I saw an interesting video clip on Fox News’s website. One of my favorite New Testament scholars, Ben Witherington, was being questioned about recent efforts to drum up the post-canonical writings about Jesus. That is, books that were written that were found to be heretical because they countered everything Jesus taught, or exemplified, and were therefore left out of the New Testament Canon (among which, are the “Gnostic Gospels”). It’s along these lines, and especially in light of the release of the DaVinci Code several years ago that Witherington wrote his book, “What have they done to Jesus?”
Witherington clarified Steve Doocy, et al on “Fox & Friends,” about the “newness” and “recent finding” of these documents. They were questioning him, “what could this do against the cause of Christianity, and Jesus’s reputation?” He explained that modern New Testament scholars have known about these documents for over 50 years. They are not in fact a threat to Christianity, except to those who may be already looking for a way out. Jesus’s life and teachings were either, fact, fiction, or psychosis.
As with Dan Brown’s efforts (author of the DaVinci Code), I feel like the efforts of the modern skeptics to till the ground of the Gnostic gospels, is an effort to turn soil that was long ago put to death. It’s interesting that the folks in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries knew exactly what to do with these documents, because they knew Jesus, or knew people who knew Jesus, or saw him, or perhaps met one whose eye-sight or leprosy had been restored. The world was changed by the gospel of Christ. The people who died in persecution for their faith in Christ… would they have knowingly died for a lie? The resurrection of Jesus outweighs all rationality, human reasoning, and emotional feeling, which is why so many hated Jesus. If one doubts, the best thing to do is a simple reading of the Gospel of John. By itself, this is enough to disprove almost all of the modern claims. That is the reason John wrote the words that he did, and Praise God for that. “These things are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Song of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” – John 20:30