Two Kingdoms

I find myself increasingly torn over the political issues that have plagued us lately.  Suddenly, it’s wrong to believe a certain way in our nation, which has freedom of religion written into its foundational documents.  In many cases, it’s considered “politically incorrect” to hold a Christian worldview.  The hypocrisy of the “PC” movement so painfully evident that I am simply baffled that more people don’t see it.  But I digress.  My purpose in writing is not political.  At least, not in the manner in which you are probably thinking.  Now if you consider the relationship between two kingdoms, or conflicting sets of ideologies, or citizens of one nation residing in another nation, then perhaps this is a political post after all.

To begin, I would like to take a moment to address the overwhelming plague of Biblical illiteracy in the Western Church.  Those of you who say something is “okay” when the Bible clearly says that it is not, shame on you.  Those of you who pick and choose what verses of the Bible you like and disregard the rest, shame on you.  Those of you who take passages of the Bible out of context to fit into your own preconceived idea of what you think God is or should be, shame on you.  God is who He reveals Himself to be.  You don’t need to interpret what He is from the Bible.  And let me tell you, the Bible probably doesn’t fit into your political agendas as neat as you would like to think it does.  The prime example, and probably the most abused subject in the Bible, is the issue of judgment.  Non-believers and watered down Christians scream and shout that it is wrong to judge and that our own Bible tells us not to.  Wrong!  It does, in fact, tell us to judge.  It merely instructs us on how we should judge.  For instance, the non-believer is condemned already (John 3:18).  This means, for these individuals, that no further judgment is necessary.  Their specific sins are of no matter to us, whose only mission at this point is to spread the Gospel.  Now regarding those who call themselves Christians that knowingly live in sin, this is another matter of judgment entirely.  And our judgement on them is tougher.  Iron sharpens iron.  All I am stressing here is know what it is that you say you believe.  Read your Bible.  Flee from false doctrines, especially those that are easily identified by a basic understanding of the Bible.  In this day in age, where so many resources are literally at our fingertips, you have no excuse.

With this in mind, how do we interact with a world that greets us with a scorn that increases day-by-day?  I believe that this, in part, is our own faults.  As a society that was based on Christian ideals, we have compromised over and over again.  Now many people are living however they like, contrary to how the Bible says we should live.  What ever shall we do?  Actually, I have a more appropriate question.  Why should we expect nonbelievers to live their lives according to the Bible?  Is it really that surprising and shocking that people who have shunned the Bible do not care what we have to say about how they should be living?  Think about this a moment.  Take as long as you need.  We attack their choices in life whether it be drug habits, sex life, alcohol abuse, use of language, etc.  Fill in the blank with whatever doesn’t agree with you.  But therein lies our mistakes.  This is where we as Christians falter and fail.  This is where we push them away.  Ladies and gentlemen, the problem does not lie with their life choices.  The problem lies with their world view which acts as the foundation in which they have built all of their ideals on.  You cannot merely trim the limbs of a tree and expect it to fall.  You cannot hurl rocks at the towers of a castle and expect to breach the walls.  You have to cut the tree at the trunk and sever it from its roots.  Crack the foundation of the castle and it will crumble.  You must understand that there are two kingdoms in coexistence.  The Christians are of one Kingdom, and the nonbelievers are of an entirely different kingdom.  How can we in our right minds expect members of one kingdom to follow the commandments and ideals of another opposing kingdom?  The simple answer is that we can’t.  As much as I love my nation, the United States of America, it is not of the Kingdom of God.  So why should I expect it to pass and enforce laws based solely on Biblical principals?  While I admit that I would love to see that, it is simply illogical to expect it.  Before you can expect others to follow Biblical principals, they must first leave their kingdom and become a citizens of God’s Kingdom.  Allegiance must change before a lifestyle will change.  And for those that say that their allegiance has changed yet their lifestyle has not, well, the proof is in the pudding as they say.

