Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Jesus Mystery!

Find below some comments of mine after I had the joy and er privilage of looking at some of the nonsense broadcast recently about Jesus. The budget and the volume of material increases every year, it is truly appalling.

I might just sqweem and sqweem and sqweem until I'm sick. I have been looking at some programmes  about Jesus that air at this time of year. The latest was Jesus -The man behind the myths.

Many of these programmes wheel out John Dominic Crossan ( a truly unbelieving academic ) as if he is the only authoritative advice to be had. If the viewer is lucky they may get Bart Ehrman , without a doubt the greatest academic opponent of Christianity alive today. Oh joy of joys   we had both in this programme.

The scene was set a young eager explorer type was to find out for himself who Jesus really was. The journey would take him to Bethlehem (the stories aren't true Mr Crossan says) The Church of the Holy Sepulchre , Qumran, Nag Hammadi  (once Nag Hammadi was mentioned I knew where this was going!) and finally St Antony's monastery.



They key bit was where our young eager searcher told us that the 12 or so Nag Hammadi gospels were the same time as the 4 gospels in the Bible and that the Gospel of Thomas shows us Jesus but with no Crucifixion or resurrection, he didn't die for our sins as the trad gospels tell us.  (excuse me while I be ill for a moment).  The FACTS are that
1. The Nag Hamaddi gospels do not come from the first century like the 4 gospels in the bible, they are much later.
2. The gospel of Thomas wasn't written by Thomas ,was later than the the 4 we have  and more importantly only included a collection of 100+ sayings of Jesus , many of them positively peculiar.  There was no 'narrative' no stories, miracles, parables, just these sayings. So to imply some dark truth that the omission of key features of the traditional story is the main truth and the big story of the gospel of Thomas  is rather dumb. I'm sure the air fare and hotel bills could have been spent producing something more impressive.

In St Antony's monastery, our young searcher person met an articulate monk/scholar, he asked eagerly about  Nag Hamadi, he asked about the gnostic gospels with an eagerness that was alarming. The monk replied with calmness that these were false teachings, not from the apostles, were much later than them and the Church had rejected such teachings a long time ago.  The eager beaver narrated over pictures of Egyptian sunsets that for him, the answers were not that easy. For him the fact that Thomas had doubted meant he would doubt what he had been taught when he was younger.  (I hasten to add at this point that Thomas DID doubt but his doubts were dispelled by seeing the risen Jesus, Thomas we are told went on to die for his faith in India.). He also said these gospels show that from the earliest times there were various different views of Jesus.   (incorrect of course because they were much later)

I have no issues with someone coming to different conclusions than either myself or orthodox Christianity, but please do it with some correct facts , lay out the reasons for these views rather than personal preference, simple assertion or wishful thinking.

The facts as understood by mainstream Christianity about the birth life death and resurrection of Jesus  are as grounded in real history as ever. The manuscripts are growing in number and in earliness of date.  Critics used to 'have a go' at John and talk of how late the gospel was (sometimes claiming near 200ad). The discovery of manuscript fragments just into the 2nd century have stopped all that nonsense so they have switched attacks to Luke now.  Time will I am sure reveal more manuscripts supporting Luke, Matthew and Mark, they will switch attacks and try somewhere else. They will eventually fail because 'we did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus   2 Peter 1v16.


It is truly tiresome when I hear some of the arguments against the faith. It is worrying that the average viewer  (including most Christians) will have no way of discerning whether a programme is 'naff'' or not. Even National Geographic channel are guilty of broadcasting embarrassing rubbish and the Gospel of Judas issue of the magazine was famous for implying it was actually written by Judas and was a 1st century account (Lord help us!!) when the truth was it was 200 years later and Judas had long time gone had his guts spill out at Aceldama.

The responsibility of Church and youth leaders is not to obsess about apologetic issues but to responsibly include material regularly affirming the truth and veracity of our faith. Occasionally answering questions  and refuting error. Whether this is using 'One minute apologist' type material from youtube, a brief presentation as a feature of a meeting or a special occasional 'giving an answer' session for believers.

Either way the sheer number of craftily anti-Christian programmes will continue. Easter is coming remember!!

18 comments:

  1. 'The gospel of Thomas wasn't written by Thomas ,was later than the the 4 we have and more importantly only included a collection of 100+ sayings of Jesus , many of them positively peculiar. '

    Like, everybody will be salted with fire? The Queen of Sheba will rise from her grave to judge people? That sort of peculiar?

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  2. '...Thomas we are told went on to die for his faith in India'

    Not one Christian in the first century ever put his name on a document saying he had ever even heard of this alleged disciple.

    Produce evidence he existed, apart from anonymous , unprovenanced works which are of no value to historians,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymity does not render a historical source unreliable. It is naive to believe that simply knowing the author of a document will somehow validate it as trustworthy.There are many other tests for historical reliability apart from provenance. For you to discount sources based on one criteria alone is an extreme position and is not at all how careful, well-trained historians do their work.

      Delete
    2. So you claim historians use unprovenanced , anonymous works?

      They also use other criteria. Does the central character walk on water? Does the author ever produce the names of a source? Does the author ever give one date for an event in the life of the central character (and no, you are not allowed to say where 'Luke' dated an event in the life of John the Baptist....)

      Please produce evidence that Thomas existed.

      Produce one Christian in the first century AD who was prepared to put his name on a document saying he had even heard of Thomas.

      Delete
  3. 'The discovery of manuscript fragments just into the 2nd century have stopped all that nonsense so they have switched attacks to Luke now. '

    To translate this, one fragment was found - not containing the word 'Jesus', and that fragment is now probably dated about 150 AD.

    Meanwhile, nobody has ever found any trace of this alleged person 'Joseph of Arimathea' - or even Arimathea.

    In fact, there are quite a few places in the Gospel according to 'John' which are unknown to archaeologists.

    Just like there are quite a few places in the Book of Mormon which are unknown to archaeologists.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A good film about Jesus is THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATHEW directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini [1964 italian with english subtitles]
    Also MIRACLE MAKER is a great animation of the life of Jesus

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah Steven u try to hard......NONE. Of he places in the Book of Mormon ever existed, NONE of the people in the BOM stories are known to history (unless referring to biblical characters lol)

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  6. It is significant that the only belief under attack by 'atheists' seems to be Christianity. Or have I missed the books, documentaries and endless websites that make a case against Rama, Buddha or the existence of Islam's prophet?

    Why does Christ so threaten some people that they go out of their way to reject Him, disclaim Him, and deny Him?

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