Catholic Struggles with the Origin of Christian Scriptures

A Catholic “teacher for his parish’s RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program” claiming to have his education from Harding University had a site opposing the churches of Christ. I was hoping the author, Patrick Vandapool, of his site titled, “Church of Christ [Mis]Information” [which no longer exists], would consider the answer for which he says he was looking.

Patrick had initiated discussion and emailed me asking for my opinion concerning books to refer to for the churches of Christ. After I answered his article “The CoC’s Non-Answer Regarding Bible Origins” that the churches of Christ do address this subject as seen in this article, Patrick did not care for my answer. Patrick claims to have been once among the churches of Christ, and yet he is not familiar with the church or what books to refer to concerning our beliefs. Instead of a loving Christian spirit that challenges others to follow Christ, he continued to respond with a smug pretentious attitude while cowardly removing comments from me that he could not respond. He can remove my comments if he wants, and I will post the comment that he wanted to hide here at the end of this article. However, in all of this, I think this interaction will certainly show the Truth of the Gospel and a dishonest attitude that Christians must avoid.

So, what bothered Patrick so much? Patrick claims that churches of Christ did not have the answer for who collected the Bible. Here is my first brief response to his article about churches of Christ not addressing Bible origins,

We do address this subject. The Bible was collected under the oversight of the Apostles in the first century as shown in the New Testament itself ([Luke 1:1–3; 1 John 1:1–4; 2 Pet 1:16–21; 3:15-16]). Second Timothy 3:16 is referring to New Testament scripture as seen by Paul’s reference to Luke 10:7 and Deuteronomy 25:4 being “Scripture” in 1 Timothy 5:18.

How is it in the first century before the completion of the New Testament collection did John, Peter, Luke, and Paul refer to their writings as scripture guided by the Spirit?

I cannot tell if Patrick was confused, but he conveniently replied with scoffing to a similar note not addressed to him. Therefore, he decided to write a post, titled “I’m Converting to Protestantism,” declaring,

I have no choice.  A slam-dunk argument was put forth on my other blog by a “Church of Christ” member (which is OBVIOUSLY the Church Christ built–just look at that name!). CLEARLY, the Catholic Church had no involvement in the creation of the Bible, so I guess I’ll be leaving.  I’ll be praying for all of you; bless your deceived little hearts.

Before his belittling responses came to my attention, Patrick also emailed me a general kind request for books that I would recommend people reading to understand the churches of Christ. I wrote,

First, I’d recommend the Bible especially formed by the Apostles for the Church of Christ. The authority for one’s faith is key here. For me, it must start with the words of Christ, which leads me to His Spirit speaking though His Apostles and prophets.

  • Everett Ferguson’s “The Church of Christ: An Ecclesiology for Today.” I find all of Dr. Ferguson’s works scholarly and well received.
  • Lipscomb’s Q & A and Guy Woods’ Q & A.
  • Edward Wharton’s “The Church of Christ” too.

May God bless you in the study of His Word.


He later responded with mockery. I guess he did not like me stressing the origin of the Bible again.

I think what agitated him more was that he just started this site and was facing a retraction. Instead, he removed a simple note I sent to him when he twisted Matthew 1:25 to suggest that Joseph never knew Mary intimately in his article, “Doesn’t Matthew 1:25 Prove That Mary and Joseph had Sex?” If you are going to attack the churches of Christ, which he does in the article, then you should diligently prepare your thoughts. In his article, he suggested that the word translated “until” implied continuance as though Joseph never knew Mary intimately. Patrick referred to the Greek word eos, and he overlooked how Matthew 1:17 and 2:9 show eos means “until” to a specific point in time, so that Joseph would have known his wife, Mary, after she brought forth her firstborn son, Jesus. This would keep things in context. However, Patrick knew his whole article was debunked. He also quoted Philippians 1:10 in the article that also did not use this word as he claimed, but a different word altogether being eis. Patrick could not handle his mistake. Instead of a retraction, he greatly revised his article, and responded to me,

Post by Scott deleted.

For Scott: Cut off the sanctimonious high-horse garbage and I’ll happily let you post again. Nitpicking mistakes while ignoring the point/remainder of the post reveals your “own lack of homework” and “studies.”

I noted eos/eis–my use of it wasn’t misleading and you know it. But to keep things from derailing, I simply listed 9 or 10 more verses for you;) I can keep going if you wish… (emp. added).

This is not the only removed comment. Patrick also removed another comment I made addressing his misleading article, “The CoC’s Non-Answer Regarding Bible Origins.” However, Patrick misquotes Matthew 11:23 that should be 11:22, which is an insignificant typo, and yet his quote from 11:22 was erring in that it did not have the word eos either (cf. Matt 22:32). He does not appear to do his own work.

Back to Bible origins, I find Patrick’s claims are soundly refuted by the Catholic imprimatur source, the Catholic Encyclopedia, as presented in my article, “Catholic Confession of the 1st Century Canon of the New Testament!!!” Patrick finally responded admitting to adding some speculation on his other site,

Another elephant in the room = the successors of the apostles were Catholic and canonized the few books that the apostles circulated as scripture (used in Liturgy), added other writings by the apostles that the apostles did not call scripture (like Hebrews), deleted several letters that were being circulated, and ultimately presented the canon. So don’t think that by saying the Catholic Church means that the Apostles didn’t write the books of the NT–what it means is that the Catholic Church discerned it, compiled it, added it to the full OT, and then called it the Bible. The apostles did not do that–no matter how hard you try to create a table of Contents for the Bible by using only the Bible. (“I’m converting to Protestantism.” 24 June 2012. <>)

Later, Patrick admitted that the Apostles collected the New Testament scriptures rather than a Roman Catholic council or any ancient catholic Orthodox council. Also, note that the apostate ancient “catholic” church did not have a Pope of Rome or Patriarch of Constantinople at this time.

I’ll leave you with this last thought. This is what I was trying to get him to consider (and everyone to consider about the formation of the New Testament), which is a comment that Patrick also removed from his site:

I’m asking you to consider these scriptures. The truth is there. I just gave you an answer, and you are overlooking them. I pray the best for you as I do my Catholic friends who I’ve stood with against abortion.

Bearing imprimatur, the Roman Catholic Church affirms, “At times, the contents of Scripture are indicated more accurately as comprising the Law and the Prophets (Romans 3:21; Acts 28:23), or the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). The Apostle St. Peter extends the designation Scripture also to tas loipas graphas (2 Peter 3:16), denoting the Pauline Epistles; St. Paul (1 Timothy 5:18) seems to refer by the same expression to both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7. […] Again, II Pet., iii, 15-16, ranks all the Epistles of St. Paul with the ‘other scriptures’, and 1 Timothy 5:18, seems to quote Luke 10:7, and to place it on a level with Deuteronomy 25:4. But these arguments for the canonicity of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, of the Pauline Epistles, and of the Gospel of St. Luke do not exclude all reasonable doubt. Only the Church, the infallible bearer of tradition, can furnish us invincible certainty as to the number of the Divinely inspired books of both the Old and the New Testament’ (Maas, Anthony. “Scripture.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 15 Feb. 2012. []).

You haven’t responded to how Peter recognized all of Paul’s scriptures […] to Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia even though Paul did not specifically write scripture to these places. He did write to Ephesus and Colossae [that are] in Asia and to Galatia. There’s a collection. Add the gospels referred to by Luke and John. All the apostolic writings mentioned by John, ‘these things we write to you’ (1 John 1:4). Also, note Peter’s reference to John and his writings being scripture guided by the Spirit (2 Pet. 1:16-21). Now, you have Paul’s writings, John’s, Peter’s, and the Gospel[s]. Note James as an Apostle and Jude’s echo of 2 Peter 2 and there is your canon. Besides Clement’s letter that refers to Christian scriptures before the destruction of Jerusalem, there are no other Christian writings coming out of the 1st century. These are all of the Apostolic writings. No need for [a] council to make a canon, and yet it is nice that Athanasius confirmed the canon delivered to him from the Apostles.

Furthermore, in AD 180, Irenaeus refuted all of the existing Gnostic writings by name, and he extensively quoted all the twenty-seven books and only these twenty-seven writings of the Apostles and prophets as Scripture. There is no reason to doubt that the twenty-seven-book collection of the New Testament is an apostolic canon of itself. The New Testament is itself own standard for Spirit-guided God-breathed Scripture.

Here is an image remade to counter Patrick’s slanderous picture against the churches of Christ:

Catholics Wrote the Bible?

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]
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22 Responses to Catholic Struggles with the Origin of Christian Scriptures

  1. Scott,
    As a “man of God” why have you been so cowardly as to not post my comments after two weeks? What is “Christian” about saying I’m a “name caller” when I’ve done no such thing? Why are you so afraid to post my comment asking you to pony up and show your readers that you’ve lied? What is “Christian” about bearing false witness?

    Scott, thinking people (and you know this) see through you, see through your cowardly actions and how you’ve run from this topic… which is another reason why you refuse to address it in any coherent way (and why you won’t post my comments). Your behavior drives people from your sect, Scott (and rightfully so!).


  2. Still waiting for you to respond (not react) to the post, Scott.

    Are you really going to live your entire life (and collect a paycheck from your followers who don’t know better!) and never actually think about this topic? Instead of dodging the topic, man up and address it. BTW, every time you rely on a Catholic source you indicate your sect’s dependence on the Catholic Church (which, of course, it is!). And every time you dodge this, you prove my thesis. Thank you! You’ve truly made my day!


  3. betina says:

    Why does Patrick name call?


    • I try to take his name calling as not seriously intended. I referred to him removing my comments to him as cowardly, and he thinks I called him a coward.

      Why does Patrick name call?


      • ?
        “son of satan” was one of your best, Scott. Where did I “name call”?
        Your post is a “hit and run”. You lie about a person, then you ignore his proofs about your lies, then you call him a “name caller”… all while accepting a paycheck as a man-o-god. One of your OWN church members emailed me to say it’s to bad you can’t respond.
        I’m done. You clearly have no Christian ethic about you.


  4. Scott,
    Of course the Church “admits” to the facts that the books of what would become the NT existed before the 4th century; nobody has ever argued with your treasured (needed!) straw man.

    I’ve responded to each of your “proofs” for your theory of the Bible’s self-authentication at the following link. I hope you are not a “struggling” and “confused coward” (your words) and allow your readers to learn something.


    • Patrick,

      Those are not sufficient answers, and your reasoning has been answered here. For instance, see my very first post:

      You also ignore the context of 1 John 1.4 and the witnesses for which John refers. You also ignore the simple quote above from their Catholic associates. Additionally, you need to further consider Irenaeus (an elder in the church at Lyon) and why he rejected so many Gnostic writings quoting from all 27 books.

      The Scriptures show that the Apostles knew the scriptures are the standard in themselves just as the Old Testament writings were gathered as written. Why even debate this? If you have valid apostolic tradition or authority beyond the words of Christ and His Apostles, then prove it.

      Be kind & farewell.


      • These is no reason to think that the proto-Corinthian correspondence were theological statements guided by the Spirit to be scripture. Do you not also know that Laodecia is between Colossi and Ephesus? There is no reason to distrust the Apostles’ collection of the New Testament Scriptures and that they missed something.


      • •For a person who called me a “coward”, this is the most cowardly response you could have written.
        •I handled 1 Jn just fine and presented it just as you have presented it. If my “context” is wrong, it is because I used your words; can you not see the irony in your response?!
        •Irenaeus (your readers know you haven’t actually read the Fathers), again, was Catholic. So, again, you just proved my thesis. Thank you!
        •Your 3rd paragraph doesn’t make any sense.
        You, as always, avoided what I wrote… and your readers know it. Ever time you avoid this subject, more and more people come to learn that your sect is not capable of handling this subject–is in fact afraid of it. Thank you showing how one group must avoid this topic, and how the other in fact owns it.


        • Dear Patrick,

          When did I call you are coward? Although, disregarding abundant proof and saying that I haven’t addressed your assertions does appear cowardly. Most of your recent articles are illogical and mischaracterize our teaching. Maybe asserting that I have not thoroughly replied is a debating tactic that you like to use, but if you were balanced, I think you would let that go. One thing that I do know about debate is that if someone really missed some critical point, then their opponent should point it out.

          I know you are frustrated, but I think you see the Truth and that Catholicism has no ground to stand on (i.e. Christ with His Apostles and prophets). Look at what you are working with Catholicism, which is a shifting wind of traditions. I know you are frustrated that your name is associated with this website, and that you can’t retract your shifting position that the Apostles collected the New Testament in the 1st century when now you want to back to the 4th century. Read again the Roman sources cited above. I would be happy to remove your name upon the necessary conditions.

          You can claim that the early Christian writers and the Apostles were catholic all that you want, but you apparently do not have evidence to support such claims. As you should know by now, my favorite commentaries are the 2nd century writers.


          • Read your own post, and you will see how you called me a coward. (I explained your behavior here: )

            Wow, your dishonesty is so predictable. I’m not talking about the 4th century–you refuse to even read the post. We both know your system can’t handle it. It’s so clear that you’re running!

            Your 2nd century writers that you say you read (you and I both know you don’t) were Catholic… unless, of course, you’re enamored by the heretics. The world knows they were Catholic–even the original reformers knew it. Only the less-educated Fundy-types that MUST deny history pretend that they weren’t Catholic, and nobody other than other Fundy-types are satisfied by your group’s anti-intellectual denial of the fact.

            Well, I’ll let this go, but you’ve demonstrated what I had hoped you would: your group’s inability to address the subject or at least respond to what I wrote. If you decide you want to actually read and respond to my post (which deconstructed your own arguments) then I’d be interested in reading it. Until then, it’s clear that all you know how to do is run and hide. It is clear that you don’t have the mental capacity to have a discussion, and you don’t have the critical thinking skilllz to address this topic.