I’m sure that everyone has seen those “coexist” bumper stickers.  Then there are those that scream and shout for unity.  It all sounds like common sense on the surface.  It sounds like a great idea.  Why should we not pursue such an idea?  Lets delve deeper into the issue and find out.  While I wholeheartedly believe in the idea of coexistence, this idea does not seem to hold the same meaning for some.  The fact that we all exist and live amongst each other already shows that we coexist.  True, there are some that don’t want to coexist, but my point here is not to single those groups out.  We’ll leave that others to do, since there are already so many that point their fingers so well.  We can all live peacefully together, and yet not agree on all things.  We can all live amongst each other, and at the same time refuse to approve of each other’s life choices.  Because to believe that every singe person in our vastly growing population will agree on everything and accept each others life decisions is complete and utter foolishness.  It will never happen.  Where’s the math majors?  What are the odds of that happening?  But we can go about are lives and treat each other like human beings, practicing courtesy and common respect.  This idea I am all for.  Where do I sign up?  As for unity, where is there unity for the Christian?  It should be in the Body of Christ.  What does that mean?  It means that, while we live amongst the world, we will never have unity with it.  It is impossible to do so as a Christian.  Read Matthew Chapter 10.  Christ Himself said that he brings division.  Think about it.  We as believers are called out from the world.  We are called to be lamps in the darkness, a city on a hill, the salt of the Earth.  We are not a part of the darkness.  The separation of light and dark is one of the most clearly defined divisions.  Christians are called to walk with Christ.  We are called out from the nations to be a people set apart for Him, even to the point of pursuing holiness before happiness.  In fact, the word “holy” in Greek (hagios) literally means different and set apart?  This implies that for the Christian, there can be no unity with the world, as it means to those who are calling for it.  We may walk the streets of one kingdom, but we are citizens of a different Kingdom.  We are here temporarily.  While we’re here, we simply invite as many as we can to join us in our Kingdom.

While we’re in this world, this other kingdom, we have a mission.  The Great Commission.  While I’ll humbly admit, I don’t always work towards the Great Commission.  I do understand the importance of it.  I also understand what it is like to feel discouraged, when our society grows more and more hostile towards proselytizing.  Let’s take a look at the examples we have in the Bible.  Enoch preached for hundreds of years before being taken up.  Noah preached the whole time he built the ark prior to the flood.  Yet only his family believed.  God Himself, in the form of Jesus Christ, preached for several years prior to His crucifixion.  Yet people still did not believe.  So the Biblical patriarchs preached with little conversions.  And God Himself preached to the crowds, and was crucified by His own “priests.”  What does that say about us when we witness to others with little success?  So do not be dismayed.  First you must define success.  We are not able to convict the heart of another.  Many will not accept the Lord, and that is heart-breaking.  So we cannot define success by an action that is not within our ability.  So what is it?  The answer is spreading the Gospel.  That is what we are called to do.  So in doing so, we succeed in fulfilling the scope of our mission.  The Holy Spirit convicts the heart.  The Holy Spirit makes the “plant” grow.  We are to merely cast the seeds.  Humble yourselves, embrace your inadequacies, and then leave the Holy Spirit to do His work.

Keep these things in mind.  Do not be a part of this growing apostasy and Biblical illiteracy.  Know what you believe.  Read your Bible.  Do not expect someone to change their lifestyle without first addressing the foundation of their worldview.  Do not expect them to live by Biblical principals when they are nonbelievers.  Seek out proper coexistence, but never compromise where your faith is concerned.  Always remember that you are a people set apart from the world as followers of Christ.  Do not forsake Him, because He did not forsake you on the cross.

 

Ever Onward, Brothers and Sisters

-JCH

 

Comparing Primary Teachings

primary-teachings

 

One should take care when basing your world views on mere memes, no doubt created by someone with very little knowledge (if any) of all the religions represented above.  However, before I pick apart this meme that was probably made with good intentions in mind, I will acknowledge the common ground mentioned.

