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December 25th, 2011




Why The Gnostic Texts Were Rejected

March 24th, 2014

Excerpt from Chapter 11 of The Atheist Delusion

 

Many contemporary popular writers reject the first century a.d. portrait of Jesus as God, Savior, and Messiah. Instead, they proclaim Jesus as somewhat of a guru who imparted secret knowledge to His followers. This was the false Jesus of the Gnostic writings.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus fragmentThe Gnostic writings were rejected by the early church for numerous reasons. First, the Gnostic writings (i.e., the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Mary, etc.) were written much too late. The earliest possible date given to some of these books is about 140 ad, over one-hundred years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Hence, they lacked apostolic authority and did not come from eyewitnesses or anyone who personally knew the eyewitnesses. Hence, the information was written far too late to contain reliable information about Jesus and His teachings.

Second, these writings were deceptive. They are often classified as pseudepigrapha because they were forgeries. The unknown authors were not the persons they claimed to be. No New Testament critic, not even the liberal critics of the Jesus Seminar, believes that these books were actually written by Judas, Thomas, Philip, or Mary Magdalene. The authors were lying; they claimed to be someone they were not.

Drawing of the leontocephalineThird, the Gnostic writings were considered heretical by the early church, and therefore could not be added to the canon. The Gnostics rejected salvation through faith in Jesus and instead taught salvation through secret knowledge. (The word “Gnosticism” comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means knowledge.) The ancient Gnostics rejected the Old Testament as an evil book written by an evil god. They taught that matter is totally evil and the spiritual realm is totally good. Since the Old Testament God created the material universe, the Gnostics deemed Him to be an evil god. Whereas biblical Christianity has always considered itself to be the completion or fulfillment of the Jewish Faith (i.e., the Old Testament), the Gnostics were opposed to the teachings of the Old Testament and the God of the Jewish Faith. Hence, the early church rejected the Gnostic writings as being heretical; these writings were not in agreement with previous revelation. Hence, as heretical works, the early church believed the Gnostic texts were not edifying for true believers. Since God inspired or guided the early church to write His Word, He also guided the early church to recognize which books belonged in the canon (i.e., the list of books which belonged in the Bible). The Gnostic writings were written too late to be authoritative records of Jesus’ ministry and life. They were heretical, and they were forgeries. There was and is no reason to include the Gnostic writings in the New Testament. The Jesus of the Gnostic writings is a false Jesus. The Gnostic Jesus is not the true Jesus of history.

Fulfilled Prophesies of the Bible

February 5th, 2014

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fernandes’ book
Content Earnestly For The Faith“.

The Bible claims repeatedly to be the Word of God. One of the most powerful witnesses to the truth of this claim is the many fulfilled prophecies proclaimed in the Bible. This work has already examined a sample of prophecies fulfilled by Christ. Here, a few more of the many biblical prophecies that have already come to pass will be discussed.

Content Earnestly For The FaithThe Bible has made many predictions concerning the future of great nations and cities. The following is a brief discussion of a few of the prophecies fulfilled concerning these cities and nations. Around 590—570BC, the prophet Ezekiel predicted that the city of Tyre would be destroyed and never be rebuilt, and that it would become a barren rock which fishermen would use to mend their nets (Ezekiel 26:4, 5, 14). Though Tyre was destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout history, it was ultimately devastated in 1291AD by Muslim invaders. Today, all that is left of the ancient site of Tyre is a small fishing community which uses the barren ground to dry their nets.

In the sixth century BC, Ezekiel also predicted that the city of Sidon would suffer much violence and bloodshed throughout her history, yet remain in existence (Ezekiel 28:23). Though Sidon has been invaded and defeated numerous times throughout her history,
the city still exists today. In 625BC, the prophet Zephaniah predicted that the city of
Ashkelon would someday be destroyed, but that it would eventually be inhabited by the Jews (Zephaniah 2:4, 6). Ashkelon was destroyed in 1270AD by Sultan Bibars. The city remained uninhabited for centuries until the nation of Israel was reestablished in 1948. Now, the
Jews have rebuilt and re-inhabited Ashkelon.

Philistine Captives at Medinet HabuZephaniah also predicted that the Philistines—a powerful enemy of the Jews throughout much of the Old Testament—would be totally wiped out. Though they continued to prosper for many centuries, they eventually became extinct in 1200AD (Zephaniah 2:5). The prophet Obadiah, writing in either 841BC or 586BC, prophesied the extinction of the Edomites, who were the descendants of Esau and enemies of the Jews (Obadiah 18). When the Romans devastated the city of Jerusalem in 70AD, they also defeated the remnants of Edom (called the Idumeans at that time). At that time, all traces of the Edomites disappear.

