Over at Parchment and Pen, an interesting post and conversation is happening. It is quite controversial because the Rev. C. Michael Patton has a view which to my reading is similar to what some Concordians have articulated before. For him the canon is not closed. Well in a way it is and in a way it is not. So I'd let you read his post but the comments, needless to say have grown quite long so be careful with your time!
Unlike other confessions, the BoC (and this I noticed right away) does not have a list of canonical books compared to the WCF. The question of canonicity and closeness of the canon is quite important simply because Protestants do shout sola scriptura. Of course to be clear, the Concordians have a different way of treating scripture, by the word "alone" it does not mean no church, council or tradition. They mean (correct me if I am wrong), the Scripture is the final rule of faith. It does not deny that there are other rules of faith only that the final rule is Scripture. Some Prots circumvent that and chuck other rules of faith like creeds and confessions and history etc. i.e. by-passing them as irrelevant and head to the Scripture "naked". I remember a denom priding it self with the slogan - 'no creed but the Bible'.
In return the Roman and Orthodox Churches (apologists) challenge that by saying -'how do you know it is the list of books if it was not for the Magisterium/Church who told you that in the first place', hence, their thesis is that to have an infallible Bible, you need an infallible asserter for that and that is the Church. Plainly stated "you can not have an infallible Bible, if you do not have an infallible Church/Magisterium who tells you that it is infallible".
The implication of this is the question of an epistemological starting points. You can choose I think three starting points both carrying an embedded presupposition.
1. The church is infallible (Roman/Orthodox)
2. The bible is infallible (generic Prots)
3. Jesus is the Christ (Concordians?)
Being a mathematician by training, I can attest to you right now that I can witness to infallible statements without me being infallible. I make an infallible statement each time I say 1+1=2. Within the proper usage and consistent use of those terms, my assertion is true and can be proven by arithmetic (number theory). Option #1 is not true by experience and will be discovered to entail circularity because the RC/EO also refers to Biblical passages to affirm so.
Option #2, also appeals to Scripture itself and so the RC/EO counters by saying - how do you know you have the complete list since Scripture is a book of books? I do not go for Option #2 because to me the church is founded on the confession that Jesus is the Christ and what that entails so as expected I lean to Option #3.
So what about Option #3, is this a sound propositional starting point from which we can build all of our Godly knowledge of life and the world etc? I think so. Firstly I believe Jesus taught scripture alone so at the end of the day, you can have all your approaches but Jesus knows better and if you do not line up with his, you are on shifting sand. Option#2 proponents doubt if Option #3 does not wind up in circularity. Perhaps people in Option #1 will chime in and side with Option #1 here.
I do not think it does, because first attestation of Jesus is Messiah were by the Apostles, they wrote this attestation down and I believe it. Yes the Church did attest that this was written by the Apostle or was inspired by the Holy Spirit, yet I did not believe it because simply they said it, for there is the object, it is there for me to examine and I find its contents sensible. There was no necessity or presupposition on my part that they had to be infallible in order for me to make sense of a proposition they make. I am a mathematician by training and when I see an elegant and brilliant proof, I admire it but no way do I attribute the creators of the proof with infallibility'.
This Messiah says too that the Scripture can not be broken. If someone asks me which are these lists of books that is said to be Scripture - I tell them - go ask Jesus. I guess the whole point of the Bible being infallible is for the Christian to continue to believe that he has eternal life in the Son, is that not the whole point? For faith and practice of course, but is it not in the context of "Jesus is the Christ"? As far as I can tell from the Scripture that has been received, Jesus says to trust no one but him.
Now I have not fully worked this out because right now I am savoring the implication of that confession - Jesus is the Christ.
So I want to know where my epistemological starting point is weak, sensible or not feasible at all. Setting me straight can only be a good thing.