What Are Christians to Believe?
Gary D. Perry
The title for this article is taken from the cover of the April 8, 1996 issue of Time magazine. "Some scholars are debunking the Gospels" was also printed on the cover with a background of what some artist considers to be a picture of what Jesus looked like. Inside the magazine eight pages were devoted to the findings of the "Jesus Seminar" which is described as "the 75-person, self appointed Seminar." They deny everything from the betrayal kiss of Judas to the resurrection, they describe Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as "notoriously unreliable" and at one point Jesus is said to be "an imaginative theological construct."
Certainly this type of attack on Jesus is not new, "For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together" (Mark 14:57). But this attack in Time was not the only one, sadly two other major news magazines also ran cover stories similar to this one. These three magazines prominently display the scoffings of a "75-person, self appointed Seminar" while ignoring the writings of some forty authors, appointed by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit, who wrote the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, both in perfect harmony, over a period of more than 1500 years.
The dictionary defines a scholar as (1) A person eminent for learning, (2) One who does authoritive research and writing. But after reading the nonsense and utter trash that these "scholars" put forth, I think that a better description can be found in 2 Peter as Peter writes concerning false teachers "who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of' (2 Pet. 2:1-2). Or as the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy he said, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is ac-cording to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth . . ." (1 Tim. 6:34).
As Solomon once said, "There is nothing new under the sun," so this is not the first time someone has tried to discredit the word of God. Unfortunately some who are weak may read one of the articles and be deceived and find cause to doubt. But we must "stand fast in the Lord" and "be not moved away from the hope of the gospel." "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18). As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. 4:15).
What are Christians to believe? The answer is obvious, we are to believe truth. Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). The words of Jesus that these "scholars" are throwing out will someday come back to haunt them. "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). So let us ignore these doubters and their vain teachings and stand on God's word, "which is able to save your souls." When the most famous doubter of all came face to face with Jesus and had the opportunity to examine his wounds, Thomas answered and said unto him, "My Lord and my God." Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:28-31).
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 18, p. 10