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It would be nice to believe that there would be no fractures in the Church today if only one Letter, (I Clement) had been included in the New Testamtent. I doubt that even if I Clement was included it would have prevented the schisms we see today. Our Lord Himself saw that there would be those who following their own pride would establish rival sects, and teach false teachings. Among the issues that we sometimes forget, or were never taught is while writings like the Epistles of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Didichae are ancient writings that one or another individual community saw as Scripture, they were forgotten for centuries, and only found again in the mid 1700’s and 1800’s. After the Bible was canonized by the Catholic Church, some of the writings of the Fathers existed on the shelves of libraries in the ancient world, with the development of Monastic communities in the Eastern Church, some of these were preserved in monastic libraries. It was not until the 1660’s that the First and Second Epistle of Clement were seen in the West, when they were given as a gift to King Charles I of England by the Patriarch of Constantinople (Orthodox). It has been since that time that some of the wrtinings of the Fathers which we only knew of because they were mentioned in other writers works became well known to us. Even though they do not compose a part of the New Testament, they are very important for us to understand both what the Early Church taught, and what the early Heretical teachers taught. Even among the Early Fathers writings, we see heretics like Tertullian, and others. They show us how one can be learned in the Faith, and then stray from the truth by becoming excessive in our trust in our own selves, rather than the Church, who Jesus Himself promised He would remain with.

Among the criteria for the selection of the New Testament that the Church used the four most important included thses.

1.Apostolic Origin – attributed to and/or based on the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their closest companions).

2.Universal Acceptance – acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the Mediterranean world (by the end of the fourth century).

3.Liturgical Use – read publicly along with the OT when early Christians gathered for the Liturgy on the Lord’s Day, (Sunday).

4.Consistent Message – containing theological ideas compatible with other accepted Christian writings (incl. the divinity and humanity Jesus).