As I mentioned before in Spiritual Journey (part 1), my dad and I had a conversation about where I was spiritually. This happened early summer 2015, after Jacob and I had been dating about 6 months. My dad said, “Abbey, if you are going to convert, you need to do it whole heartedly and want the rest of your family to convert as well.”
That made a big impression on me. I had absolutely no intentions of converting at that point. I knew I would never convert just for the sake of my boyfriend. I also knew that if our relationship continued to marriage that I didn’t need to convert for that. My faith in God was too serious for me to convert willy-nilly. My faith in God was too important to me to convert without huge amounts of prayer and thinking and reading and more prayer.
That’s when I realized that up until then I had been passive about learning about Catholicism. That’s when I realized it was time to become active about my study. I also realized that if the Catholic Church teaches a falsehood, I’d be able to find it in my study. I knew I’d be able to point to hard evidence and say, this is where the Catholic Church is wrong, therefore I am not converting. However, if through my study I found that the Catholic Church teaches the truth, I should believe it. I wanted to believe the truth, no matter the name of church.
So, as soon as my dad and I parted ways from that conversation, I went home and began googling books about Catholic vs Protestant beliefs. I found a book called The Protestant’s Dilemma by Devin Rose. The title alone intrigued me. I put a hold request on the copy at my local library. A day later I told my boyfriend about my conversation with my dad and told him that I was ready to begin studying Catholicism actively. I asked Jacob for a book suggestion. Without knowing I had already placed a book on hold at the library, Jacob said “A book called The Protestant’s Dilemma would be a really good book to start with.” I knew that it wasn’t just a coincidence. I was all the more excited about reading this book now.
Every one of the short, 32 chapters in this book begin with “If Protestantism is true, then…” and then follows a hypothetical statement that if this premise of Protestantism is true, then something else should logically follow. The author then supports his claims with scripture, history, and common sense. Mid way through each chapter a new section begins with “Because Catholicism is true, …” the author then explains why the Protestant conclusion is illogical. Each chapter ends with the author giving evidence, historical, theological and rational, that supports the Catholic position.
The seventh chapter in this book begins with this statement,
“If Protestantism is true, it’s okay to remove books from the New Testament canon if you judge them to be non-inspired.”
I seriously put the book down and didn’t read the rest of the chapter for a moment. Nuh-uh! I thought, I’ve lived as a Protestant for nearly a quarter of a century, not one Christian I know believes they can just take books out of the Bible. If anyone did, no one would follow him!
Up until this point, each chapter had convinced me that the Catholic position was true. Each topic made sense, and I understood why the Protestant view was illogical at best, and wrong at worst. Each hypothetical statement that began each chapter had at first seemed absurd, but in the end I had to agree that Protestantism fell apart on that particular topic. Yet, I couldn’t believe how this statement about taking books out of the Bible could be supported. Skeptical, I took up the book and continued to read.
What I learned surprised me very much! Indeed, Martin Luther himself, the father of Protestantism, tried to take out four books of the New Testament. From his German New Testament, Martin Luther removed Hebrews, Jude, Revelation and James to the back in an appendix, writing a preface for why he believed these four books did not meet his theological standards. (Luther’s Works)
After finishing the chapter, I sat in silence for a few minutes. Thankfully not enough Reformers of the day accepted Luther’s position on the altered New Testament. Or we Protestants would have a very different belief system today. Honestly, Martin Luther had never been much of a hero in my eyes, yet this still disappointed me to some extent. The father of Protestantism tried to alter a thousand-year-old canon. As a Protestant, I firmly believed the Holy Spirit had guided the Catholic councils to complete and close the canon of scripture a long time before Martin Luther appeared on the scene. This was how I knew I could trust the Bible was really God’s word.
I decided I should read the next chapter, to make me feel better. I mean, it couldn’t get any worse, right? It began with this statement,
“If Protestantism is true, God allowed the early Church to put seven books in the Bible that didn’t belong there.”
Yup. It had just gotten worse. No, surely this isn’t implying that Luther succeeded in taking other books out of the Bible… could it?? I was afraid to read this chapter, but I was compelled. I learned that, yes, Martin Luther did indeed take out seven books from the Old Testament. These seven books, Protestant’s know them as the apocrypha, went through the same scrutiny and discussions every other book in the Bible went through at the end of the 4th century. They were canonized the same time all the rest of the Old and New Testament books were canonized. For over a thousand years these books were regarded as scripture, believed to be in the Bible because the Holy Spirit led the Catholic men of old to include them in the Bible. Then, over a millennium later, along comes a man named Martin Luther who believes he has the authority to chop them out, believing it was wrong to put these seven books there in the first place.
I was in a bit of emotional shock. I firmly believed Luther was dead wrong about trying to eliminate James, Hebrews, Jude and Revelation. Yet, how could a man be wrong in one crucial decision about the New Testament, yet right about another crucial decision regarding the Old Testament? The gears in my mind turned to find a loop hole. But after thinking deep and hard, I came to the conclusion that Martin Luther was also dead wrong about taking those seven books out of the Old Testament.
The questions came in hard and fast then. Who did Martin Luther think he was? Who gave him this authority? Was the Holy Spirit with Luther, or with the men who canonized the Scripture in 397 A.D.? The Holy Spirit certainly could not be with both, otherwise the Holy Spirit is contradicting himself. If the Holy Spirit was not with Luther, how could I believe other things Luther preached that is contrary to the Catholic Church? I was beginning to wonder how the Protestant Reformation was justified.
My Protestant foundation was beginning to crumble. I was not ready to run to the arms of the Catholic Church. I still had many questions and concerns about some “rumors” I had heard about certain Catholic beliefs. But I was not liking the idea of identifying with Protestants whose founder made at least two very WRONG decisions about God’s Holy Word.
So, which books are the inspired, yet deleted, books
Tobit (14 chapters)
Judith (16 chapters)
1 Maccabees (16 chapters)
2 Maccabees (15 chapters)
Wisdom (19 chapters)
Sirach (51 chapters)
Baruch (6 chapters)
Esther (5 more chapters in the original Bible that are no longer in the Protestant Bible)
Daniel (2 more chapters in the original Bible that are no longer in the Protestant Bible)
Approximately 11% (by chapter) of the original Bible was chopped out by Martin Luther.
Luther’s Works, Vol. 35 (St. Louis: Concordia, 1963), 395-399.
Rose, Devin. The Protestants Dilemma: How the Reformations shocking consequences points to the truth of Catholicism. Catholic Answers, 2014. Book. (order it on amazon)
The following quote is one of many such quotes that show that these 7 books were included in the canon of Scripture: