Our topic comes from the following link
Christian Apocrypha: The “Lost Gospels”? Apocryphal texts and early Christianity
As you know, the term gospel means ‘good news’. Yet if something has been lost for 2 millennia, it certainly cannot be good news.It is bad news for if those recovered works were part of God’s word and instructions to us, billions of people would have died not having a chance to read them. God is a fair and just and has preserved his word throughout history. While every nation has not heard the word in each generation, that we know of, at least his word was available to all.
Which brings us to the topic of today. We will agree with the following quote:
Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria wrote in the fourth century C.E. that the Christian apocrypha—texts that refer to the life of Jesus and his followers that are not included in the New Testament—“are used to deceive the simple-minded.”
In the past 1800 years, there has been nothing to change that conclusion. These supposed lost gospels were lost for a reason- they were not the truth and not part of God’s inspired word. Yet that fact has not stopped some scholars from trying to promote these works and make them a part of Christianity. That is because they define Christianity so broad that cults and false religions are included in that category.
Gnosticism was not and is not a part of the Christian faith but to scholars, just because some Gnostic works included the word God, Jesus, the disciples an dother Christian words and content, these scholars have concluded they belong to the faith. Again, they are not correct in that assumption.
It was once believed that after the Church had determined the contents of the canon, all of these additional (noncanonical) texts were abandoned, hidden or destroyed
We do not know for sure if those false religious works were abandoned, hidden or destroyed. Just because the Nag Hammadi library was found in the dirt, does it mean such actions took place. Some may have been but with what we know of religious people, it is highly unlikely that these works failed to gain some sort of following or were kept unsold on the ancient bookshelves. As the Jehovah Witnesses’ prove, ancient cultic beliefs do not die out. They just find a new audience.
“Today scholars of the Christian apocrypha are challenging this view of the loss and rediscovery of apocryphal texts,” explains Burke. “It has become increasingly clear that the Christian apocrypha were composed and transmitted throughout Christian history, not just in antiquity.
Seems that some scholars agree with us, though we would not place their transmission or acceptance in the Christian history category. False beliefs do not die out when an era ends. If that were so Mormonism would have died out by the end of the 20th century, as would so many other false beliefs would.
Another modern “invention” has also aided in the scholarly understanding of the history of Christian apocrypha: archaeology. At Egyptian sites such as Oxyrhynchus and Akhmîm, archaeologists have unearthed texts or works that were previously known only from their mention by other ancient authors
We do not agree that the invention of the printing press sparked any flood of new searches for ancient works. That idea just doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, archaeology has uncovered a host of ancient documents which would have sparked a very great interest in what the ancients had to say. BUT, this tool does not change the boundaries of what is Christian and what is not.
The bad identification of many ancient works by scholars and archaeologists have only served to confuse people, mislead them, and misrepresent Christianity. This is partially due to the fact that a majority of archaeologists and scholars have stopped believing in the Bible and God and seek their own ideas over the truth. They do not accept Peter’s or Paul’s warning that false teachers abound and have decided to make Christian what is not Christian.
It has become increasingly clear that Christianity began as a multitude of voices, each one declaring itself right and others wrong,” states Burke, who rejects the idea that these gospels were “lost” through intentional suppression by the “winning” tradition, the Roman Church
This is evidence for the above point. It is not clear that Christianity began as a multitude of voices. It began with only 1 voice– Jesus’. The other voices were like today. False ideas being passed off as truth in hopes of leading people to sin and destruction. We have no doubt that the ancient church soon filled up with many people calling themselves Christians but preaching a different gospel. Much like today, even the fundamental, evangelical and other true Christian churches are filled with these people.
It is not a multiple of voices leading to one voice. But one voice being distorted and changed into multiple voices for whatever reason they may have. One reason for this is that such people, like Joseph Smith, held a poor view of the people they were preaching to and saw them as a means to an end. Not as Christ saw them, people without a shepherd, needing the truth and good spiritual food.
Oh and the Roman Church was not the winning church. It was filled with the same type of people looking to get rich through religion. History has not been kind to those people who kept the faith and stayed away from the Roman church once it went astray from the truth. We must add that the Roman church of Paul’s and Peter’s time is not the same church as the one now known throughout history as the Roman Catholic Church. That denomination did not get started till about the 5th or 6th century AD.
All this leads Burke to conclude that the Christian apocrypha “were valued not only by ‘heretics’ who held views about Christ that differed from normative (or ‘orthodox’) Christianity, but also by writers within the church who did not hesitate to promote and even create apocryphal texts to serve their own interests.”
Here we have modern scholars trying to read long dead minds. If ancient writers in the church held those false works in high esteem, we would doubt their declaration that they were Christian. Of course, Burke does not differentiate between Christian and non-Christian so his general statement is quite misleading. The key words would be — “to serve their own interests”. That purpose would automatically disqualify those people from being in the Christian category unless they were just new or immature believers at the time.
A lot of the scholarly views concerning the ancient false texts we disagree with. We do not see many as forgeries. We see them as books that were more or less like historical fiction is today. Using the names and places of real people and cities while creating a fictional tale around it. Ben Hur, long thought of as a Christian movie, would probably fit this category.
When you look at what the scholars and archaeologists say about these texts, we have to consider the source. Are they believers? If they are, are they following Christ’s rules on academic and historical research or secular rules? Are they preaching a different gospel than what Jesus and the disciples taught? Are the scholars lumping everything in the Christian category without reason to do so? Do they accept God’s boundaries on what is or isn’t Christian?
Are they bringing the good news or making the truth less divine and more earthly? There are more questions one can ask here. The thing is modern believers should not let themselves be tripped up when scholars and archaeologists use biblical or Christian terms. They have their own definitions, like cults, for those terms and because of their failure to follow God are far more inclusive than God is.
Christianity is defined by God and Christ, not by modern scholars or archaeologists. We must be discerning, as the Bible instructs, to avoid being swept away by false ideas disguised as Christian works. Th Bible as we have it today is the only work that is the gospel and Christian. Nothing has been lost or rediscovered since the biblical books were first penned.