Archive for June 2010

Gnostic Gospels

The Gnostic gospels

By

Jose de Carvalho

 

In most of the programs that I have been watching of late pertaining to Jesus, i.e. “Jesus, the man behind the myth” on the History channel or others on Discovery, mentions the Gnostic gospels that have been found and make out as if these gospels are amiss or lost to the Bible.

 What are the Gnostic gospels?

In the first century apart from the orthodox Christian church a heretic form of Christianity developed. These Christians (and I’m using the term loosely), did not adhere to most of the Christian doctrines including the deity, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, but produced some writings. The Gnostic writings promoted knowledge (gnosticism) as a basis for salvation, instead of faith in God through Jesus. Gnostics believed that Jesus was the one that brought this Gnosis to the earth.

 These books are not lost to the Bible as it is insinuated – they are fraudulent writings without apostleship authorship support, but make use of names of famous Christians such as Thomas, Philip, Judas, Mary, etc. to add weight to the documents.  Nevertheless the early fathers of the faith recognized that they:

  • Were not congruent to the writing of the Apostles
  • Promoted false doctrine, paganism and inferior moral standards
  • Contained questionable historical facts
  • Contradicted Old Testament prophesy

The Gnostic gospels were therefore excluded from the Biblical canon, as we know it.

Why do we recognize the Biblical Gospels?

There is a wealth of evidence for the writings of the Biblical Gospels.  It is by far the most attested writing of classical antiquity.  There are over five thousand manuscripts available containing fragments of the Gospels dating back to A.D. 125.

 Although there are ongoing discussions on the precise wording of the original New Testament writings and even if language-to-language translation was not absolutely perfect, scholars agree that none of the points of discussion affect the gospel message or Christian doctrine – it is mostly secondary issues.

 For reflection

While we may struggle with how to apply what we interpret, we must be free from doubts about the integrity of the tests.  As divine author, God inspired the Gospels written by men and as divine protector, He has preserved the text from doctrinal errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Purpose of Life Part 2

The Purpose of life

by

Jose de Carvalho

 

In my previous post I introduced the following thought: In adding value to the concept (The meaning of life), Christianity’s position has received much criticism from sceptics, who will not accept anything without empirical evidence to justify their lack of belief and are not able to take a leap of faith. Perhaps what I can add to the discussion is that the leap of faith that is required to accept Christianity’s position is not as daunting as one thinks!

The fact is by examining the evidence further you and I can determine beyond reasonable doubt that the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is true by examining extra biblical literature, therefore Christianity is a unique, factual truth, based on indisputable facts.

This is basically what I have already said before – now I want to provide some statements from Jesus to His disciples that add value to the discussion: Jesus appealed to Philip, do you not believe, at least believe, because of what you’ve seen me do. Jesus’ miracle healings, attesting Him to be God, are also recorded and beyond doubt.  What I mean by that is, it is recorded in extrabiblical resouces, even hostile witnesses recorded them. So what did the disciples see: they saw, the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers cured, the deaf hear and the dead being raised to life. The apostle John then wrote, “Jesus’ disciples saw Him do many other miracle signs besides the ones witnessed and recorded in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.

 Jesus on Thomas: Thomas insisted on seeing evidence of Jesus’ resurrection when first reports broke out that He was alive.  He wanted evidence before committing. Jesus honoured his wish a few days later. Jesus showed Himself to him saying, put your fingers here and see my hands, put your hands into the wounds,

Don’t be faithless any longer believe!

Jesus said further you have seen, you believed, blessed are those who have not seen yet believe  paraphrased from (John 20:24:31).

  Of course no matter how thoroughly convincing the evidence is, we still must exercise faith. Jesus invited his disciples to have faith.  The key however for me is that the faith Jesus is asking His disciples to have is not blind faith, but informed, intelligent, factual belief.

To reiterate my position: God made man (including you and me) to know Him, love Him, bring glory to Him, and serve Him and others.  My life is about that and the pursuit of becoming more like Him in this life time, until I meet with Him in the after life – “this adds meaning to my life”, And  provides answers to:

Why I am here?

What am I doing here?

Where am I going?

If any of this is interesting or enriches you, stay connected and travel with me as we migrate in this pilgrimage of life finding ‘what adds meaning to our lives’.