Question:

Note: The points made and my responses are interspersed. 

About the Q & A http://www.evidenceforchristianity.org/index.php?option=com_custom_content&t ask=view&id=5162 This answer is so full of errors and/or misleading lies I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll just throw out some of the whoppers. First of all, your quotes from "Wisdom" are not from Wisdom, but from Sirach. As for the material being "questionable", I find your wisdom questionable, so I wouldn’t suggest anyone take your word for it.

Response:

In the article you are talking about, I quote from both Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, and accurately designate which is which, so I am not sure what the problem is that you are talking about. As for my comments, I am clearly expressing an opinion. Actually, I find a lot of really wonderful wisdom in Sirach. When I have taught about the book, I have made a habit of showing Christians some of the really wise sayings in this book. I am sure the author of this book is a much greater source of wisdom than I am. However, I do not believe that this book is inspired.

Comment: 

You say that "it is surely significant that Jesus and the apostles did not use these books". Several things Jesus said agree completely with Sirach (28:2, 11:19, 29:11) and Wisdom (9:16, 3:1). They aren’t exact quotes, but the same lessons are there. Paul seemed to be influenced by Wisdom in particular. However, by your metric, since Jesus didn’t quote from Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, or the Song of Solomon, that we can conclude that it’s "inescapable" that these books as well are "to be of much lesser quality".

Response: 

Of course, several things Jesus said are in agreement with Sirach. First of all, many of these things are truisms, found in many authors. Second, we can assume that Jesus was aware of the book. Jews generally considered this book to be a source of wisdom. I would assume that Jesus agreed with them that there is much wisdom in this book. I will have to take your word for it that Paul’s writings include wisdom in common with Wisdom. The point is that Jesus does not quote the book authoritatively because (in my opinion, of course, but I believe it is a legitimate point of view), he did not consider it authoritative in the sense of being "inspired by God." Jesus quoted Isaiah, Jeremiah, Psalms, Genesis and so forth, but never–not even once–quoted from what is sometimes known as the Old Tesetament Apocrypha. This surely is not a coincidence. Jesus quoted from nearly every OT book (though not all of them, as you point out), but not from a single one of the Apocrypha. This speaks to the body of work, not to a single book. I will stand by my statement here that "surely this is significant."

Comment: 

You say "In the end, by faith, I trust God’s wisdom and his sovereign will to determine what ended up in the accepted Christian scripture." First of all, which "Christian scripture" are you referring to? I assume you mean "Protestant scripture" as Catholic and Orthodox scriptures do include these. Secondly, if this statement is true then that means He must have changed His mind (or even worse, have duality of mind), since these books were included in (Protestant) scripture until the 1800’s. Does that sound like something that God would do? Would He have men keep false books filled with false doctrine (by your reckoning) in the scriptures for 1800 years, then suddenly drop them (but only from Protestant scripture)? This sounds a lot more like the work of men to me. Your faith has been put in men, not God. It has been misplaced.

Response:

 The Christian scripture I am referring to is the Old Testament, as accepted by the Jews, and the New Tesatament as accepted by the church fathers in the second century. I am not offended if Catholics and Orthodox read the apocrypha, but the fact is that the Jews have unanimously rejected these books as not part of their canon. I agree that these books were accepted into the Protestant scriptures until the 1700s (not 1800s, but that is a very minor point). I believe that this was a mistake. Jerome, the greatest expert on the question in the early church, denied that these were inspired, for good reasons which he shared with his colleagues. They were not of the same quality, first of all, and second, he recognized that they were not in Hebrew. He included these books in his Vulgate translation under protest. In any case, because the Jews reject these books and because the Jews selected the Old Testament, and because there is no evidence that Jesus and the apostles considered them authoritative, I believe the best evidence says they are not part of the canon of the Old Testament. If you think differently, that, or course, is your right and priveledge to do so. God uses human beings and human beings make mistakes. I believe that in this case, human beings (specifically, Christians in the third and fourth centuries who began to use the OT apocrypha as authoritative) made a mistake, and that the evidence supports this claim.

Comment: 

Possibly the most laughable lie in all of this, however, is your final statement: "In the end, I believe that, like Paul told Timothy, the scripture we have is ‘sufficient for every good work.’ (2 Tim 3:16)." Surely you bothered to read that entire verse. I’m sure you know what it really says… you omitted an important part of it on purpose, after all. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness". ALL SCRIPTURE. When 2 Timothy was written, ALL SCRIPTURE included the apocrypha. Your entire article is severely misguided at best, and a lie from Satan at worst. Who are you to take "God-breathed" scripture and call it "questionable material" and "bad doctrine"? Is 2 Timothy right, or are you right? "I believe it is possible that the book is what I will call sub-inspired." And who are you, again?

Response: 

I did not omit anything "on purpose to make a laughable lie." At the time Paul wrote to Timothy, the Old Testament Apocrypha was NOT considered part of the canon of the Old Testament. ALL SCRIPTURE did not include 2 Macabbees. You are simply wrong about this in my opinion. I know this because: 1. Christians in the first century did not use it, at least as an authoritative source. 2. The Jews–the arbitrers of such things, as far as I see it, did not at that time and still do not now consider Tobit, Wisdom of Sirach, 1 and 2 Macabbees and so forth part of the Old Testament canon. This is the plain truth. I am just a person, with an opinion, based on the evidence. If you do not agree, I am content with that. Either way, I believe these books are useful for reading. The Jews themselves read these books and found them useful, but they did not consider them inspired. I agree with them.

Respectfully, John Oakes 

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