11 Nov 2014 03:53 AM PST
by Dan Phillips
I’ve remarked in the past that it often seems as if bad doctrines (and problematic denominations/cults) have all the best names, while orthodoxy gets stuck with negative terms. More than once, I’ve tried to spur a search for more positive terminology…with varying degrees of success. I’ve also tried to find less gauzy, more realistic descriptors for bad doctrine.
Well sir, well ma’am, I’m back with another.
We’re wont to talk about the closed Canon. By that we mean a great thing: we mean that the millennia-long process of revelation has reached its climax (Heb. 1:1-2), and no fresh revelation is being imparted.
It’s a wonderfully robust truth. But the term is negative. It just says closed. No more. It doesn’t mean that the process was successful or satisfactory; just that you aren’t getting any more. Closed. You’ve gone to the pharmacy to get some medicine for your flu… but it’s closed. You wanted to take your honey to your favorite restaurant… but it’s closed.
See? Closed. Disappointing, dissatisfying. Final, yes; but not happy. Not gladsome connotations.
So what if in stead of “closed” we spoke of the…
“Full,” as in “No, thanks, really, I’m stuffed. Not another bite!” As in “Everything I could possibly need.” As in “Replete, well-stocked, abundantly furnished, neither room nor need for one bit more.” Full.
Doesn’t that describe the situation better and more truly both connotatively and denotatively? It isn’t that the last apostle had a bunch he needed to say, but just expired before he could, and now the doors are closed. It isn’t as if it’s an inadequate product, but it’s the one we’ve got, so we’ve got to make-do.
It’s that God has given us everything for which we need a word from God. It’s bursting with His wisdom, His mind, His heart, His direction, His instruction. It has more in it than we will ever be able to take in, process, savor, and put into practice! It has enough to make us wise to salvation (2 Tim.3:15), and fully to equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17)! It’s full!
Which then correctly depicts the sort of person who’d try to come up with some sort of lame supplement in the light he deserves: foolish, futile, ignorant, and in the final analysis of-little-faith.
So I submit that for your mulling-over and discussion. What if we began speaking of the “full Canon” instead of the “closed Canon”? Would the newer phrase say all the older one did even better, and say more besides?