Over the weekend, I read an article about an ancient manuscript they recently found. The headline read: “1,500 year old manuscript rocks Christian Church!”
According to the article, this newly discovered manuscript is the Gospel According to Barnabas, and dismisses the Apostle Paul, claims Judas was actually crucified and more critically, states that Jesus did not die on a cross but was just taken up to heaven.
It claimed that the church has been “rocked” because if Christ was not crucified, then it essentially breaks the major doctrines of the church. The article referenced the Roman Catholic Church particularly, and how the Vatican will be examining the manuscript carefully and were even accused of trying to suppress its contents.
This Gospel of Barnabas dates back to around 500 AD and the article claims it is “genuine.” It was written in Aramaic and this somehow lends credibility to it. As well as the article itself, there were many comments saying such things as “At last! The truth comes out!” Some even claimed that the person of Jesus never even existed, let alone anything the Bible says about who He was.
Much of the article’s claims are clearly false. I see no reason why the church would be rocked by this. This is not the first, nor I suspect will it be the last such manuscript to be unearthed and dispute the Christian faith. There are a number of ancient works not included in our Bible which make all kinds of claims. Most of them never made it into the Bible because they were questionable at best.
They cite this as an ancient work, written 1,500 years ago and the age alone somehow gives it credibility. The manuscript, if accurately dated, was written some 450 years after the time of Christ. The Gospel of Mark was written around 70 AD and some of the original readers might well have been alive at the time of the events described in its words.
Old it may be, but it is not as old as the Gospels we know and rely on in the Bible. Many historical texts were written years and years after the events, but not some of the biblical ones. Had someone just made up the Gospel of Mark, then those living at the time would have verified it and dismissed it as nonsense. Yet we still read it today, and we can trust its contents.
People are rather quick to believe the claims of this new work, dismissing the traditional and established history. What people fail to realise is that many have set out to disprove the Christian faith, and yet it stills stands. Seriously scholarly effort leads to having to face the claims of Christ and a whole lot of evidence supporting them.
I am not certain what the author of the article means by saying the work is “genuine.” Genuine does not mean true, and even if properly dated and authenticated as a real work of history, then it still does not equate to being true. I can write down a total fabrication and if someone finds it in a thousand years, claim it to be a genuine handwritten note from Andy Brown… but that does not make its contents a reality.
If this newly found gospel, which is no gospel at all, were true, then it leads us to ask an important question about the Apostles. If they were there and knew that Christ did not die, why would they themselves surrender themselves to death in belief of it? IF they knew it was false, they would not have given up their lives for it. There is no benefit to them of doing this.
If you have set your mind against believing in Jesus Christ, then there is little I can say to change it. Anything I argue will be disputed or ignored. Those looking for an excuse not to believe will welcome this Gospel of Barnabas with open arms, and are glad to undermine the church’s teaching.
Do not be closed minded. Even if you remain unconvinced, do not just believe what others have told you. Investigate it for yourself. If you take an honest look at the claims of the Bible, I think you will be surprised how coherent and convincing they are.
Don’t take my word for it though, find out for yourself.