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Are the Stories of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas True?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2021 6:30 am

Are the Stories of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas True?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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June 23, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 734 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

1. If God cannot be in the presence of sin, why is Satan allowed to stand in God’s presence in the book of Job?

2. Do you know anything about the supposed letters about Jesus’s childhood? These stories are from other Gospels not in the Bible, and in them, Jesus’s father, Joseph, tells Jesus to stop using his powers because he was making living sparrows out of clay. What do you think of these stories?

3. God tells us not to lie or bear false witness, but isn’t this what Moses does when he tricks Pharaoh in Exodus 5?

4. An atheist friend of mine is getting a heart defibrillator put in and I am wondering if God blesses those who do not believe in him? If I prayed for him would God bless his health procedure?

5. I noticed in Luke 15-16 that Jesus says Satan inflicted an individual with a disease. How do we know when Satan is the one inflicting illnesses and which ones come about through other means?

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We have four Gospel accounts in the Bible, but why aren't the Gospel of Thomas, Mary, and Judas included in the Scriptures? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Questions are open right now for the next 25 minutes or so, so hop on the phone if you have a question. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, if you can't call right now, you can always post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts.

You can watch us on YouTube, and you can also send us a message that way. And you can email us with your question at questions at corechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to David in St. Louis, Missouri. David, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yeah, you know, David, I've found as a pastor that sometimes, you know, we'll have these sort of theological one-liners that people will throw out there that aren't necessarily helpful, because the reality is oftentimes a lot more complex. You know, sometimes people will say things like, God cannot be in the presence of sin. I think what they're trying to communicate is that really, actually, sinners can't stand in the presence of God.

At least not in a way that ensures their safety, because God is all holy and righteous. We need to recognize that sin is not like kryptonite to God. It's not like God is, you know, he has to flee from sin because he's afraid it's going to hurt him or something like that. The problem is not one that God has, it's one that we have as sinners. Standing before a holy God, standing before a just God as sinners, we need grace, we need forgiveness. And so, it is no issue in the book of Job where you have, you know, the language of the angels, in particular Satan coming before the Lord. You also just think about Jesus in his earthly ministry. I mean, he is eating and drinking with sinners, and he's doing so in order to extend his grace to them, in order to teach them the truth of the gospel. And so, when we talk about God not being able to be in the presence of sin or something like that, what we're not communicating is that God is in any way harmed by sin or Jesus not able to, that kind of a thing. What we're saying is really, no, actually sinners, apart from the grace of God, cannot stand in the presence of the holy Lord.

And so, that's the issue there, David. Does that clear it up for you? Yes. I just wanted to say that, you know, be just in the presence of God. Yeah. Yeah, well, yeah. And, of course, there are those interesting passages of scripture, like in the book of Job, where the accuser is coming before the Lord and accusing Job.

I mean, really, it's this kind of an interesting scene. And, of course, there are other places in scripture that talk about the sort of divine counsel, the angels around the Lord. We know that the evil one and all of the demons were judged definitively at the cross, that that's where they were dealt with. And, of course, at the end of the book of Revelation, we know what their destiny is. It's the lake of fire for all eternity. And so, that's actually a pretty magnificent picture that's painted for us at the end of the book of Revelation. And so, that's their fate.

And so, yes. Anyways, thank you, David, for your question and for giving us a call. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez.

We'd love to get your questions about the Bible or the Christian life. Here's the number again, 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also leave us a voicemail anytime, 24 hours a day, at that same number.

Here's a voicemail we received from Mike from Oklahoma. Pastor Sanchez, I hate to bother you all, but I really, really, really would love to hear the information on this. Have you ever heard of the book of Jubilees? And it is supposed to include in it stories about Jesus when he was a boy, and how his father had him quit playing in the clay because he was making little sparrows and breathed on them, and before they flew away, he said, Remember this. Do you have anything about these stories, and can you please enlighten us on it, please? I sure appreciate it, and God bless y'all. Y'all work really hard to do this, and I know it's really hard to do it off the cup like this. God bless y'all.

Hey, Mike, thank you for that question. Yeah, you do have these ancient writings that weren't included in the canon of Scripture for a number of reasons, and what you're referring to actually comes from what's sometimes called the Infancy Narratives of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas, or the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. And it's actually kind of a short work that supposedly has a list of miracles that Jesus did while he was a little boy, and it's just all made up. There's a reason why the church rejected these.

One, they were written much later. Two, they were never accepted by the whole church's canonical Scripture. It just didn't really even make sense, and actually there are things there that contradict the actual teaching of the Bible.