The Golden Rule as mentioned and cited in the image at a glance appears to be reflected in these other major religions.  Let me say that it is an extremely noble effort to treat others well, and to find the common ground which we can all agree in at least some part.  I have no issue with all of mankind getting along in spite of our many differences.  To strive to treat others the way you would like to be treated is an admirable pursuit, no matter what creed you follow.  If you  aspire to this, then I salute you.

That being said, we must get to the real issue at hand here.  The problem with this meme is that it claims that the Golden Rule is the primary teaching of Christianity.  That is simply a false statement.  While it is an important Christian teaching, it is not the primary one.  And if you have been taught that this is the primary teaching of Christ, then you have been misled.  If you are being taught this, then I urge you to seek a new teacher.  I urge you to read the Bible for yourself, and you will see that this is not the case.

The image cites Matthew 7:12.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This is only a small part of the often misquoted Matthew chapter 7.  This whole excerpt is about judgement, and how to go about it with a Biblical mindset.  But this is not the primary teaching for Christians.

So what is the primary teaching?  If you read the Bible in earnest, the most important parts do not involve how we treat others.  The most important parts are in fact dealing with our relationship with God.  Allow me to cite the words of Jesus:

Mark 12:28-30   –   And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.     (Emphasis added)

Immediately following this, Jesus says that the Golden Rule is secondary to this most important teaching.

Mark 12:31   –   The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

So you see, while the Golden Rule is quite important and shouldn’t be ignored, it is not the primary teaching for Christians.  The primary teaching is to love the Lord your God.

So what does this mean?  It means that this immediately sets Christianity apart from these other religions.  Why?  Because Christians are told to love God.  Christians are also taught that Jesus Christ Himself is God in the flesh.  This is what sets Christianity apart.  Because we are forced to look at what the other religions say about God, and about Jesus Christ.  No other religion acknowledges the deity of Jesus Christ.  And only Christianity says that  Jesus Christ is the only Way, and the only Truth.

So while a lot of religions may in fact contain partial truths, when it comes to the ultimate truth, only the full and complete Truth matters.  Before you ask me who I am to judge, I will say that I did not judge.  God already has, and I am merely relaying the information presented to us in the Holy Bible.  And regarding the Golden Rule, I if there was an ultimate Truth that affected my eternity, I would want someone to inform me.  If they truly believed that I was bound for hell, I would want them to warn me with a caring heart.  So by pointing out this error, I am treating others the way I would want to be treated.

In regards to the image above, if it is wrong about the primary teaching of Christianity, then what else does it have wrong?  No matter the common ground and partial truth that is listed above, are these in fact the primary teachings and pursuits of these other religions?  Where there is commonality, one should take note.  However, where they differ, they differ drastically.

Therefore I urge you to seek not partial truths, but to seek the whole truth.

 

-JCH

Wives Must Submit To Their Husbands

Did the title catch your attention?  Are you seething with anger at my blatant chauvinism and my obsolete way of thinking from an age and culture long passed?  Hold that thought. There is a great deal of resentment towards how the Bible speaks of a woman’s submission to her husband.  And in many cases, for good reason.  Why?  Because in many cases, these verses are taken out of context.  Many times man has abused his position as head of his household.  And people tend to notice just the parts where the woman submits to her husband’s authority.  But that does not mean that the man is to become authoritarian in his affairs.  Let’s take a look and see what the Bible actually says about the husband’s responsibility.

Ephesians 5:25-31
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and with blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the Church, because we are members of this body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Pay close attention.  Particularly to the word “cherishes.”  Cherish.  “To feel or show great love for; to remember or hold in a deeply felt way” (Webster).  “To treat with affection and tenderness” (thefreedictionary.com).  “To protect and care for lovingly” (oxforddictionaries.com).  Look at any definition of the word “cherish,” and you will never find anything negative about it.  The husband is to cherish his wife as he cherishes his self.  So any husband who lives by this simply by this word alone will not be abusive or act selfishly to his wife.  He is to be selfless.  As Christ did for the church.  For God Himself left His position of authority and took on human flesh, got on His knees and washed His followers’ feet.  And He willingly laid down His own life for the church.  The husband is called to do the same.  Husbands, we are to humble ourselves.  We are to deny ourselves and serve the needs of our wives.  We are to care for our wives.  Love them unconditionally.  And if need be, lay down our lives for them.  While we are the head of the house, we put our wives’ needs ahead of our own.  God pursued the church, and made the church His priority.  We as husbands should also pursue our wives and make them a priority in our lives.

