April 18, 2006

Biola Responds to The Gospel of Judas

I'm not sure how I missed this but Biola University has posted a sort of Q&A on the Gospel of Judas with Clinton E. Arnold, Professor (Talbot School of Theology) and Chairman of the New Testament department. Its pretty standard stuff, but worth reading.

Here's a sample:

The NGS special gave the impression that there were a variety of competing Christianities in the first century? Is that true?

From the very beginning, there was one Christianity. It began with the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth and became encapsulated and disseminated by the twelve apostles who spent three years with Jesus in his public ministry. This is why the book of Acts says that the early Christians “devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). This good news about Jesus Christ was taken to the Gentile world principally by Paul the Apostle, who was directly commissioned by the resurrected Lord. What Paul proclaimed in his missionary travels was thoroughly consistent with the “good news” that was proclaimed from the very beginning. This is quite evident from what Paul says to the Corinthians: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Cor 15:3-5). This was the common confession of the church throughout the world at that time. No Gnostic (including the writer of the Gospel of Judas) could have agreed with this statement.

There were variations from this core Christianity that emerged from time-to-time and place-by-place. But it is inaccurate to portray the first century as a time in which there was a buffet table of Christianities that afforded a person a variety of choices.


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