Do we need some more books for the Bible? Why did we stop 2,000+ years ago (please don’t throw the “we can’t add or take away from this book” rebuttal because that actually was referring to the law of Moses and the book of Revelation)? I mean, didn’t the prophets and apostles of old speak or write to the issues at hand in their day and age? Just think, we could have a bible that carried with it a butt load of epistles (like 1,500 extra, maybe?).
Now I get it. There were church authorities and councils that have helped this process of canonization which is debatable on really what should be in or out . But, hey, we have it and in my opinion it is the most influential book (good or bad) in the history of human civilization . Even with that in place, there are still numerous amounts of writings through out the Christian tradition that has shaped the denominations that we see today.
From the Patristic fathers and mothers, to the Protestant reformers all the way to the Radical reformers. From Augustine of Hippo with his doctrine of original sin, all the way to Menno Simmons and his view on voluntary baptism. We can see that there are numerous voices which brought about many diverse beliefs and practices (hence the 40,000 denominations).
What if we inputted all those diverse views in the biblical cannon? How much different would Christianity look like? Well, obviously we could never know what affect adding to the biblical cannon would have had to Christianity as we see it today. But, we could always use our imagination right?
Let’s say we did add to the Bible every generation since the cannon was forged. What if we ended up having all the different expressions (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical, Main-line, Pentecostal, Non-denominational, liberal, conservative, etc.) that we see today but we all came to the table of grace with one goal: love God and man? In other words, what if by adding to the biblical cannon, it made us in the Christian faith realize that this has been the root of our tradition all along?! Just a “text in travail” with all of us just learning and growing to new heights of agape love?
Ironically, we really shouldn’t need to add to the biblical cannon to reassure that this is how the faith is lived out. We are already well equipped with all we need to help us through our journey as Christ participants in the kingdom of God. Jesus said: the Holy Spirit will teach us all things (John 14:26) not the “bible”. The Word of God is Jesus Christ who dwells in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17). Can we trust in this reality? Is this not some pretty freaken good news?
Let’s not hold onto the law of condemnation and a spirit that kills (2 Corinthians 3:6-9) but onto grace and truth through Christ that gives life. Law or Love? I think this is a crucial question for the church at this time with our current polarized political state…
“And for Christians, the gospel has always been the lens through which Israel’s stories are read—which means, for Christians, Jesus, not the Bible, has the final word. The story of God’s people has moved on, and so must we.”