it not true that the esteemed Martin Luther was bitterly opposed to the Epistle of James as inclusion in the N.T. canon because of the author's thesis which gives works equal theological weight with faith? QED

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2001

Brother Bill Dickens: Thanks for your post. Your erudition as a "thinker" is stimulating and challenging for me. I have read something in the past about the significance of Yahweh's name not being mentioned in either Esther or Song of Soloman. It's been a while. I must re-read those books and re-research that odditty. And yes, Martin Luther called the book of James, I believe, "An Epistle of Straw." (another oddity for research) Martin Luther, the catalyst that sparked the Reformation was also "anti-semitic" in his theological views. If he ever changed those views I don't know. One of the Internet articles on him says that "he was not a person you would want to have dinner with; he was temperamental, peevish, egomaniacal, and argumentative." Just goes to show you how God can use anybody, regardless of temperament, ethnicity, gender or whatever "Our God", as Tony Evans says, " IS AN AWSOME GOD."


-- Anonymous, January 26, 2001

May I suggest that even works of pure fiction gives us insight to the times and human conditions present at the time of authorship, making such works useful in understanding the written Word of God. This is not to suggest that the Apochryphal Books are "pure fiction" but when reading it is easy to see the humanity in them. Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2001

Greeting all, I have not made a posting in the past few months but I wanted to comment on this discussion. It is fantastic because when you look at what books were included in the canon and those that were excluded because of their basis or relevance. Revelation was the last to be included because there was a debate in regard to it. I find that the Apochryphal books have something to offer in regard to the Old Testament as well as the new. All scripture is inspired by God and it al;l has a relevance to Kingdom building. A further study of the canon and the debates that took place at the time will reveal there is more than meets the eye.

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2001

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