Tag Archives: Scott J. Shifferd

COC #34: COC Perspicuity Proof: 1 John 1:1-4

• 1 John 1:1-4 reads:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete.

Though you deny it, St. John was Catholic; so even if this verse, in any way, could provide an argument for a self-authenticating canon, it is impossible for the passage to provide support for a canon that is not dependent on the Catholic Church. And one can read the passage as many times as she would like, but she would not find any support whatsoever for a self-authenticating canon. Professional Protestant Church of Christ anti-Catholic blogger and preacher Scott J. Shifferd indicatively explained how your group uses the passage.4 On his website, Shifferd chose a Bible version that translates the last sentence of the passage as These things we write to you (which is fine). He explained that St. John’s use of the words These things we write to you are understood by your group as an indication that all the apostolic writings are Scripture. Shifferd’s problem, of course, is that the passage communicates nothing of the sort. But the passage is not what is important to Shifferd or others who must argue against the Catholic Church’s construction of the Christian canon and for their theory of a self-authenticating canon. In other words, Shifferd and your apologists want the world to ignore the circular logic that your group promotes: that “the Bible says what the Bible is,” or, “St. John’s writings are inspired because St. John’s writings say they are inspired.” Should we not all, then, become Mormon? After all, the Book of Mormon actually claims inspiration for itself! But the Restorationist Mormons actually have a better argument than your Restorationist community, because 1 John 1:1-4 does not, in any way, claim that it is inspired or that any apostolic writing is inspired. 

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