            Here’s a freebie: This indicative behavior of yours (and of your co-employees'”), Scott, is why your thinking members leave your sect. When you read about why your members leave (or actually talk with them), you should consider why they all seem to explain how the CofC’s leaders/ministers all act like deer in the headlights and run away when ever someone turns on the light.


          • …and it is also CLEAR that you don’t want your readers to understand the poverty of your argument or you wouldn’t have disabled my link/response.

            Let’s see if you’ve grown; here’s the link again:


          • Patrick,

            Why does it appear that I agree more with the Catholic church than you about the formation of the New Testament? See my article, “What Does the Catholic Church Say about the New Testament Formation?

            Here, this article is very simple and easy for your counterpoints if you want: “8 Points about the Formation of the New Testament“. I would like to read and consider such an article in response from you. I hope that you consider this internal evidence although some people like to call it “circular reasoning”, which is also a common fallacy among skeptical infidels.

            Lastly, for a thorough understanding, I must recommend that you look at all of the internal evidence of “The Formation of the New Testament Scriptures“. Do you remember this from Critical Intro to the NT at Harding U? Read the early church writers again. They are an excellent resource and a constant commentary to my studies. I highly recommend that you read Irenaeus for a good discussion. It is amazing how the early church writers resemble the Apostles and prophets and are nothing like the Roman church.

            Be kind. Farewell.


  5. Sonny Gandara says:

    The Catholic Bible far outsells all other Christian Bibles worldwide. In fact, it has always been this way. The very first Christian Bible was produced by the Catholic Church–compiled by Catholic scholars of the 2nd and 3rd century and approved for general Christian use by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The very first printed Bible was produced under the auspices of the Catholic Church–printed by the Catholic inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. And the very first Bible with chapters and numbered verses was produced by the Catholic Church–the work of Stephen Langton, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury. It was this perennial Catholic devotion to the Bible which prompted Martin Luther–who certainly cannot be accused of Catholic favoritism–to write in his Commentary on St. John: “We are compelled to concede to the Papists that they have the Word of God, that we received it from them, and that without them we should have no knowledge of it at all.”


    • The Bible is not solely a Catholic work or claim.

      Yet, who also has preserved the Scriptures throughout the centuries? What about the Waldensians of the Vaudois and what about the Orthodox churches? Where did the Greek text for the Geneva Bible come from? What was the origin of the King James Bible? Consider also the ancient manuscripts of Alexandrinus, Ephraimi, Sinaiticus, and all the Byzantine texts were preserved through the Orthodox from which the Catholics separated.

      Add to this that the Apostles oversaw the collection of the Scriptures in the 1st century and they approved of it. We can read this in the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:15-16, cf. 2 Pet. 1:16-21, 1 John 1:1-4, 2 Tim. 3:16-17 w/ 1 Tim. 5:18). The Roman Catholic church admits to this. Why then would a Catholic oppose his own church?


  6. WOW! You stole my art and changed it! Very “Christian” of you, Scott (in addition to misrepresenting me in your post).

    …sort of how Protestants stole the Bible and changed it.


  7. Wow, thanks for the press!

    Scott, I removed one post. I explained why I moved your one post. Removing your one post made plenty of sense. You’re presenting this as if I did something more, and as if your nonsense comment was relevant to the topic. The truth of the matter is that the one verse I used was still translated into English as “until” and you know it. I exchanged that one verse with one other (of about 100 to choose from) to keep easily-confused people from getting confused. You see, sometimes I assume people know more about Greek than they do;) So yes, instead of commenting on the post and the argument, you tried to do your red herring thing.

    Don’t do my own work? Huh? C’mon… Why do anti-Catholics always resort to jabs like that? Just respond to the article.

    As far as Bible origins, I hope you learned something. Repeating yourself over and over again, copying/pasting things you don’t understand, and ignoring the facts of what I wrote to you doesn’t do you any good. Anyone can build the Bible’s table of contents AD HOC (meaning once the Bible is already compiled)–it is a far cry to do it in the way in which it happened;)

    Anyone who would like to see Scott’s single yet PROFOUND comment that I deleted (bottom line is, he’s a troll) just let me know.

    Thanks for the false witness, bro.


  8. Consider also the Catholic Encyclopedia’s confession, “II Peter, iii, 15, 16, supposes its readers to be acquainted with some of St. Paul’s Epistles; St. John’s Gospel implicitly presupposes the existence of the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)” (Reid, George. “Canon of the New Testament.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 15 Feb. 2012).


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