Some conspiracy theorists, fiction-writers, filmmakers, and revisionist historians would like us to believe that the books we have in our New Testament were selected by prejudiced or ignorant church leaders from among hundreds of competing gospels, letters, and other Christian writings that were just as good—if not better—representations of Christianity. These people often claim that the biblical books were selected to support one group's theology, and that if other books would have been chosen, Christianity today would be completely different—more diverse and tolerant. However, the truth is that the earliest Christians knew which writings of the New Testament were authentic early writings, penned by apostles or their followers, containing true accounts and doctrines of the Christian faith (also see "Did a Council of Bishops Vote on Your Bible?").
What, then, can we say of the so-called “lost books” like the Gnostic Nag Hammadi writings? These are all later books written by heretical sects or false teachers, often forgeries that were falsely attributed to apostles who had been long dead by the time the books were written. Even non-Christian scholars admit that the New Testament books we have in the Bible are the earliest and most authentic Christian writings available, and that all of the so-called “lost Scriptures” are later, inauthentic writings that present doctrines at odds with the biblical view of Jesus. The strange — even bizarre —stories contained in these writings certainly fall under the category of “cleverly devised tales,” as Peter called them in 2 Peter 1:16. If you were to pick up a copy of these “lost writings,” you’d instantly recognize that the accounts are decorated with far-fetched myths and legends.
Michael J. Svigel received his master of theology in New Testament and doctor of philosophy in Theological Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). He currently serves as associate professor of Theological Studies at DTS, teaching Theology and Church History. Prior to accepting his position at the seminary in 2007, he worked as a writer in the Creative Ministries Department at Insight for Living Ministries. Mike and his wife, Stephanie, are parents of three children.
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