I'm going to get into that in a second. Oftentimes it will point to in terms of how was it that the New Testament that we have was decided upon or determined. Well, the church really received these documents as inspired Scripture. They had this apostolicity to them. They were either written, you know, these documents by the apostles or someone associated with the apostles.

Antiquity, they're ancient, they're old. Eyewitness accounts, that kind of a thing. Catholicity, sometimes we use that phrase to refer to the fact that the universal church received these books as inspired writings, and that just is not the case for books like the Gospel of Thomas or the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

You read it and it's almost kind of comical because it's so out there. There's the scene that you mentioned where Jesus is making birds out of clay and then making them come to life, that kind of a thing. That's one thing, but you also have in this infancy narrative of Jesus' life, Jesus depicted as this very mischievous troublemaker who has mystical powers. There's a scene there where a boy runs by him and sort of nudges him on the shoulder by accident and Jesus just kills him. The boy's parents go to Joseph and they complain that their son, Jesus, is cursing children. They say basically, you know, you have to leave because he's killing the children in town.

It's just totally outrageous. One of the ways we know that this contradicts the Bible is if you look at Mark's Gospel in Mark chapter 6, when Jesus goes to his hometown in Nazareth, the place where he would have grown up, the place where people would have known him as a child, listen to what happens there. It says in Mark chapter 6 verse 1, He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue. And many who heard him were astonished, saying, Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him, and how are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?

And are not his sisters with us here? And they took offense at him, and Jesus said to them, Prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household. Verse 5, And he could do no mighty work there except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. It seems like the people in Jesus' hometown, right, they're blown away that now, you know, as Jesus began his earthly ministry, he's this great miracle worker, and he's doing all these wonders. And they're shocked because that's not the Jesus they had known. And that flat out contradicts what we find in this sort of infancy Gospel of Thomas narrative because there it has Jesus doing all sorts of miracles. You know, they would not have been surprised if this was actually true, if that account was actually true, and it isn't. And so that's why we reject it, and it is, I guess, kind of fun to read if you're just looking for a good laugh, but you certainly shouldn't take it as God's word or anything that you should, you know, treat as inspired scripture.

So thank you for your question. You know, Adriel, there's also some other so-called Gospels like the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Judas. Maybe you could just briefly explain why certain books that, you know, reportedly were written around that time were not accepted by the church.

Yeah, I mean, I gave some of the criteria that was, I think, used by the early church, right. And we're saying that the church didn't decide the canon of scripture, but really she received the canon of scripture, these inspired books from the Lord. And some of the things, some of the criteria that I mentioned are Catholicity, that is, these are books that the entire church, that the whole church generally accepted, not just in one region of the world, but everywhere where the Gospel was being preached. Apostolicity, that is, these books were written by an apostle or someone closely associated with the apostles. Antiquity, and so these, you know, books like the Gospel of Thomas, for example, were written after the original Gospels, the four Gospels, much later. And so there is this antiquity to the, you know, Pauline epistles, to the Gospels, that kind of a thing. And really there's just this coherence as well, where they fit together, the theology fits together. There aren't these contradictions, whereas, again, if you're looking at the infancy Gospel of Thomas there, it basically contradicts what I just read there in Mark chapter six, that the people in Jesus' hometown didn't know him as a miracle worker, and yet that's the opposite of what the infancy Gospel of Thomas is.

There were people in those days who were writing things, trying to make a name for themselves, and it just sort of fell flat. But now we can read those things and sort of see what was happening. And yeah, so those are the things we point to, Bill. You're listening to Core Christianity, and if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Our phone lines will be open for another 15 minutes or so, so call us right now. Let's go to Mara in Springfield, Missouri. Mara, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yeah, thanks, I enjoy your program very much.

I listen every day. I was wondering about being truthful, you know, the Bible says God says not to lie or deceive, but there's times in the Scriptures it kind of makes me wonder about that. And that was partly when the children of Israel were supposed to tell Moses, Moses told Pharaoh that they were going to go three days out into the wilderness or out in the desert to sacrifice, which he was really taking them out for good. And then Samuel, he was going to go and not David to be king down in Bethlehem, but he was afraid to go, so God told him to go down there for a celebration or something like that. And then also there was Rahab that she deceived and protected the spies that came in. And also Elisha, he was surrounded by the enemy. And God blinded them there at that city, I can't remember now the name of it, but anyway, and God blinded them and Elisha lied to them, told them they'd gone to the wrong place, and took them out to another place. I just wonder about those verses. I know that sometimes people lie maybe to protect theirself, so I wonder about that. Yeah.

Well, Mara, thank you for giving us a call and thank you also for your encouragement. And of course, God's law is very clear. I mean, we're called not to bear false witness, not to be deceitful, not to tell half-truths. And sometimes you do have in this redemptive revelation that we see before us examples of even supposedly holy people doing this kind of a thing. You think of Abraham, for example, as well, lying about the identity of his wife, saying that she was his sister, with the hope of protecting her. And so you sometimes hear the extreme examples that are given, like if you were hiding someone or a group of people out in your basement because they were being threatened.

Would it be wrong to lie, or would it be right to lie to protect them, that kind of a thing. And you sort of get into the discussion about the letter of the law or the spirit of the law. What is it that would ultimately and truly be pleasing to the Lord? And here's where I think sometimes we look at the scriptures and we go to places like the wisdom literature. And it's helpful to look at that because in the wisdom literature, I think we're given these sort of blanket statements, this black and white sort of do this, don't do this. But you also realize that life is more complex than that and that we really need the guidance of God's spirit, the help of God's spirit in each particular situation, which is not ever a justification for lying or being deceitful. And of course, as the people of God, we're not called to do that.

But it is helpful to recognize that there are complex situations and circumstances, and I think that we have to exercise wisdom in those situations. But the fact of the matter is one of the things you will find, and we do see as we read the scriptures, is you do have examples of godly people, the people of God oftentimes breaking God's law, lying, getting drunk. I mean, Noah, for example, I just preached on that recently. And that doesn't justify you thinking even of King David taking multiple wives, right?

Or Saul. That doesn't justify that kind of behavior, but it just shows us the reality of the kinds of people that God uses. It's broken, sinful people, even deceitful people.

Think of Jacob and Esau, Jacob, the way he treated his brother. And so this is what we have in the Bible. And frankly, it's one of the things that should encourage us because we realize God is very gracious to us, and he uses us still despite our sins, despite the fact that we've broken his law. And so, Mara, I appreciate your question, and thank you for that. Thanks for listening, Mara, and for digging into God's Word. We really do appreciate that and admire that in our listeners who spend time to really get into the scriptures. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. And if you are new to this program, or if you're one of our regular listeners, we want to let you know that we are a listener-supported program. That means we count on people just like you to keep this show on the air.

That's right, Bill. And we're so grateful for you, for the support that you give to us, helps us continue to run the website, every resource that we produce there, really with the goal of helping you to understand the gospel, the core message of the Christian faith. And if you've benefited or been encouraged by the answers to the questions about the Christian faith that you hear here at Core Christianity, we want to ask you to please consider sending a gift now to help us continue. This year, Core Christianity released our Bible study on the book of Revelation, and for your donation of $20 or more, we'll send you this brand-new Bible study on the Bible's final book.

Of course, this is a book that we oftentimes get questions about here at Core Christianity. People want to know about the end times, the rapture, the Antichrist, that kind of a thing. And so we want to help you understand the book of Revelation. Get ahold of this resource by sending a gift today. It's a really wonderful resource for helping us understand that incredible book and complicated book, the book of Revelation. To help us with our mission and request a copy of the Revelation Bible study, just head over to corechristianity.com forward slash revelation. That's corechristianity.com forward slash revelation, or call us at 1-833-843-2673. And on behalf of the entire core team, we want to thank you so much for your support. Well, let's go to another call we received about a gentleman who has a friend who's struggling physically.

Hi, my name is Richard. I'm from Pennsylvania, and I was wondering, I have a friend that we're getting a heart defibrillator put in today, and he's an atheist, much to my dismay and dislike. I have prayed for him that everything will go well this morning, but my question is, will the Lord bless an atheist, an unbeliever? Will he answer prayers concerning them? I don't know the answer to that. I enjoy your show.

I listen to it every night at 6.30. God bless you, and thank you. Hey, Richard, thank you for your encouragement. I just want to encourage you to continue to pray for your friend who's an atheist, because God does hear your prayers, and one of the ways that God draws people to himself is through the faithful prayers of the body of Christ, and so don't doubt that the Lord hears your prayers. Think about what the apostle Paul told to Timothy, the word called to pray for all people. For everybody, for kings and everybody who's in authority, and in that context, the people who he's referring to, most of them were not Christians, weren't believers.

