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There Are No Secret Gospels

30 Mar

The following quotes will be taken from an article called Secret Gospels of Christ which was published by the Philippine Inquirer 12:00 AM March 22nd, 2016 The author is Jaime T. Licauco and his article is found at the following link:

http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/225416/secret-gospels-of-christ

We will not be providing the whole context here but simply addressing different ideas which are held by more than just Mr. Licauco

Even well-known historians who lived in the time of Jesus, such as Eusebius and Tacitus, hardly mentioned him in their writings. That’s rather strange, considering the numerous miracles Jesus was said to have performed during his public life.

I have had an atheist I know bring this up some time ago but it is actually a misrepresentation of what historians actually write about. One does not expect ancient historians to write about Christ for several reasons. The main reason is that the focus of the history does not require that Christ be mentioned beyond a paragraph. Another reason is that the ancient historian did write about Christ in more details but the work has been lost. This is plausible for we know of many ancient writers who wrote more volumes than the ones still extant today.

We do not know exactly what they wrote about.so to say that ancient writers did not write about Christ is a charge that cannot be justifiably made.Then we need to consider the attitude of the ancient historian. They may not have believed in Jesus and did not want to give him free press. Or their ancient editors told them to cut those parts out of the work if they want to have great sales. We just do not know exactly why Jesus is not mentioned more but suffice it to say his exclusion is not evidence to deny his historicity.

Surely, there must have been other sources of information on Jesus’ life and teachings around that time.

Indeed there were, but these were systematically suppressed and destroyed by the emerging Orthodox Christian Church authorities. That’s why the Christian world never knew anything about them.

Yes there probably were other books written about Jesus but none of those were divinely inspired nor were eligible for inclusion in the Bible. The criteria for inclusion were quite clear and restrictive which means that those other works probably were not written by an apostle or someone who knew an apostle. The charge that they were suppressed is ridiculous as there is no evidence for any such activity in the ancient world and this is a charge often brought by Dr. Bart Ehrman who also cannot produce actual evidence for this claim.

The Christian world knew about these works as they were mentioned by other ancient authors and their successors throughout history.They were not accepted as valid gospels or stories of Christ because they altered the truth and presented a false gospel. There was also no ’emerging Orthodox Church’ as the church was already in existence and the rules were set to make sure they got the right books in the Bible. Excluding false texts is not a sin nor a crime but making sure one has the truth.

“Unlike the gospels of the New Testament,” Pagels pointed out, “this text identified itself as a secret gospel. It also contained many sayings known from the New Testament, but placed in unfamiliar contexts, it suggested other dimensions of meaning.”

The words ‘secret gospel’ should have been her clue that the content was not correct or of God. Those words do not suggest ‘other dimensions of meaning’ but indicate instead, that the content was false ideas about Jesus. There is no evidence found anywhere that God kept his information secret or from the people and the immediate leap to ‘new meanings’ is not warranted but scholars are also deceived and they make these leaps to conclusions without considering all the facts.

They do not keep in mind biblical teaching about true and false teachings thus to them, anything from the ancient world sheds light upon Jesus and none of it is erroneous. This is a grave mistake on their part, one which leads many people astray.

During the early formation of the Orthodox Christian Church in the second and third centuries, there were as many as 50 or 60 gospels of Jesus Christ in circulation.

While this may be so, this does not mean that all those ‘gospels’ were telling the truth or that they were actually gospels. Dr. Ehrman makes a great deal over this existence and has published a book listing them all yet when one reads the actual words of the ancient writers, most do not say that they are actual gospels or telling the truth about Jesus and the disciples. Such inferences are made by modern unbelieving scholars.

Modern unbelieving scholars distort the existence of those works  and make them say something they are not saying.In the second and third centuries, the true church already had the authoritative scriptures and knew exactly which books were of God and which were not. Like today we are inundated with secular works about Jesus and the disciples but the existence of those does not make the church confused about which words are God’s word or that there is some war going on to suppress other teachings.

In the words of the late Dr. Metzger, all the counsels did was confirm what the church already knew.’ (A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel). The counsels were not some great spiritual battleground to determine which manuscripts were to be accepted and which were not. They merely put into one volume the real works of God and excluded all those which contained heresy or false teaching.

