Were these writings found at Nag Hammadi evidence of the fact that the early church opposed and attempted to eliminate what it understood to be false teachings? Of course. That is what the church said it was doing and what the Apostles called upon the church to do. The believing church did not see heresy as an irritation — it saw heterodoxy as spiritual death. Those arguing for the superiority of the Gnostic texts deny the divine inspiration of the New Testament and prefer the heterodox teachings of the Gnostic heretics. Hauntingly, the worldview of the ancient Gnostics is very similar, in many respects, to various worldviews and spiritualities around us today.

The energy behind all this is directed to the replacement of orthodox Christianity, its truth claims, its doctrines, its moral convictions, and its vision of both history and eternity with a secularized — indeed, Gnositicized — new version.

Just look at the attention this tiny fragment of papyrus. Its few words and broken phrases are supposed to cast doubt on the New Testament and the doctrines of orthodox Christianity. A tiny little fragment which, even if authentic, dates from the fourth century, is placed over against the four New Testament gospels, all written within decades of Jesus’s earthy ministry.

“The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”? Not hardly. This is sensationalism masquerading as scholarship. Nevertheless, do not miss what all this really represents — an effort to replace biblical Christianity with an entirely new faith.

Ariel Sabar, “The Inside Story of a Controversial New Text About Jesus,” Smithsonian, Tuesday, September 18, 2012.http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Inside-Story-of-the-Controversial-New-Text-About-Jesus-170177076.html

Lisa Wangsness, “Harvard Professor Identifies Scrap of Papyrus Suggesting Some Early Christians Believed Jesus Was Married,” The Boston Globe, Tuesday, September 18, 2012.http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2012/09/18/harvard-professor-identifies-scrap-papyrus-suggesting-some-early-christians-believed-jesus-was-married/dZJ1sIJCay8b8cra30wfQK/story.html

Laurie Goodstein, “A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’s Wife,” The New York Times, Tuesday, September 18, 2012.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/historian-says-piece-of-papyrus-refers-to-jesus-wife.html?pagewanted=all

Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King, Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (New York: Viking, 2007).

Karen L. King, The Secret Revelation to John (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006).

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler.

Publication date: September 20, 2012