The B-List: So what can we conclude about all this?

Speaker: Categories: May 06, 2012


1 MP3 file or 1 CD [1hr, 7min, 31sec]


We complete our survey of these early non-canonical Christian materials with a look at the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, the earliest attempt at a church manual, regarded by some scholars as predating the canonical gospels.

There is much more: The Epistle of Barnabas, dating from the turn of the 1st/2nd century; the Epistles of Ignatius bishop of Antioch, written to a half-dozen churches as he was passing through them en route to his martyrdom in Rome (108AD), the Shepherd of Hermas, a visionary Christian apocalypse written during the first half of the 2nd century, and more. Each of these works was regarded as sacred scripture in some early Christian circles, and functioned as part of their Bible. At the same time, certain of our New Testament books—most notably the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Revelation of St. John—were seriously doubted in certain Christian groups. As the canon gradually took shape in the 5th century and beyond, we consider anew the influences that gave it shape—and what we can learn about the first believers from all of their writings.


A third-generation Adventist, John grew up in the Philippine Islands and graduated from Walla Walla College and Andrews University prior to a pastoral internship in Napa, California. He then spent five years at Hong Kong Adventist College, where he chaired the theology department.

After earning a PhD at Vanderbilt University, John returned to Asia in 1978, where he taught at the Far Eastern Division’s theological seminary. He has been with Loma Linda and La Sierra Universities since 1987 and served as Dean of the School of Religion at La Sierra from 1990 - 2007 when he returned to his first love, full-time teaching.


John’s areas of expertise are New Testament studies and Asian religions. A well-known preacher and public speaker, he is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Adventist Society of Religious Studies. His extracurricular interests include several languages, folk music of several traditions, and conducting adventuresome study-tours “to obscure places like Tibet and the Silk Road.”


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