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Canon and Catholicism

Why We Don't Have the Apocrypha in Our Bibles

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Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to bring Roman Catholics and Protestants together under the mutual banner of Christianity. In 1970, a book was published titled Growing into Union: Proposals for Forming a United Church in England, which sought to unite Anglican evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics. In 1994, another attempt was made to bring Roman Catholics and Protestants together by publishing a 25-page document titled Evangelicals and Catholics Together: the Christian Mission in the Third Millennium. Despite these attempts, however, we remain separated due to several fundamental differences. Our views on justification, church government, the priesthood, and even our Bibles are different. And it would seem that before we can move on to our great theological differences, we could at least start with our Bibles. The Roman Catholic Bible contains several additions, called the Apocrypha, which our Bibles do not contain. So as we consider this, the question must be asked: Why don't we have the Apocrypha in our Bibles?

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1 [ Back ] Paul Wegner, The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1999), 120-21.
2 [ Back ] These books include: 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, additions to the book of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Prayer of Azariah, the Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.
3 [ Back ] Edward Unmack, "Why We Reject the Apocrypha," Evangelical Quarterly 1.4 (1929): 364.
4 [ Back ] Neil Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1972), 92.
5 [ Back ] Wegner, 107.
6 [ Back ] F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press Academic, 1988), 108.
7 [ Back ] Bruce, 109.
8 [ Back ] Bruce, 102.

Leon Brown (B.A. in Communication Studies, University of San Diego) currently attends Westminster Seminary California and plans to pastor a local congregation. He is a requested conference speaker, experienced evangelist, and itinerant preacher. He is the founder of the Evangelism Team ministry and has published in Christian Renewal magazine.

Issue: "Canon Formation" May/June 2010 Vol. 19 No. 3 Page number(s): 16-17

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