Monday, June 11, 2012

The Demise of Christianity

I used to get worried about the possibility of someone finding a forgotten book of the Bible that would turn the entire New Testament on it’s ear. But while I was in seminary I had to read a number of these so called forgotten books of the Bible and was shocked at how poorly they were written and often how often they ripped off the canonical books that were actually included in the New Testament.

Most of these lost gospels (of Mary, Judas, Thomas, Peter, Philip and a host of others) were so inferior in their scope and subject matter and were so childish that I lost interest in them and their content. Further review proved that most of them were 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th Century Gnostic writings. Dan Brown brought back a lot of speculation and interest in these “lost books” when he penned the Da Vinci Code. In fact his book and subsequent movie created a small cottage industry of writer who either debunked his work as simply a fanciful novel or trumpeted the of these pseudepigrapha writings as a fuller more meaningful understanding of Christ’s teaching.

All of this interest and debate died down years ago – until I recently read with a little interest article posted on the Internet. Some who have read this article predict the downfall and destruction of Christianity because of a prophecy in the Gospel of Barnabas. This codex “predicts the coming of Mohammad. Turkish authorities have stated that the copy of the book that they have was written in either the 5th or 6th Centuries predating the prophet by 100 years before or shortly after his birth in 570 CE. No outside group has been allowed authenticate this work but there is another copy of the Gospel of Barnabas that has been dated as having been written in the 16th Century.

The religious/political leadership of Iran predicts that when the world reads the “truth” in this book that Christianity will wither away and die while the final word from God, the Koran, will thrive and Islam will flourish and take over the whole world.

Jesus addresses this very issue in the Gospels

18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Matthew 5:18 (NIV)
17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
Luke 16:17 (NIV)
8 They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness.
Psalm 111:8 (NIV)

8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)

35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Matthew 24:35 (NIV)
So God’s Word will never fade or pass away, even if some book says otherwise.

“What about the church?” you might ask.

Again Jesus speaks to this
18 And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) {or the boasting of men} shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it] {or make it disappear}.
Matthew 16:18 (AMP)
Should we worry about man’s attempt to undermine our faith and bring about the destruction of the church?
Well, I’m going to choose to follow God’s response to man’s attempt to waylay God’s plans.
1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One.
3 "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters."
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."
7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery."
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 2:1-12 (NIV)
Enjoying a last laugh with Father!
Pastor Val