In 740—680BC, the prophet Isaiah predicted that Egypt would still be a nation in the last days (Isaiah 19:21-22). In spite of the many wars Egypt has encountered throughout her four-thousand year history, this ancient nation remains in existence to this day. In 1410BC, Moses predicted that Israel would be scattered among the nations of the world (Deuteronomy 28:64). The prophet Hosea, in 710BC, predicted this dispersion of Israel as well (Hosea 9:17).

History records that after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Both Isaiah and Ezekiel prophesied that Israel would be regathered in her land in the last days (Isaiah 11:11-12; Ezekiel 37:21). This happened in 1948AD when the nation of Israel was reestablished. The Jews continue to return to their land to this day. God told Abraham that those who cursed Israel would be cursed by God (Genesis 12:3). This prophecy has been fulfilled many times.

Israel 6 Day WarBabylon, Assyria, Philistia, the Roman Empire, and Nazi Germany are a few examples of nations or empires that persecuted and oppressed Israel. While the tiny nation of Israel still exists today, Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, the Roman Empire, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany have collapsed and are no longer in existence. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Nazi Germany had slaughtered six-million Jews and its war machine was devastating Europe. By 1948, Nazi Germany was nonexistent and the Jews had control of their homeland—the nation of Israel— for the first time since 586BC. Each of these prophecies has been fulfilled to the detail.

Many other biblical prophecies have also been fulfilled. It should also be noted that no futuristic prophecy of Scripture has ever been shown to be false. This separates the Bible from false prophets such as Edgar Cayce and Jean Dixon. Their success rate is much lower than the perfect accuracy of the predictions made by the Bible. Henry Morris made the following comment: It seems reasonable to conclude that the phenomenon of fulfilled prophecy constitutes a unique and powerful evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible.

The evidence provided above for the Bible being God’s Word is threefold. First, Jesus (who is God) taught that the Bible is God’s Word. Second, the Bible contains insights that go beyond mere human wisdom. Third, the Bible made numerous predictions, many of which have been fulfilled. None of these predictions have proven false (though some prophecies have yet to be fulfilled). In short, there are good reasons for believing the Bible is God’s Word. Those who reject the divine inspiration of the Bible have failed to explain the three factors above.

Seven Great Apologists: Walter Martin on the Unity School of Christianity

December 27th, 2013

This is an excerpt from chapter six of Dr. Fernandes’ 2011 book, Seven Great Apologists.

THE UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY

Unity LogoThe Unity School of Christianity is an offshoot of Christian Science. Founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, this cult teaches that man is divine; all have the “Christ-consciousness” within them. Unity views Jesus as merely a man who exercised his Christ consciousness more than any other man. Sin, the devil, and eternal punishment do not exist; they are illusions. Salvation in the Unity cult is through reincarnation, and everyone will eventually be saved. Unlike Christian Science, the Unity School of Christianity does believe in the existence of the physical world.

Unity CircleThe teaching of the Unity cult can be refuted in much the same fashion as those of Christian Science. However, a scriptural refutation of reincarnation should be added when dealing with Unity. The Bible teaches that it is appointed for a man to die once, not many times (Hebrews 9:27). The Word of God makes it clear that Jesus alone was punished for our sins (Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18); man does not need to be purged for his own sins through reincarnation. Jesus clearly taught that a deceased person cannot return to this world for a second chance (Luke 16:19-31).

30 Seconds With Dr. Fernandes: Will You Leave Also?

December 19th, 2013

When so many others left, the 12 disciples decided to stay. But why?

30 Seconds With Dr. Fernandes: Atheism Is Doomed

November 25th, 2013

Atheism isn’t a destination. It’s a stopover on the road back to paganism.

30 Seconds With Dr. Fernandes: Apathy and Hate for Jesus

November 25th, 2013

Not many have loved Jesus. Many have hated him. Many are apathetic. What do you say about Jesus?

30 Seconds With Dr. Fernandes – How Will You Answer?

November 21st, 2013

The question is one asked by many men. What is your reply?

30 Seconds With Dr. Fernandes: The Trinity

November 21st, 2013

Is there a verse about the Trinity in the New Testament?

30 Seconds With Dr. Fernandes: Baptism

November 20th, 2013

The devil is not happy with baptism. Devotion to Jesus does not go unnoticed by the evil one.

Chris Date and Phil Fernandes Debate Hell

October 7th, 2013

On Saturday, September 28th, 2013, Chris Date and Dr. Phil Fernandes debated the proposition, “The punishment of hell will be annihilation: the everlasting loss of life and conscious existence.” Chris Date affirmed, articulating and defending conditional immortality and annihilationism. Dr. Fernandes denied, articulating and defending the traditional view of hell as eternal torment.

Both presenters’ opening statements, first rebuttals and notes are available in a book available at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1492….