The Jesus Mystery!
Christian Apologetics UK
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.
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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…