A recent Called to Communion post states "we would not know, with the certainty of faith, which writings are sacred (in the relevant sense) apart from the supernatural testimony of the Church."
I certainly realize the thrust of CTC's post is not on canon certainty. However, I think it's interesting that whenever this issue is brought up, the entire Old Testament disappears, as if its existence doesn't matter. Here's a snippet I've posted before, but it brings the problem into focus:
Second Question from James White to Patrick Madrid:
White: Mr. Madrid, I've asked you this before. How did the Jewish man 50 years before Jesus Christ know that the books of 2 Chronicles and Isaiah were Scripture? Would you like me to repeat that?
Madrid: No, I think I got that. Thank you. The Jewish man of the 50 year period before Christ knew that that Scripture, 1 and 2 Chronicles, was inspired because the Old Testament church, the Old Testament people of God, regarded it as Scripture. It had the official pedigree of coming from a prophet and it had always been regarded that way. So he would draw not only on what his internal testimony was of what those books say, but he would also base what his position was on what the constant teaching of the Old Testament people was as well. As you remember, they regarded 1 and 2 Chronicles as Scripture. What I'd like to ask you, though, is, and whether we do it now or later, is your choice, later in the debate tonight—is you keep going back to this issue of how does he know, how does he know? Well, that's what I want to throw back at you. How do you know? Let's take it out of the Old Testament, Mr. White, and bring it back to the New Testament. And let's settle once and for all how you know that those 27 books belong in Scripture. How do you know that they are inspired? How do you know Matthew wrote Matthew? What is your authority to know that? If you reject the Catholic Church that's fine, that's your choice. I think you do so at your own peril. But if you reject the Catholic Church you have to furnish us with some other source upon which you base your testimony that those words in that Bible—in that 27 books of the Bible—are God's words.
Now, I don't want to give anyone the false impression as I think you were trying to do earlier that I believe that the Catholic Church rendered the Bible as inspired. You know that that is not the Catholic position. You know Mr. White that the Catholic Church does not claim to have made the Scriptures canonical simply because she chose those books. That is a red herring. It's false. The Catholic Church recognized the canon of Scripture. The Catholic Church received the word that was given to her by her husband, Jesus Christ, and as you well know, the Church hears and recognizes the voice of her husband. So it is the Church, Mr. White, I assert, who recognized [Moderator: "Time."] I have 24 seconds left...the Church recognizes her husband's voice and she preaches that to the world. You, if you reject the Church, have to fall back on something else. What'll it be? The Muratorian Fragment? The Church Fathers? This or that Greek scholar, perhaps? Your own personal interpretation? You have to tell us tonight what your authority is, Mr. White.
White: First of all, in sticking to the actual question that I asked, we are told that the Old Testament Church told the man that Isaiah and 2 Chronicles were Scripture. Now that's interesting, because, does that mean the Old Testament Church was infallible? That is the same Old Testament Church that taught the Korban rule, I think, yes, the same Old Testament Church. Oh, that's the same Old Testament Church that rejected the Apocryphal books and never believed they were Scripture but you say that they are Scripture and place someone under the anathema that doesn't believe those things. So I guess the Old Testament Church was fallible which means that you can have a fallible authority to tell you that something is Scripture, because it's very plain that the Lord Jesus held everyone responsible for reading Scripture. In fact, in Matthew chapter 22, he said to the Sadducees, "But about the resurrection of the dead, have you not read God said to you?" And Mr. Madrid keeps saying, "What's your authority?" Listen to what Jesus says. He says to these men, "Have you not read what God said to you?" If God speaks to you, you do not ask Him for His business card. God's Word is theopneustos, it's His speaking.
So since the ex-Reformers of CTC are working out their epistemological foundations, perhaps they could similarly answer this basic question: How did the Jewish man 50 years before Jesus Christ know that the books of 2 Chronicles and Isaiah were Scripture?''
Based on the entirety of the CTC blog entry, perhaps we can speculate an answer. The author appears to be arguing at one point that believing in Romanist infallibility is a basic faith claim:
We are commanded to believe the Gospel. For many converts to the Catholic Church, ecclesial infallibility came to be understood as indispensable to the faith we had while not in full communion with the Catholic Church. Accepting infallibility was not so much a matter of longing for certainty as finally recognizing the grounds for the certainty of faith by which we had already begun to know the truth revealed by God in Christ Jesus.
Later though he also states "the Church that Christ founded, of the Church that comes from Christ and is irrevocably united to him, lends a specific kind of objectivity to the task of identifying her."
I think the only possible solution for the CTC gang would be that the Jewish man 50 years before Jesus Christ knew that the books of 2 Chronicles and Isaiah were Scripture because of his faith relationship to God, but he had this while objectively not being able to identify the church of his day as infallible. If this was so for the Jewish man 50 years before Jesus Christ, why not today as well?