Have you ever met a member of the Jesus Seminar, or someone who has read and believes apocryphal texts, that said, “The Gospel of Thomas is my favorite of the five Gospels.” How do you argue for a closed canon?
There are still those who claim that the New Testament canon is still open. Others believe that the New Testament canon includes more than 27 books. There were additional writings circulating after Christ’s death, however, the New Testament canon is closed.
The most important factor used to determine the canonicity of a book is inspiration. In order to determine the inspiration of a book, early church leaders used three criteria: orthodoxy, apostolicity, and universality. It took writings a long time to circulate throughout the ancient world. Scribes would have to travel to write copies of the books and bring them back to their city. Through this process, there were many copies of these books throughout the ancient world. The church had already widely accepted a number of books prior to the official closing of the canon. Books such as the Gospel of Thomas did not ‘make the cut’. The Gospel of Thomas, for example, was not ‘discovered’ until 1945.
In the case of the Gospel of Thomas, the book does not present Jesus as the Messiah. Instead of a narrative detailing the life and work of Jesus, the Gospel of Thomas is a collection of sayings. Many of the verses in the Gospel of Thomas, such as verse 114, which says that a woman must become male to enter the kingdom of heaven, make no sense. Jesus is presented as a sage rather than the Messiah. Thus, it would not have, and does not, pass the tests of orthodoxy, apostolicity and universality. Those who compare the writings of the sub-apostolic period and the New Testament Apocrypha will see clearly that the canonical writings reflect a different quality in their content from the excluded writings. I believe that God has closed the New Testament canon.
I have heard preachers used Jude 1:3 as a defense for a closed canon. It says, ““Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” What do you think?