There’s No Conspiracy to Silence the Gnostics [Questions That Haunt]

Questions That Haunt Christianity

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for me to respond to Patience’s question in the Questions That Haunt Christianity¬†series. Patience is a former Christian who has explored other religions and has come across the Gnostic writings of early Christianity in her pursuit for truth. She asks,

Why [are] those gospels are not in any bibles, why no christians read or quote them, and why so conveniently christianity can dispose of alternate explanations within christianity itself; is christianity ultimately just a test of saying the right words, or is christianity ready to admit among its ranks those who do not believe in miracles, virgin births, or resurrections?

Patience, the answer lies right in your question.

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Bonhoeffer Bends A Lot of Ways

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Make of him what you will. Literally.

Everyone wants to claim Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Liberals like his political action on behalf of an oppressed people. Evangelicals love his “religionless Christianity” and his critique of his students at Union Seminary in New York. That he is a complex historic figure is currently on display, brought to a head by Eric Metaxas.

Metaxas, an accomplished author and unapologetically conservative firebrand, wrote a popular biography of Bonhoeffer that was met with plaudits by fellow conservatives, winning Book of the Year in 2010 by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Metaxas got another jewel in his crown when he gave the plenary address this year at the National Prayer Breakfast.

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Leaving a Denomination with Honor


This may be the worst denominational logo ever.

Jason Stellman recently left the Presbyterian Church in America, a conservative, Reformed denomination that is the home to the likes of Tim Keller, R.C. Sproul, Tullian Tchividjian. Stellman was an ordained clergyman in the denomination who, from the looks of his resignation letter, took his ordination vows very seriously.

He left, he writes, because of two growing and gnawing doubts. The first:

I have begun to doubt whether the Bible alone can be said to be our only infallible authority for faith and practice, and despite my efforts (and those of others) to dispel these doubts, they have only become more pronounced. In my own reading of the New Testament, the believer is never instructed to consult Scripture alone in order to adjudicate disputes or determine matters of doctrine (one obvious reason for this is that the early church existed at a time when the 27-book New Testament had either not been begun, completed, or recognized as canonical).

And the second:

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Jesus in a Spaceship

Why are there images in medieval art that depict Jesus in a spaceship? Ester Inglic-Arkell at io9 investigates:

Most experts agree that the resemblance of the things in the painting to the spacecraft imagined by modern science fiction artists is uncanny. But none of our own actual spaceships actually resemble what we see in the paintings. None of these paintings show things that look like planes or landers or even satellites. Instead, they show artists’ conceptions of the sort of spaceships that would look good in art.

And centuries ago, they also looked good in art. The only difference was, then the art depicted the presence of the Holy Spirit. Even if an artist saw UFOs flying around, this was a church-commissioned painting on a church wall. The church got the say in what went up on it, not the painter. When the church wanted a depiction of the (forgive the expression) alien presence of God in everyday life, and the painter came up with a design that worked. Similarly, when editors of science fiction pulp magazines wanted a cover picture depicting alien ships coming to Earth, the artist came up with a design that worked. The convergence of the images isn’t one of experience, but of artistic sensibilities.

via Why are there spaceships in Medieval art?.