But as Pagels said, “Those who wrote and circulated these texts did not regard themselves as heretics. Most of the writings use Christian terminology unmistakably related to a Jewish heritage. Many claim to offer traditions about Jesus that are secret, hidden from the many who constitute what in the second century came to be called the ‘Catholic Church.’

Of course they didn’t. if they did they would not have deceived very many people and would not have gained support for their work. Even today cult members do not consider themselves as heretics. Pagels’ comment is utterly absurd and demonstrates she knows little of what she is talking about. We addressed the hidden aspect already but as for the use of Christian terminology how else would a false teacher deceive people? Of course they would use Christian terminology, they are trying to show that they are of God when they are not.

The lack of insight by scholars is appalling.

Incidentally, the word “heresy” does not necessarily mean the teaching or belief is false or untrue, but only that it deviated from the official teaching or belief.  For example, during the Middle Ages, it was the official church teaching and belief that the sun revolved around the Earth, that the Earth was the center of the universe. Anyone who believed otherwise, like Galileo, was called a heretic and was arrested and imprisoned by the so-called Holy Inquisition.

While some of this is true, the application of the word ‘heresy’, this does not mean that false teaching was not existing throughout church history. We need to clarify that statement about ‘official church teaching’. Yes some in the Middle Ages thought that the Sun revolved around the Earth but that is not a belief that arose in the church. It was first presented by ancient Babylonian and Greek secular astronomers and this situation only demonstrates what happens when the church listens to the unchurched scientific world–they are led astray to false ideas.

The unbeliever who laughs at the church over this issue are only laughing at themselves and secular science for that is where the idea first came to be. The church should learn from this situation and realize that listening to the secular scientific world does not bring them to the truth but to ridiculous ideas. Those who claim to be Christian yet accept secular scientific ideas are also wrong and in need of repentance.

Concluded Pagels: “When Muhammad Ali smashed that jar filled with papyrus on the cliff near Nag Hammadi and was disappointed not to find gold, he could not have imagined the implications of his accidental find. Had they been discovered 1,000 years earlier, the Gnostic texts almost certainly would have been burned for their heresy… Today, we read them with different eyes, not merely as ‘madness and blasphemy’ but as Christians in the first century experienced them —a powerful alternative to what we know as orthodox Christian tradition.”

Yes she reads them with blind and deceived eyes not with eyes opened and knowing the truth. To label the writers of those Nag Hammadi works as Christians is distorting who is  or isn’t a Christian. This false identification confuses people and leads them to erroneous ideas about the ancient people. The writers and followers of the Gnostic and other religious groups in the first centuries after the resurrection of Christ cannot be labeled as Christian for they weren’t. They were cultists, false believers and had nothing to do with God and we can point to their modern counterparts today.

The writers of those works were what the Bible calls false teachers. They had very little truth in them but just enough to deceive those who reject the truth of the Bible. The words of the Nag Hammadi library are blasphemous and heresy and do not contain the truth.

For me, the Nag Hammadi Gnostic texts are doubly significant and more credible precisely because they did not suffer the scrutiny by the ecclesiastical authorities for doctrinal “errors,” unlike what happened to the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Qumran Caves in 1947, which were initially examined by an international committee headed by a Dominican Catholic priest.

In other words, she is happy to be led astray and wants nothing to do with the truth. She misrepresents what took place with the Dead Sea Scrolls and while scholars kept them under strict lock and key, we have them published now and can double-check the work of those scholars to see if they erred in any way. We are doing the same thing with the Nag Hammadi library except for keeping them under lock and key.

Her animosity towards ecclesiastical authority is noted and influences her judgment. There is nothing of value in the Nag Hammadi library save to learn how false teaching is done, that false teaching is not new and that many people will believe the lie over the truth. There is nothing in those works that shed light upon Jesus, the disciples or the Christian church. What they do do is shed light upon how many who reject the truth will teach and think. In other words, the Nag Hammadi library exposes the fraudulent ideas of those who do not believe. They contribute nothing to the truth.

 

 

 

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One response to “There Are No Secret Gospels

  1. jbcowgill

    March 31, 2016 at 1:44 am

    Reblogged this on John Cowgill's Literature Site.

     
 
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