Well the time has come to wrestle with this subject again. To give you some idea of where I'm coming from I must repeat some statements already made in earlier posts:
Dad was a Methodist preacher, and retrospect indicates that he was a rather liberal one, especially for the early 20th Cent. His father was a charter member of the Unitarian Church in N.O. (about the turn of the century). His grandfather, and others up the line for several generations were Methodists (one ancestor presumably ordained by Francis Asbury). All of which is to say that I came from a long line of Methodists, leaning heavily on the liberal side.
Dad preached a sermon when I was 9 that still reverberates in my memory: he preached on the Bible; he told us the Bible is a library of books; he went on to speak like this (crudely paraphrased):
"If you find something else that speaks to your spirit, perhaps more than parts of the Bible, that's okay, add it to your Bible....."
Well... with that simple assertion for me he cut off any notion that everything in the Bible was object of more reverence than anything out of the Bible. So the canon became fluid, individually discerned, not like it is for so many people, written in stone.
Well I am a chip off the old block. Actually I never thought too much about it until fairly recently. At 9 I read through the Bible, cover to cover. (A maternal grandmother was said to have read through the Bible every year of her life after ten, but they were Presbyterians!)
Dad preached out of the Bible; I preached out of the Bible the 8 years I was in the parish ministry, and thought nothing of it.
More recently I began to study the history of the Church: so many heretics, so much blood shed, so much chicanery-- which led to the Church practically being banned in France with the Revolution. I discovered Voltaire's famous saying: "the first priest was the first knave who met the first fool". It struck a responsive chord; I had met a few robed knaves (in fact they're easy to spot by anyone with a critical faculty: the ones who get rich at the expense of their faithful flock.)
Then I met George Fox, who went around ranting about steeple houses and hireling priests. I remembered how Paul said he 'took no money'; he made his living as a 'tentmaker'. When Harvey Cox came along with his 'The Secular City', many of us became 'tentmaking ministers'. And of course, liberated from the ecclesiastical pressures of orthodoxy, we had unorthodox visions, harking back to the heretics of old.
To return to the canon: it's a reading guide for orthodox Christians, with a strong, often unspoken implication that this is the reading we revere, and this only. But I'm not an orthodox Christian, very unorthodox: a Methodist, Quaker, Universalist. I hope I will be privileged to engage in civil discourse with those of a stricter persuasion.
One other point: my theology includes a concept called The Everlasting Gospel, according to which the O.T. was the work of the 'Father'; the N.T. was the work of the 'Son', and thereafter has been the work of the 'Holy Spirit'.
Blessings to all.