Are there any lost gospels?

The archaeological efforts of the 19th and early 20th century resulted in the discovery of many ancient texts discussing the life of Jesus and the first century church. These texts have been called the “lost gospels.” Some of them were truly lost for hundreds of years and have only recently been rediscovered. Another set of books are mentioned in ancient writings but no copies of them exist today. These writings are truly lost. The big question is not if ancient writings about Jesus have been lost or recently rediscovered. The big question is if these writings are gospels.

What is meant by gospels are authoritative, Scriptural records of the life of Jesus. For something to be truly Scriptural it must be inspired by God. Those writings which are truly God’s Word bear certain marks. The Word of God is true, accurate and does not contradict any other portion of God’s Word. Do the lost gospels bear the evidences of being God’s Word?

Some of the rediscovered writings were written within one hundred years of the life of Jesus. Some possibly earlier. Their closeness to the life of Jesus makes them worth considering as credible witnesses of Him. Over a dozen known, early works claim to give additional information about the life of Jesus. Certainly the Bible does not tell everything about the life of Jesus. Scripture tells us it left things out. “And there also many other things that Jesus did.” (John 21:25) Most of Jesus’ life is not recorded in the Bible. Aside from His birth and a short episode when He was twelve, the Bible says nothing about the first 30 years of Jesus’ life. The other writings claim to fill in those gaps.

These “lost” writings may present new information about the life of Jesus, but they are not gospels. They were not treasured by the church or accepted as Scripture. They were rejected by the early church. These lost writings were rejected because they were not written by an apostle. In many cases the author is not known. One key standard for determining if a book is truly from God is if it was written under the direction of a prophet or an apostle. (Ephesians 2:20; 2 Peter 1:21)

The lost gospels were rejected because they contain information that contradicts the known Scriptures. Most of them teach a theology called gnosticism. Gnosticism was a heresy that crept into the church soon after the resurrection of Jesus. Gnosticism taught that the Christian makes spiritual progress by receiving sudden revelation of new truths directly into the person’s spirit. According to gnosticism salvation is gained as the person escapes the physical realm by the increase of knowledge. The gnostic gospels teach a view of the world and salvation that is directly opposed to the teachings of the Bible. In gnosticism, Jesus is not sufficient to save the person from sin. In gnosticism, Jesus is not the eternal God who created all things. The “lost” gospels were rejected because they teach false doctrine. As a result, they were never accepted by the church as truly the Word of God.

The gospels in the Bible are included because they are God’s Word. No other Scriptural gospels exist. God promised to protect and preserve His Word. (Psalm 119:89-91) The church rightly expects God’s Word to always be available to the church. No portion of it will be lost for a significant period of time. Four gospels are included in the New Testament. These same gospels have been recognized as Biblical since the earliest days of the church. The books in the Bible have been preserved by God as His true Word written by holy men of God who wrote as they were directed by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21) No lost gospels exist. Only rejected gospels.

Is There Any Evidence for Noah’s Flood?

Beginning in the sixth chapter of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, Scripture tells about a great flood which destroyed the whole world and about a man who built a ship in which he and all kinds of animals were saved from destruction. The claim of an globe covering flood is incredible. Nothing remotely close to it has been recorded at any other time in human history. The most destructive floods in recent history have covered 100,000 square miles of land. The flood of Noah’s day covered the earth, nearly 197 million square miles. Is there any proof today to support the Biblical claim of a global flood?

The first challenge regarding proofs of the flood is one of interpretation. The facts of certain things are undeniable, but the explanation of those facts is subject to debate. For example, the rocks on the top of Mt. Everest are filled with fossils of animals found in the ocean. How did those dead animals travel over 30,000 feet to the top of Mt. Everest? The answer of many scientists is that the top of Mt. Everest was at one time on the bottom of the ocean, but when the continents bonked into each other the floor of the ocean was pushed u. The scientists who believe in Noah’s flood say those fossils were deposited on top of Mt. Everest by flood waters. This is not meant to say, nor do most flood geologists believe, the earth was covered with enough water to cover Mt. Everest as it stands today. Before the flood the mountains were much smaller than they are now. As the flood came to its end the movement of the earth’s crust formed the mountains by the collision of continents and the uplifting of mountains.

This article will discuss two pieces of evidence for the flood evident in the world today. First, the presence of global sedimentary layers. Sediment is the dirt and debris carried in water. Anyone who does much boating on a river is familiar with how water carries sand and then deposits it when the current slows down to form sandbars. Fossil layers are rock strata formed in definable layers by water depositing smaller grains of material. Look at the wall of a limestone quarry and the rock will be marked by clearly visible horizontal lines made by the deposition of those rocks. The same thing happened on a much larger scale which formed the rock layers that are the basis of the geologic ages. The geologic column is made up almost entirely of sedimentary rocks. That means most of the fossil layers were were laid down by water. The geologic column is made up of layers that cover huge portions of the world. The same layers of rock found in America are also found in the Middle East. For those layers to cover such large portions of the earth there had to be a massive body of water that laid down the sediment on an international scale.

A second evidence for the flood is bent rocks. Rock is too brittle to bend. However, there are two circumstances where rock can bend. Superheated rock on the verge of melting will bend, kind of like lava. Rock will also bend while it is being formed in water. When rock is like wet clay it will bend. When it dries out it becomes rock hard. Bent rocks can be found all over the world. Drive through a mountainous section of America and bent strata will be evident where the roads were cut through the hillsides.

Can it be determined if the rocks were bent when hot or wet? Yes, it can. Rocks heated enough to bend will show changes in their structure that makes it apparent they were superheated. Geologists have determined most of the bent rocks seen today show no signs of being heated. Therefore, they were bent while still wet and soft. The widespread nature of soft, wet rocks speaks to a widespread event which formed these rocks and which kept them saturated while the mountains were forming. Such an event could only be a flood which covered major portions of the earth.

These and other evidences show Noah’s flood to be a plausible explanation for the world we see around us. The Biblical description of the flood provides a reasonable explanation for many of the features found on the earth today. The only eyewitness testimony of Noah’s flood is recorded in the Bible. The wise will believe it.

How Does Faith Save?

The Bible says sinners are saved by faith. This truth is frequently repeated as a central component of the gospel. For example, the Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” (Ephesians 2:8) “Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:15) “By Him all that believe are justified.” (Acts 15:7) “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Christians around the world invite others to place their faith in Jesus so they will be saved. This call to faith raises a question that some struggle to answer. How can faith save a person?

The Bible speaks of salvation as forgiveness of sin, deliverance from condemnation, escape from wrath, redemption from bondage, inheritance of eternal life, adoption into the family of God and reception of the Holy Spirit. How does faith get all this for a person?

In a technical sense, faith does not save. The act of faith itself does not take way sin or confer righteousness. Instead, faith receives what someone else has done to take away sin and give life. Jesus is the One who has done what is necessary for sinners to be saved. Faith receives from Jesus the salvation He purchased by His death on the cross.

Faith that brings salvation accepts as true the teachings of the Bible about God, man, sin and salvation. Faith confesses as true God’s condemnation of sin and His promise of salvation. Faith believes the Bible when it says Jesus is God who became man and then died on the cross. Faith believes Jesus died on the cross for your sin. Faith believes Jesus was placed in a tomb and the third day after His death He was restored to life.

Faith believes these truths and personally applies them to the individual’s own heart. Faith does more than believe certain facts as true. Faith believes the facts of regarding salvation are true for yourself. Faith believes all have sinned and it believes I have sinned. Faith believes I am a sinner and Jesus is my God who died for my sin. Faith asks Jesus to forgive my sin and make me His child. Faith applies the warnings and promises of God directly to yourself.

Faith that saves receives salvation like a person receives a free meal. A person sits at a table and food is placed on the person’s plate. The meal has been freely given to the person but the food does the person no good until it is internalized. The food must be taken in to be efficacious for the person. Faith internalizes the truths of the gospel. Faith accepts the gospel as true and applies its truths to the individual’s own life.

Faith saves by receiving what Jesus has done. Faith is not a work that merits salvation. A person is not saved because believing makes him deserving of salvation. Faith does not cleanse sin. Faith simply receives salvation. Jesus forgives, makes righteous and gives eternal life. The person is saved by faith because saving faith relies fully on Jesus to take away his guilt before God. Faith saves when you personally receive the salvation Jesus purchased for you on the cross.