This is a response to Matt Slick the Founder of CARM about His criticisms of Christ’s Church in a series of criticisms of the Church that he is currently posting. Mr. Slick does not allow the copying of his entire article so I will take excerpts of his criticisms and refute his claims. For the purpose of this commentary Mr. Slick’s writing will be in italics and mine will be in bold. The name of this first article is:
The Apocrypha: Is it scripture?
“The Apocrypha consists of a set of books written between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ. The word "apocrypha" (απόκρυφα) means "Hidden."
It is interesting that Mr. Slick starts his criticism by redefining the Old Testament. Actually the use of the word “Apocryphal” is a pejorative word used by some Protestants to besmirch the Word of God referring to the books of the Old Testament not contained in the Jewish Canon of Jamnia of 90 AD that unified the Jewish opposition against Christianity. The correct respectful term for these books are the Deuterocanonicals, “Deutero” means late and “canonical” means inspired rule of faith.
“The Protestant Church rejects the apocrypha as being inspired, as do the Jews, but in 1546 the Roman Catholic Church officially declared some of the apocryphal books to belong to the canon of scripture.”
Let us deal first with what Mr. Slick said that is true which is that the Protestants rejected the original Canon of Scriptures which included the Deuterocanonicals but he fails to even attempt to tell us where the authority to change the Canon came from nor does he explain why the Protestants chose the Canon of the Pharisees after the establishment of the Church over the Old Testament Canon already in use by the Christian community. The early Church used the Septuagint which was the Canon in use by the Diaspora/Essene Jews. We know this because the Septuagint is the Bible used by the authors of the New Testament. They did not use the Pharisaical Canon approved by the Jews at Jamnia. You say that the Deuterocanonicals were not quoted in the New Testament as if that offers some support but the fact is that the Deuterocanonicals are part of the Septuagint that is quoted exclusively and not the Pharisaical Canon, the Canon of The Sadducees or of the Ethiopian Jews. You see until Jamnia the Jews used several different Canons according to their sect. The following is a link to quotes from the Septuagint in the New Testament:
So, this is evidence that the Septuagint was in use far before the claim of Mr. Slick that it came into existence in 1546 as a result of the Council of Trent. The fact is that the Council of Trent only confirmed in response to the Protestants the Bible that had been in use since the very beginning of the Church in 33AD. It has been said by critics of Christ’s Church that the Deuterocanonicals were never believed to be inspired and just the opposite is true. The decision by Christians as to which books are inspired and useful for teaching was decided at the African Synods in the late fourth and early fifth century. There was never a question about their inspiration. The list of Canon decided at the Synods were approved and made official by Pope St. Damasus. St. Augustine responded in His famous quote before the Synod “Rome has spoken”. You use Romans 3:1-2 as support for your opinion but fail to recognize that the evidence is that the Church used the Septuagint at that time exclusive to all other Jewish Canons in use at the time of his epistles. He could not have been speaking of the Pharisaical Canon of their greatest opposition. Such would have been sacrilege to the first century Church. Respectfully the argument you make about the order of the books is nonsense and does nothing to support your view as the use of the Septuagint by Jesus and the biblical authors of he New Testament clearly and unambiguously refute such a speculation.
“Jerome (340-420) who translated the Latin Vulgate which is used by the RC church, rejected the Apocrypha since he believed that the Jews recognized and established the proper canon of the Old Testament.”
Nonsense, Jerome treated the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture and included them in the Vulgate. His quote on canonicity referred to the fact that his congregation of the Church did not use them liturgically. Your fanciful summarization of St. Jerome’s thought on the Deuterocanonicals is false. Josephus was a Pharisee and followed their Canon. The link you provided as support for your claim that Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem and Athanasius did not support the Deuterocanonicals did not work, so I could not see why you make this claim
The writing in italics are taken from the CARM website where thy can be viewed in their entirety and are the writings of Matt Slick here: