A Question I Was Asked:

Should Not The Church Be Using 1 and 2 Clement?

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Should not the church be using 1 and 2 Clement?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Clement is generally believed to be a young, personal co-worker with the Apostle Peter, yet more than this we cannot say with certainty. As apparent letters, we have 1 Clement and II Clement. One problem in the first book - or letter - is that the writer refers to the mythical phoenix as an actual living creature! (unless he intended to mean something else and used an incorrect or innaccurate word), we cannot be sure. But the book is generally thought somewhat dubious and did not pass the tests to be considered canonical.

Now with regard to 2 Clement: This book is widely rejected as being a forgery that was attempting to build on 1 Clement. It is also seen as being written much later than 1 Clement.

While there was indeed a 'Clement' in the early church, this fact does not make these books genuine (same as the 'Epistle of Barnabas' does not fully substantiate that book simply because of its name). Any real comparison with the established New Testament writings and epistles shows these books of 'Clement' to be highly dubious to say the very least.

Guidance of the Holy Spirit

Another point which we sometimes forget is this: the early church were promised the guidance of the Holy Spirit in deciding some of these things:

12. "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you." (John 16:12-15).

In conclusion, just a little research will reveal why these two writings did not pass the test of canonicity. If one should be wrong about this, it remains the case that no important teaching or doctrine rests upon these two books. Does the church claim that the books are not Spirit-inspired? Not necessarily; the church simply states that the evidence is not overwhelming that such is the case with no conclusive evidence for inclusion in Scripture. Is it okay to read such books? Sure, but don't confuse them with the canon of Scripture.

Robin A. Brace. September 19th-24th, 2019.