"Don't Believe It"
October 1, 2012
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a Gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8
In grade school we heard about the pilgrims. From their own writings, we learned about their sufferings and the work they did in trying to establish a persecution-free foothold of religious freedom in the new world.
As you think about those events, they probably seem to be long ago and far away. If that's the case for you, I encourage you to keep that in mind, as I share with you an event that recently rocked some folks in the religious world.
It seems a scrap of papyrus, a document written hundreds of years after Jesus' ministry, has recently come to light. That controversial fragment -- smaller than a 3 x 5 card -- contains the words, "Jesus said to them, my wife ...."
Karen King of the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says, "Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim. ... This new gospel doesn't prove that Jesus was married, but ...."
According to her words, Dr. King has a "new gospel." It is a Gospel that talks about Jesus being married. Wow!
What Dr. King doesn't share is this:
1. The document was written hundreds of years after Jesus and the apostles walked the earth. That would be like me writing a history of Plymouth colony and expecting my work to be valued as highly as the manuscripts of the pilgrims, who actually lived through those days.
2. The document was composed by the Gnostics, a group which claimed to have received special revelations, revelations not in the Bible. The Gnostics were eventually condemned as heretics.
3. A single document, with a few unfinished sentences, can hardly be put on the same level as Scripture's four Gospels, which the early church reproduced in great numbers.
4. The reason there may be only one copy of this document is that it was so out of line nobody thought copying it was worthwhile.
My friends, 2,000 years ago, St. Paul warned about people who would someday show up on the doorstep of Christianity and say, "I have another Gospel -- one which is different than anything else you have read and learned."
Under the Holy Spirit's guidance, Paul's pen wanted to warn those who came after him that the devil could be quite creative in trying to undermine the story of salvation. Right now, we are seeing some of that creativity in action.
This is why, no matter what you have or will hear, when it comes to the message of salvation, I encourage you to look to the Scriptures, which tell of God's great love and the Savior's sacrifice.
Only in those Gospels will you find the story of eternal life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Thy Word is truth. May I rely upon that Word and always believe on the Savior whose life was sacrificed to save mine. I also ask that You will keep from spiritual harm any who might be tempted to follow after false "gospels." In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries