Forum 1 Discussion

You must answer 2 sections of the questions below. Support your answers with the information found in your textbooks, but also feel free to use critical outside sources to add to the conversation as needed. Cite all sources using current Turabian format. Restate the questions to which you are responding at the beginning of each thread. Post a single thread; do not post a separate thread for each section of questions. Then reply to the threads of 2 different classmates by Sunday evening. Do not duplicate your replies to different classmates; each reply must be original to the specific thread of the student with whom you are interacting.

  1. Give a definition of the word “canon” and describe the basic criteria and time-line of the formation of the New Testament canon. Why did early Christians feel a need to establish an authoritative list of Scripture? What element in the criteria is most important in your opinion? Which element is least important in your opinion? Be sure to give reasons why you chose these particular elements. How would you respond to a person who claimed that the canon of the Bible should still be open?
  2. What is the traditional evangelical position regarding the canon? Describe some recent developments in scholarship on the NT canon and offer a short critique. What was the status of the OT canon in the first century according to Sundberg? Which NT books were slow to be universally received? Which book on that list is a surprise to you? Why?
  3. List and compare the beliefs and origins of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. Describe which parts of these groups’ beliefs you agree with and which parts you disagree with. Give your reasons for agreement or disagreement. Which party controlled the Temple and was apparently on better terms with the Romans? Which group had a majority in the Sanhedrin?
  4. List the reasons why some scholars claim that the Synoptic Gospels and John’s Gospel stand in irreconcilable conflict. List the reasons why some scholars see them as complementary instead of in conflict. How would you explain the relationship among the Gospels to someone who was not familiar with the Bible? Which Gospel do you think offers the best overview of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Why?
  5. What are the three major points of integration that provide cohesion to the theology of the NT? What convictions did these three points produce among the early Christians? How would you present these three points to a person unfamiliar with Christian doctrine? How should church leaders incorporate these points into the ministry of the church?

Your thread is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday of Module/Week 1. Your replies are due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of the same module/week.

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