Following up yesterday’s post, reader David commented,
If there has been no personal indwelling of the Spirit directing and guiding Christians since the death of the apostles then, the New Testament is highly suspect. Early churchmen collected, sifted, and sorted through hundreds of writings for three hundred years or so to finally settle on the canon of Scriptures we have today. Some of the writing of the NT were never doubted, but some were. There is no good reason to accept the complete NT we have today as the word of God except by faith in the Holy Spirit’s guidance of men of the church. Deny the personal indwelling of the Spirit in Christians, you undercut faith in the Bible as God’s word.
I thought this was an excellent point. I added,
You reminded me that in high school we had a Bible class at church on the canon. We were taught that “inspiration” worked at multiple levels —
* The writing of the text.
* The preservation of a reliable text for thousands of years.
* The selection of the correct books to be considered inspired.
* The reading of the text.
And it occurred to me that only the first bullet happened in the First Century. Therefore, the Spirit has been active after the first generation. Therefore, it’s just a question of discovering what activity the Spirit has been engaged in — but not whether the Spirit has been active.
You can argue over the details, but if you push back to the point of saying there’s been no activity of the Spirit on Christians after the writing of the text, then you are exactly right. Why should we have any confidence in the preservation of the correct text? The canon? Our ability to read and interpret?