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God's Not Mad at You
“What about the Gospel of Thomas?”

“What about the Gospel of Thomas?”

OCTOBER 23, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / “What about the Gospel of Thomas?”

Steve Brown:
What about the gospel of Thomas? The answer to that and other questions of this edition of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Welcome to Key Life. Our host and teacher is Steve Brown. He’s no guru, but he does have honest answers to honest questions about the Bible. God’s grace changes everything, how we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase and worship. So here’s Steve and Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com with street smart Bible teaching for real life.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi, what’s your name? Peter?

Pete Alwinson:
I don’t know? But it’s, I’m Pete. It’s still the same

Steve Brown:
When you get old, man, these things escape very quickly. You know, I, one time was in a reception line when my wife and I were beginning to date. And I turned to her to introduce her to this person who was coming through the line. I couldn’t think of her name. And, you know, she brings it up periodically, when she’s ticked at me. I just had a brain freeze.

Pete Alwinson:
And she said something like Steven, you were a member and you forgot my name.

Steve Brown:
I would never have done that. How you doing?

Pete Alwinson:
Good. Doing good, man.

Steve Brown:
Hey, listen, if you haven’t read Pete’s book Like Father, Like Son, you ought to get it. It’ll change your life, give it to everybody, you know, and especially those of the male gender, because guys need this kind of book. And, their significant others, wives and daughters need this book too. Like Father, Like Son, wherever good books are sold. And if they don’t sell it, patronize another bookstore. They’re not very good. And Pete comes in as you know, and we answer questions on Friday, and we love to get your questions. I’ve said this a lot, 1-800-KEY-LIFE you can call whenever you want to. And whenever you call, we sometimes use your voice on the broadcast. Or you can send your question to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

In Canada

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Or you can send your question to email, Steve@keylife.org. And those are touch places where you can help us financially. And if you don’t, you’ll get the hives. And I’m just kidding. We do appreciate those who stand with us, cause this is an expensive ministry, because we give so much away. But so far, every bill has been paid, because of faithful people. If you can help us do, if you can’t, we understand, say a prayer for us and we’ll rise up and call you blessed. Pete, would, you lead us in prayer and we’ll get to some of these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
Let’s do it. Father, thank you, as we stop for just a couple of minutes on this Friday, thank you that we can come into your presence and remember that we belong to you because you first came after us. You loved us and we love you because you first loved us. We thank you that the gospel has made such a difference in our life. That we have come to see Lord that we don’t have what it takes to fulfill the law and earn your favor. But because of the work of Christ, we have unearned favor. And so today we trust again in the work of Jesus and all that you have done in our life and continue to do. And Lord, you know our needs, we have so many, some of us are sick, some of us are fearful, some of us want to get back to business and work and life as normal, but things still seem so radically different. Lord, I pray that you would give us courage as we face a scary world at times. And may we talk about you and trust in you. Thank you for Key Life. Thank you for the doctrines of grace, the ministry of grace that we talk about here. We pray for Steve and we pray this weekend that you’d be with our pastors and teachers and priests and leaders and worship directors, Lord use all of them to draw us into your presence, to give you honor and praise and glory, where we lift these things up to you now in Jesus’ strong name. Amen.

Steve Brown:
We’re not sure whether we, I talked to Jeremy and he wasn’t either. And to Robin, whether we had answered this question, I don’t think we did. I think we looked at each other funny and said, let’s skip this one, til we do some checking. I didn’t. You did. So the question is this, and in some circles, this is passed around a lot. What are your thoughts on the gospel of Thomas?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, well, of course, Thomas was one of the original 12, and we know that the Canon of scripture was set by the early church universally and the gospel of Thomas was left out of it. And, by design, because it didn’t measure up doctrinally. historically nor did it measure up to the church’s standards in terms of, was it really Thomas that wrote it?

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
Right. So, there was a lot of writing that went on right after the apostles went away. Pseudepigrapha it’s called, false writings. And, they weren’t intending to deceive in many cases, but they just wrote using an authoritative name. So at any rate, the gospel of Thomas is 14 chapters, very short chapters, sometimes it’s, most of them are just only a sentence. And really it has some just direct quotes from Jesus. And then others, you go, huh? What are you saying? And, if you’ve done a little bit of reading in the second century, you know, that Gnosticism came into its own in the second century.

Steve Brown:
What’s Gnosticism?

Pete Alwinson:
Gnosticism was that higher belief. you know more about Gnosticism than I do, but it was this idea of successes, eons or beings between the true God and Jesus and or others. And, it was this secret knowledge, gnosis, that you had to know to truly be saved and to reach this God, but it took many forms, Valentinian Gnosticism, there were so many different forms of it. But, there are some statements in there that are clearly Gnostic, having that have no explanation. You don’t really know, there must’ve been a broader body of teaching in my estimation associated with the gospel of Thomas, because you just can’t understand it, in today. So I’d say bottom line historically, it’s interesting, but for a Christian it’s irrelevant.

