"[W]e need to remind ourselves that Christianity does not primarily rest upon the evidence of dead books, but of living men. In other words, the ultimate authority upon which the Christian faith rests is the evidence of the Apostles. It is this evidence which the Church transmits. She has always considered that this transmission was the essence of her mission. It is in relation to this evidence that she has distinguished what was authentic and what was not. The canonical Gospels are the written record of this evidence. And it is the Church which provides the basis of their authority by recognizing them as canonical, in the name of the apostolic authority which she continues."
-Jean Danielou in Christ and Us.