What, I ask, is more endearing than that?  Why would a woman not want to submit to a love like that?  You see, the Bible does not say that a woman should submit to abusiveness and live to serve her husband as “lower-class” citizen.  She is to be the second most important person in his life.  Second only to God.  And if a man pursues God, he will always treat his wife the way she should be treated. With utmost respect, sincerity, and unconditional love.

-JCH

The Greatest Gift, Remembered

I’m haven’t really had a chance to write in a while.  I apologize for that, but life happens.  But I was thinking about this week and the coming Easter holiday, and decided that there is no better time or subject to write about.

When thinking about God, I sometimes follow a particular train of thought that helps me put things in perspective.  Do you know those websites or apps that compare the size of objects in space?  It starts by comparing the size of the Earth to the moon and the closer planets.  Then you scroll out and compares the size of the Earth to the outer planets.  Then it compares Jupiter to the Sun.  Then goes on to compare the size of various stars that make our sun look tiny.  After the stars it shows nebulas, galaxies and galaxy clusters, and eventually it shows the known universe.  It really is an awesome thing to see, and it humbles you.  It really shows how insignificant and small we really are in this great big universe.  But that is just the creation.  I then expand my feeling of awe when I think of the One that created it all.  He, being not bound by His vast creation, and is omnipresent, is bigger still than all of it.  Bigger in more ways than we can comprehend.  The power He has to create it all is baffling, yet it is all done at the mere command of His voice.  As I meditate on these things, I truly get a sense of just how awesome God is.  Even so, I acknowledge that itself as an understatement.

After I have put creation in proper perspective, I move on to God’s interaction with His creation.  I think of how we will swat a fly with out a second thought, because a house fly seems so insignificant to us.  It’s very lifespan is nothing compared ours.  Then I remember our little spec of existence in creation, and the vapor in the wind that our lives are.  God could look at us like we do flies.  And as the Creator, He has every authority to “swat” us as He pleases.  But what does He do instead?

Picture God in His position of greatness over all of creation.  Now He willingly stepped out of that position, to take on the insignificant human form, as Jesus, on our tiny spec of a planet.  God Almighty, the Great I AM, the Creator of that huge vast universe we spoke of earlier, got down on His knees in human form and washed the feet of His followers.  This being considered at that time a base task for the lowliest of servants.  Think about that a moment before continuing.

Jesus then willingly let Himself be beaten, insulted, shamed, and executed.  Executed by one of the most sadistic methods mankind has ever concocted.  He lived a perfect life.  He did no wrong.  Consider that next time you say life is unfair.  And in that moment in time, He was looking up and down the corridor of time and taking all of our sins and accepting the punishment for them.  He had our names on His mind.  He was thinking of His followers.  He was thinking of me.  He was thinking of you.  For God so loved YOU that He sent His Son, so that if YOU believed in Him YOU would not perish.  Because if we do not accept His sacrifice, then we ourselves must bear the punishment for our own iniquities.  And we do not possess the power over death and therefore cannot conquer it.

Think about the vastness of the known universe.  Think about the greatness of the Creator of that universe.  And remember this Sunday just how small He willingly made Himself, and what He subjected Himself to.  All because He loved us.  He loved us not because of what could become, but He loved us in our sinful state.  Because it is in our sinful state that He first calls to us.

The words here really do not do justice to what I feel when I follow this train of thought.  Awestruck wonder seems to fall short of the mark.  This week, I will remember how Jesus loved such a small insignificant spec in His creation enough to become human and experience a painful death so that I might live.  How will you remember Him this week?

