One rather common misconception is that there was widespread disagreement by the early church fathers about which New Testament books were inspired and included in the canon. The truth is just the opposite: among church fathers there was widespread acceptance of the New Testament books and very few disputes. The following chart appears in both Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict and in Norman Geisler’s Systematic Theology. It shows all the church fathers and councils that quoted any New Testament book, mentioned anything about their inspiration or lack thereof, or alluded to whether they should be included or not. It covers the first 400 years of church history, the period apparently alluded to by modern critics.
In this chart, the only books that are questioned are the ones with question marks (?). Thus Origen questioned four books (Hebrews, II Peter, and II & III John. Since Origen was condemned as a heretic, his views carry little weight in orthodox circles. Yet citing Origen shows that even those beyond the fringes of orthodoxy did not question the bulk of the New Testament books.
Moving on through the list, Eusebius also questioned four books, the council of Cheltenham questioned three, and the first council of Nicea five. This is the total of the individuals or councils that questioned New Testament books for the first 400 years of the church.
Consider that two of the questioned books are the little books of II and III John, which do not say much, and the little book of Jude, which also is rather insignificant when it comes to essential doctrines.
This leaves us with a relatively few books that were questioned at all. If we discount Origen the heretic, the disputes are reduced to three instances of II Peter and two of James. Some church histories record the discussions surrounding Hebrews, since the book does not state the author, but once the church fathers generally accepted it as being of Paul, it was not rejected.
Thus we can safely conclude that this small handful of disputations hardly qualifies as widespread disagreement. In truth, none of the central books of the New Testament were questioned in the first centuries of the church. The books that present the essential doctrines of the faith, such as the four gospels, Romans, and the epistles of Paul, were never disputed by the church fathers.
We should find it odd that so many of the modern critics claim things about disputes of the New Testament, but never seem to quote any specific sources.