The kings in that time, the authority figures at that time, and ultimately it is, right? Paul also tells Timothy it is the will of God that all people should repent, should believe. I would say pray for him, continue to pray for him, continue to encourage him, and know that the Lord does bless the entire world, whether they believe or don't believe in unique ways. I think about what Jesus said in Matthew 5, verse 43. He said, You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his Son rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In other words, Jesus is saying there in the Sermon on the Mount, God is kind even to atheists.

They get the sunshine and the sunsets and the good food, and those kinds of blessings, what we sometimes refer to as common grace blessings, God showers those upon the entire world, believing and unbelieving alike. Actually, this was something that was promised way back in the book of Genesis, in Genesis chapter 8, when basically Moses receives the covenant, the Noahic covenant. God had just flooded the whole world because of its sin.

Listen to what happened. Moses has been on the boat, he gets off of the boat, and then we read in Genesis chapter 8, verse 20, Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth, neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease. In other words, this sort of common grace sustaining of the entire world, despite the fact that it's full of sinners, despite the fact that it's full of atheists, God says I'm going to continue to shower it with my goodness, to provide food, the seasons, those kinds of things. And so we can see God's generosity to the world, even to atheists, God's kindness, God's goodness, and that should encourage you, Richard, to continue to pray for your friend, and to be someone who's there for him as a believer, as a Christian, to share the gospel of Christ with him. And so thank you for your call, and again, thank you for your support.

God bless. You're listening to Core Christianity, and by the way, Richard mentioned the time that he listens to the program. We actually take calls live at a certain time every day, but some radio stations air our program at a later time. So here's the time you want to call if you want to get into the studio and talk to Pastor Adriel live. Call at 11.30 a.m. Pacific time, which translates into 12.30 Mountain, 1.30 Central, or 2.30 Eastern time. For that 30-minute period, our phone lines are open.

If you can't get through during that time, you can feel free to leave a voicemail any time of the day or night by calling us at 833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE, and let's go to one of our calls, one of our voicemail calls from a listener named Elizabeth. So I am reading through the Gospels again, and I am noting every time Jesus heals someone from a death of a dumb spirit or any sort of disease or ailment, and I notice once again in Luke 13 and 16, Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, these 18 years be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day. I am just wondering how is one to decipher when Satan has inflicted an individual with a disease or an infirmity or when it is just the natural process of living in a fallen world. Are we to pray against the evil spirit, or should we just pray that God would heal and leave all the other parts to the Lord to work through?

So thank you so much. Hey Elizabeth, thank you for giving us that call. And of course we don't have any sort of special revelation that would tell us you need to pray for this person because they're oppressed by a demonic spirit or because they're just suffering under the sort of common curse that afflicts us all because of sin. And I think we have to be really careful here because there are some ministries, as I'm sure you know, Elizabeth, that will say, hey, if you're struggling with a sickness, with a physical ailment, or if something bad happened to you, that must be a sign that you're in sin or that there's some kind of a demonic oppression going on. And there are Christians, there are sincere believers that live under this sort of weight of that kind of teaching, and they're scouring their lives trying to figure out, well, what is it that I did wrong?

Why is it that this is happening to me? When in reality, there are just the sort of, as you said, the sort of natural things that take place in this world, living in a fallen world, and even the righteous suffer and are afflicted. Timothy had these frequent stomachaches, we're told.

Paul said, hey, have a little bit of wine, not just water so you can have your stomach settled. He wasn't attributing that to a demonic attack. You think also of Job.

But Job didn't do anything evil, but there was this demonic attack that he experienced. And so from our perspective, Elizabeth, we don't know what's behind a particular malady. We're just not sure. And so I think we can pray to the Lord confidently that he would extend his mercy, that he would extend his grace. We could say, Lord, if this is spiritual warfare, if this is demonic attack, would you bind the evil one?

Would you deliver this brother or sister from that kind of oppression? But we don't know. And so are there instances maybe where an individual might say, I can see how my own sin has led to this terrible condition that I'm in. Maybe they're enslaved to addiction or something like that, and there are all sorts of medical issues that are associated with that. Well, then we could say, yeah, maybe there's something deeper here that you can pray about and pray for. But I would just encourage you, and you sort of alluded to it, I would just encourage you to pray and leave the rest up to the Lord and say, God, I'm not sure exactly why this person is suffering in this way, and I don't want to try to guess.

That could be unhelpful and, frankly, harmful for that individual. I want to trust you. And so we take these things to the Lord in prayer and trust that he hears us, trust that he hears you, Elizabeth, and knows that he will bless you as you continue to pray for the people around you.

Thanks. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-27 07:58:11 / 2023-09-27 08:08:55 / 11

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