 

-JCH

Misquoted – “The Root of All Evil”

Attacks abound on Christian beliefs and Bible verses.  People try to use our own Bible, the word of God, to try and undermine our faith.  The sad part is, the ridicule stemming from Bible verses tends to be born from a simple misunderstanding or an out of context quote.  Take the meme I saw the other day.  It says, “If money is the root of all evil, then why to churches ask for money every Sunday?”  A direct implication that Churches are somehow contradicting themselves.  Not true, I say.  At least do your homework before trying to undermine a group of people’s valued beliefs.  So where does this verse come from?  I’ll show you, that the Bible never says “money is the root of all evil.”

1 Timothy 6:10     (All emphasis added)

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred form the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  –  KJV

For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered form the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs.  –  AMP

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  –  NASV

So you see, it never says that money by itself is evil.  It says that the love of money, the longing, the coveting of money is the root of all kinds of evil things.  Nothing is wrong with having money.  Nothing is wrong with being rich, if you are so blessed.  What is wrong is attitude.  What is wrong is if you have devoted your life to gaining money.  In fact, money can be a path to many blessings if you have the right attitude.  The last church I was a member of was very productive with the money that was freely given by the congregation.  Among the most notable things is the three orphanages that the church owns and operates in Eastern Europe.  Some of that money is used for local missions that help those in need that are closer to home.  Some of the money will obviously go to building upkeep.  After all, that eventually boils down to building codes and safety issues. Which of course would be unloving if a church put their congregation in any sort of danger because they did not upkeep the building.

So I say again, if you are a non-believer who wants to use up your time trying to tear down beliefs of others, at least do your homework and don’t use a misquoted Bible verse.  And to believers, you also do your homework so you can defend your beliefs properly and correct these misconceptions on the spot.

I’m not asking everyone to believe what I do.  Though that would be nice, and at the very least I’m always willing to enter into a civil discussion.  But what I do ask for is that my beliefs be respected.  Everyone wants respect these days, and they want their opinions respected.  But many aren’t willing to give the same to those that they have demanded respect from.  It’s all rather hypocritical really.  If you don’t understand something, simply ask someone who can answer your question.  Ask me, I’d be more than happy to help people see what the Bible really says.  And if I don’t know, I can certainly find out and get back with you.

In conclusion:  Money is in fact not the root of all evil.  The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.  A heart and attitude poisoned by greed is the root of all sorts of evil.  If you’re living a life devoted to the accumulation of riches for yourself, take a look in the mirror and determine what your motives are in life.  There is a saying based off of a Bible verse, “Follow your wallet, and you’ll find where your heart is.”  If your heart is in the wrong place, money will likely lead you astray.  If your heart is in the right place, money cannot dissuade you from making the right choices.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  –  Matthew 6:21

God Bless.

-JCH

 

 

Letting In Refugees

[Author’s Note:  If you disagree with my opening statements, that’s okay.  Please read the post in its entirety before dismissing what I have to say.]

Allowing Muslim refugees into the country is a hot button issue lately.  Can we trust them?  Should we open our doors knowing that there may be wolves among the sheep?  It is a dangerous game.  I’ll admit, I lean conservative on almost all of my views.  And I think that anyone who is allowed within our own boarders needs to be scrutinized and looked at under a microscope before just letting them in.  Being cautious is wise, not intolerant.  The leaders of America have a duty to the safety and wellbeing of Americans first.  All others are secondary.  But let us say we let in the Muslim refugees.  Should we give them free run of our streets?  I don’t think so.  Should they be put up in five-star hotels at the expense of tax payers?  I don’t think so either.  If we are to allow them in, they should be placed in some type of camps where they can be watched. Their basic needs should be provided.  Shelter with heat and air, clean water, and food.  If they choose to live in the US permanently, well there’s a process for that.  And the resources for that process should be made available to them.  Should they begin the path to citizenship, then as a nation of immigrants I think we could welcome them as such.  But if in the name of tolerance, which the liberal left is screaming, why is there so much going around about the Christians from the Middle East that are being denied asylum in the US?  Where is the cry for tolerance on their behalf?  Isn’t it extremely hypocritical to deny one group but blindly cater to another group in the name of tolerance?  In fact if tolerance is the battle cry here, why should it matter what their religion or nationality or ethnicity is?  That shouldn’t even be a factor.  The needs of the people asking for help should be the only factor.  Acknowledging the differences of any two groups and not treating the same is not practicing tolerance.  It is promoting segregation and discrimination.  Haven’t we grown past that?  Aren’t we better than that now? Apparently not.  So in my humble opinion, if we can’t offer the same asylum to every group asking for help, I don’t think we should offer it to any group.  At the very least we’d be treating them the same.