Steve Brown:
And that brings me, and that’s good stuff. Pete went and read it. I have the gospel of Thomas in my library and couldn’t find it. I remember reading it 25 years ago and being blown away with it and thought this is cool, but it ain’t part of the Bible. And it’s obvious, why it’s not. So, be careful of it, it’s fun. If you see a copy in a used bookstore, pick it up and thumb through it and read it, but don’t put much stock in it. You can’t do that. This is an email, they say, what do you mean by verbal plenary inspiration?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. What do you mean?

Steve Brown:
Well, verbal means words. Plenary means all of it. Inspiration means that the Bible is totally the word of God.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And it’s all true. Every bit of it.

Pete Alwinson:
Yup.

Steve Brown:
And, that’s a doctrine that a lot of people don’t like very much, because they have an interpretation of what that means, which isn’t really, we do not believe that God dropped the Bible out of the sky in a golden container and we just opened it and we had God’s word.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
We believe that God used the personality, the words, the thought forms of people who lived a long time ago, but he oversaw it. So then in the original autograph, it is without error.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right. And how crucial that is for us to believe that today. And then the whole subsequent issue of the transmission of the text. Says, well can we trust the Bible today?

Steve Brown:
And God oversaw that too.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. So we really can. And, and if you want to do more research in the science of textual criticism, you can see, yeah. the Bible was passed down and transmitted with the oversight of God.

Steve Brown:
And it’s a miraculous too. When you, for instance, when they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, a number of Old Testament, primarily Isaiah, but there were others, that predated any manuscripts we had by a thousand years.

Pete Alwinson:
Amazing.

Steve Brown:
And it’ll blow you away.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
When you see how accurately it was translated and sent from one generation to another,

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
it is a miracle, a statement about God.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. And the Bible is trustworthy and that’s even more controversial, right now in our country at the beginning of the 21st century. Where there seems to be, the rejection of course, of all things Biblical by

Steve Brown:
That’s right.

Pete Alwinson:
by most people. But then if you, but you can’t have almost a legitimate debate with people and say, well, I’m a Christian and I think from this perspective, people get so angry nowadays, if you don’t buy their narrative of truth. But we have to be the politically incorrect as we trust the scriptures.

Steve Brown:
That’s so good. And it’s so right. And by the way away, when you’re talking to others about Christ, you don’t have to say, I believe in verbal plenary inspiration. Let’s fight. You tell people that Jesus loves them. That’s the way you lead.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
You lead with that. And, I’ll tell you, there is a lot of anger and it’s probably good for us, because we’ve been the favored religion for a long time. And we don’t do well, when we’re favored, when we have money or power, we do it with money and power, instead of Jesus’ way.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And now, we’re kind of being forced, you know, they’re burning Bibles in some of these riots,

Pete Alwinson:
I know. It’s amazing

Steve Brown:
And it makes me want to get my gun and go kill somebody. And then I go, wait, they did that every century.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And we’re the exception, not the world.

Pete Alwinson:
Christians.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, that’s right. Now, when they start that I’m getting my gun. I just want you to do that,

Pete Alwinson:
You’re going to get some letters. You’re going to get some letters

Steve Brown:
I repent of what I just said. If we’re persecuted for Christ sake.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
We have to take it, even to martyrdom,

Pete Alwinson:
But your point again,

Steve Brown:
Well, let me finish, if it’s random violence, you can shoot those suckers. Go ahead. I’m sorry.

Pete Alwinson:
There is, we are experiencing a lot of anger from the Christian perspective too. As we look at all the unlawfulness, a lack of law and order and all this, immorality, evil is supporting evil and it’s tragic. It’s making us angry, but as we study scriptures, we need this doctrine, a verbal plenary inspiration, because we are going to be pushed more and more to defend what we believe. And we better be Christians who believe that every sentence, every word, all the sentence structure, everything is of God. So we need to read out, exegete the scriptures, rather then read into it.

Steve Brown:
So true. And I’ll tell you we’re, in this country, we’re coming to the end of ourselves.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
I mean, everybody knows it’s coming apart.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And when, and the genuine can be tested and we have the genuine. And we better make sure that we’ve got that anchor right from scripture.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely great talking to you about it.

Steve Brown:
No, it is. And it’s a scary time, but it’s a good time to be a Christian. You’ll be authentic. They’ll listen, you’ll be surprised. Guys, we gotta go. But first Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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