9. What was established by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage in the very late 4th century?
a. the Trinity
the Bible Alone doctrine
c. which books were Scripture, and which were not
(As Catholics will often say, the fact that the Bible itself does not contain a listing of which books are Scripture negates the Bible Alone belief, since we must rely ENTIRELY on something outside the Bible to discern this Christian truth)
As explained by Henry Graham, the Council of Carthage, held in 397 A.D., mainly through the influence of Augustine, settled the canon or collection of New Testament Scriptures as Catholics have them now and decreed that its decision should be sent on to Rome for confirmation. No council (that is, no gathering of the bishops of the Catholic Church for the settlement of some point of doctrine) was ever considered to be authoritative or binding unless it was approved and confirmed by the Roman pontiff, while the decisions of every general council that has received the approval of Rome are binding on the consciences of all Catholics. The Council of Carthage, then, is the first known to us in which we find a clear and undisputed catalogue of all the New Testament books as we have them in Bibles now. (Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church p.17-18, by Henry Graham) (emphasis claire's)
Because Catholics have an assurance that their Church could not err in official matters of doctrine and morals, Catholics therefore have an assurance that the Bible used by Christians is made up of the books God intended for it. For it would be impossible for any individual to go through the hundreds of writings by each of the apostles and determine by ourselves which ones were inspired and which ones were not. Only a Church led into all truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13) could determine that.
Because the Holy Bible does not contain a list of all the books that should be included in the Bible, (thus requiring Christians to look outside the Bible to gain this knowledge so important to salvation) Catholics cannot accept the logic of Bible Alone theology. We believe the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15). We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
Graham goes on to say: It is true that many Fathers, Doctors and writers of the Church in the first three centuries from time to time mention by name many of the various Gospels and epistles, and some, as we come nearer 397, even refer to a collection already existing in place. For example, we find Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, after the Council of Nicaea applying to Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, and a great scholar, to provide fifty copies of the Christian Scriptures for public use in the churches of Constantinople, his new capital. This was in AD 332. The contents of these copies are known to us, perhaps (according to some, even probably) one of these very copies of Eusebiuss handiwork has come down to us; but they are not precisely the same as our New Testament, though very nearly so.
Again, we find lists of the books of the New Testament drawn up by Athanasius, Jerome, Augustine, and many other great authorities, as witnessing to what was generally acknowledged as inspired Scripture in their day and generation and country, but I REPEAT THAT NONE OF THESE CORRESPONDS PERFECTLY TO THE COLLECTION IN THE BIBLE THAT WE POSSESS NOW; WE MUST WAIT TILL 397 FOR THE COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE BEFORE WE FIND THE COMPLETE COLLECTION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS SETTLED AS WE HAVE IT TODAY AND AS ALL CHRISTENDOM HAD IT TILL THE 16TH CENTURY, WHEN REFORMERS CHANGED IT.
Later in the book, Graham explains how unintentional and intentional changes were made to Protestant translations/versions of the Bible, and how the Lutherans added the word alone to Pauls words in the Bible.
Indeed the books we know as the New Testament were canonized not so much for devotional reading which was rare in those days before the printing press but for proclamation in Mass. The controversy over which books should be included in the Bible was, to a certain extent, a running argument over which books could be read during the Mass. For, as St. Justin Martyr said in 155, one of the principal parts of the Mass was the reading of the memoirs of the apostles. [Aquilina, Mike: The Mass of the Early Christians}
http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/deutero.html (Why do Protestants not have 7 books of the Old Testament?)
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