But let’s say I deny my own humble opinion, and look at the situation as a Christian through a Biblical lens.  How might that change my outlook on this scenario?  I’ve thought a lot on the matter.  Yes, there is danger in letting outsiders in.  There very well could be wolves among the sheep.  And I believe that there are.  But those of us that are conservatives who claim to hold to our Christian values, what are we to do about that?  I look at all the stories where good Christian families have opened their homes to strangers.  They’ve allowed former convicts to stay in their homes.  They foster troubled children and treat them as their own children.  And they didn’t do this without fear.  There were dangers.  But they were obedient to God.  And God has moved in the lives of those opening their homes, as well as those who were welcomed with open arms.  How should that inspire us on a national level?  And what does the Bible say about such things?

Hebrews 13:2  –  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Romans 12:20,21  –  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

These, just to name two passages.  If you claim to hold Christian values then you cannot deny that we are called to offer aide to those in need, even if our enemies are among them.  That is not saying that we should trust them blindly.  We should be wise and take precaution, because we are obligated to protect our own.  But, we can be cautious and still help those in need.  Saul of Tarsus was once dangerous to Christians.  He tracked them down and had them executed.  Imagine the first Christian household that was asked to take in the newly blinded Saul.  From there on out we know him as Paul, one of the greatest fathers of the Church.  When we obey God, He moves and works in ways that we do not have the foresight to see.  What if among the refugees, we have another Paul in the making.  He or she might have done terrible things, and could possibly do more terrible things.  But they have the potential to do great things in the name of the True God.  We need only do our part.  I look at the refugees, and I am afraid of the bad things that could happen.  But I also look at them, and I see men and women that are created in the image of God.  I see human beings, no matter what label they give themselves.  They should be treated as such.  They are in need.  Christians of the nation, we need to walk the walk if we are going to talk the talk.  Our Christian values give us no option but to help.  This is an opportunity to share the love of God.  And in doing so we will be taking the fight to the enemy. Because those people are not the enemy.  The evil forces of this world, sin, the demons and the devil that walk among us, they are the enemy.  And I assure you that they don’t want us showing love to anyone.  They want us who call ourselves Christians to turn our backs on those in need, and they want to laugh at us and mock God when we do so.

A little bit of thought with an open Bible in hand can change your world view.  So take some time to think on these things.  We used to run to the phrase, “What would Jesus do?”  Well?  What would He do?  Are we to avoid the beaten stranger in the road because he is not one of us?  Take some time to consider just who our enemy is.  I now think, with strict precaution taken, that we should allow refugees in.  Not in the name of tolerance, but in the name of Christianity.  Because that is what I think Jesus would do. Notice I didn’t say Muslim refugees, but just refugees.  Because they are human beings that need help.  It would give us a chance to share God’s love with our fellow man.  And if we as Christians believe that they are lost because of their denial of the Christ, then we have a free opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus with them here in a way that they might not have been able to receive it in the land from which they came.

Something to think about. God Bless.

-JCH

Regarding The “Gospel” of Barnabas

[Editor’s Note:  It has been pointed out to me that this post was misleading in the beginning.  Let me point out from the beginning that I am in no way endorsing the false “Gospel” of Barnabas.]

 

I saw this being passed around social media toady.  Take a moment and read.

http://www.truth-code.com/2014/12/1500-year-old-bible-claims-jesus-christ.html

[Editor’s Note:  I began by providing the original article for the purpose of showing what it was that I was writing about.  This way, the reader has the option to look over the material in question.]

I find it presumptuous to say that the Vatican is in awe.  Though I do not speak for the Vatican, nor does it speak for me.  So I looked into the claim.  The first thing I notice is that it says that Jesus was not crucified nor was He the Son of God, but a prophet.  According to this, Judas was crucified in His place.  I read a verse from this “gospel” and it says that the appearance and sound of Judas was changed to be like that of Jesus.  Jesus in turn supposedly ran away and hid, and was then taken away by archangels.  This “gospel” also calls Paul a fraud.

[Editor’s Note:  In the previous paragraph, I merely mention some of the claims of this document.  In the following paragraph, I point out the terrible implications of these claims.  I then provide a couple of my own thoughts on why this document is simply not true.]

Allow me to pick through this for a minute.  Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this is the case and the book is genuine.  Jesus said that the greatest act of love was for one to give his life for another.  Which is exactly what the Bible teaches that Jesus did, by giving His life for all of us.  This writing implies that God did not perform the greatest act of love.  It says that God did not even come to Earth in the flesh.  What are the implications of this thought?  They are quite terrible actually.  First, we must do away with Isaiah’s suffering servant.  That prophecy clearly will not fit here.  A perfect sacrifice as symbolized by the Jewish sacrificial system was not performed in Jesus, and in turn our sins are not washed away, and we are all still slaves under the Law and living in sin.  We cannot  hope to save ourselves and we are all doomed to Hell.  Now let us look at the Apostles, who all but one died very horrible deaths for what they believed.  Which was the risen Christ.  Of course anyone can die for something they believe, even if what they believe is wrong.  But consider this, the apostles were in a position to know the truth.  Therefore, they would have been teaching a known lie.  In doing so, they would in the end have died for a lie.  This is something quite different.  They had nothing to gain in dying for what they knew was a lie.  And they had everything to lose in teaching the lie.  Not something very many people would do, especially eleven people all at once.  I’m quite sure had it been a lie, someone would have squealed.  But there is silence from these Church fathers in terms of refute.  Also, what of the body of Judas?  Had this not been Jesus, all the authorities would have to do is examine the body after the supposed sightings of a risen Jesus.  They would have know something was up and would have exposed the conspiracy.  But they had no body to examine.  The tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers.  It is highly unlikely that a group of common fishermen got past them to roll away a huge sealed stone from the tomb and stole the body of an imposter.  In fact, the empty tomb itself is one of the greatest pieces of evidence of the day.  If there were no empty tomb, it is highly improbable that the first community of believers would grow by the thousands within the walls of Jerusalem.  With the tomb a stone’s throw away, they could easily go and witness the tomb.  If it was sealed, or a body was present, the credibility and growth of the new Church would have been doomed from the start and we would not have Christianity today.

This is my own initial views of the matter, and the “problem” dissolved into nothing after considering the validity of the “gospel.”  But still I looked further, and I found an article on the very subject.  Take a few minutes to check it out.

http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Answer/barnabas.html

[Editor’s Note:  I begin the conclusion of this post with another article that discusses this document in some detail, and it points out why it is clearly a fabricated piece.]

Of course there will always be those who have something to say about it.  They will claim to have no bias regarding the issue.  But I find it quite rare that a person in these situations are without bias.

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God.”   – Acts 5:27-39  (Emphasis added)

There will always be someone who tries to say Christianity is false.  They will likely not listen to any evidence that disproves or contradicts their theories.  If Christianity is of man, it will fail one day.  But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop it.  And in trying, you will find yourself opposing God Himself.

-JCH

[Editor’s Note:  I hope that the few added notes on this post help prevent future misunderstandings on where I stand in regards to the subject discussed.  Thank you for reading and come back anytime.]